‘American Idol’: Kenedi Anderson, Caleb Kennedy, and 3 Others Who Quit the Competition

American Idol viewers were left shocked on Monday, April 11, when host Ryan Seacrest announced that fan-favorite contestant Kenedi Anderson had quit the competition. However, as longtime fans know, Kenedi is far from the only person to leave mid-season. Over the years, singers like Caleb Kennedy and others have quit American Idol for various reasons — some dropped out for personal matters, while others were asked to leave. Here’s a look back at some of the biggest American Idol withdraws.

Kenedi Anderson on American Idol Season 20 and Caleb Kennedy on American Idol Season 19 after both quit the competition.
Kenedi Anderson | Eric McCandless/ABC // Caleb Kennedy | Eric McCandless/ABC

Kenedi Anderson quit ‘American Idol’ Season 20 due to ‘personal reasons’

Rumors of Kenedi’s departure from American Idol Season 20 began at 8 p.m. on Monday as fans noticed that they couldn’t submit votes for her. Her performance in Hawaii for the Top 24 did air on television because it was pre-taped. However, Seacrest then came on-screen to announce that Kenedi had quit. She was one of three platinum ticket winners in American Idol Season 20.

The 17-year-old Virginia resident took to Twitter to release a statement, explaining that she left due to “personal reasons.”

“For personal reasons, I’m unable to continue on American Idol. This has been one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make, but I know it’s necessary,” she wrote before thanking her producers, fans, and fellow contestants. “Thank you for giving me such an amazing opportunity to share my voice, chase my dreams, feel so much joy and happiness doing what I love, and make lifelong friends along the way.”

Caleb Kennedy made it to the Top 5 in ‘American Idol’ Season 19 before he was forced to quit

Just last season, American Idol faced a controversy surrounding 17-year-old finalist Caleb Kennedy. The singer made it to the Top 5 before a video surfaced of himself sitting next to a friend who wore a Ku Klux Klan-like hood. Caleb himself then announced on Instagram that he would no longer appear on American Idol Season 19, adding an apology for his actions.

“I was younger and did not think about the actions, but that’s not an excuse,” he wrote. “I know this has hurt and disappointed a lot of people and made people lose respect for me. I’m so sorry! I pray that I can one day regain your trust in who I am and have your respect! Thank you for supporting me.”

Caleb’s mother later told the Spartanburg Herald-Journal that he and his friend were 12 years old at the time and referencing the movie The Strangers: Prey at Night, not the KKK.

“Caleb doesn’t have a racist bone in his body,” she said.

Wyatt Pike also quit during ‘American Idol’ Season 19

Caleb became the second person to leave mid-season last year. Earlier in season 19, Wyatt Pike made it to the Top 16 before announcing his departure. Like Kenedi Anderson, Wyatt cited “personal reasons” in his statement.

“I had to leave the @AmericanIdol competition for personal reasons but am so thankful I get to play music for the rest of my life,” he wrote on Instagram. “Fellow contestants – miss you all, good luck! Thank you to everyone for your support… do stick around for more musical things soon!”

Wyatt had been another fan favorite in the competition. However, he continued to release music after his exit.

Jermaine Jones left after a controversy in ‘American Idol’ Season 11

Longtime Idol fans may remember Jermaine Jones in season 11. The contestant earned a spot in the Top 12, but the producers asked him to leave when they discovered outstanding warrants for his arrest. And, in a controversial move, they filmed his discussion with the producers and aired it on television. Many viewers accused Idol of exploiting Jermaine’s situation for a ratings boost.

As Associated Press noted, police in Trenton, New Jersey, decided not to pursue Jermaine. And in an interview on CNN, seen above, Jermaine claimed he had taken care of his legal issues before coming to the competition. He also claimed that he was honest with Idol about his arrests before they confronted him.

Marlea Stroman became the first contestant to drop out in season 4

The very first record of an American Idol departure came in season 4. Marlea Stroman left early in the competition, during Hollywood Week, because her son was sick.

“It wasn’t that big [of a cold], but I wasn’t there, and when babies are sick, they need their mommies,” Marlea said in an interview with The Post-Standard.

New episodes of American Idol air on Sundays and Mondays at 8 p.m. on ABC. Stay tuned to Showbiz Cheat Sheet for more updates.

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