‘American Idol’ Judges Break Silence on Caleb Kennedy Exit

Caleb Kennedy Exit

Disney/ABC

Caleb Kennedy, a 16-year-old contestant on season 19 of ABC’sAmerican Idol,” left the show following the surfacing of a KKK-themed video surfacing, according to TMZ.

The show and judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan had not mentioned the exit leading up to the Sunday, May 16, 2021 live show and semi-finals. During the show, long-time “American Idol” host Ryan Seacrest simply said that Kennedy had to drop out of the competition.

At a questions and answers session following the live show, the judges took some time to address questions about Kennedy’s exit.


Lionel Richie & Luke Bryan Spoke About Kennedy’s Exit

According to Yahoo! Entertainment, the judges were asked about Kennedy in a question-and-answer session following the live show.

“First and foremost, as judges and as a judges’ panel, we love these kids, and we get emotionally involved,” Bryan said. “We wish nothing but the best for Caleb, and it does make for a very, very challenging and upsetting week.”

Richie also spoke about the exit, saying that he hopes Kennedy will learn from everything that happened.

“We grow up, and we make mistakes, and we look at our lives behind us many, many times and we say, ‘God, what was I thinking about when I did that?’ It’s one of those situations,” he shared.


Kennedy Apologized For the Video

Kennedy apologized for the video in an Instagram post announcing his exit from the show.

“Hey y’all, this gonna be a bit of a surprise, but I am no longer gonna be on ‘American Idol,’” he wrote. “There was a video that surfaced on the internet and it displayed actions that were not to be taken in that way.”

He added, “I was younger and did not think about the actions, but that’s not an excuse. I wanna say sorry to all my fans and everyone who I have let down. I’ll be taking a little time off social media to better myself, but saying that, I know this has hurt and disappointed a lot of people and made people lose respect for me.”

The singer said he was sorry.

“I pray that I can one day regain your trust in who I am and have your respect,” he concluded. “Thank you for supporting me.”

Kennedy’s mother, Anita Guy, spoke to Go Up State and said that she doesn’t appreciate the way that the video was taken, claiming that it was taken out of context.

“This video was taken after Caleb had watched the movie ‘The Strangers: Prey at Night’ and they were imitating those characters,” she told the outlet. “It had nothing to do with the Ku Klux Klan, but I know that’s how it looks. Caleb doesn’t have a racist bone in his body. He loves everyone and has friends of all races.”

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“American Idol” airs on Sundays and Mondays at 8 p.m. Eastern on ABC.

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