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American Idol' Star Caleb Kennedy Compares Controversial Exit to Slap in the Face

Edduin Carvajal
Jul 04, 2021
03:00 A.M.
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Even though Caleb Kennedy stole the spotlight in “American Idol,” he left the show after a controversial video surfaced online. The judges’ comments can be found below.

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At 16 years old, Caleb Kennedy was one of the youngest contestants in “American Idol” season 19. The rising star wowed the judges during his audition by performing his original song, “Nowhere.”

Luckily, the three judges – Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan – voted “yes” and sent him to Hollywood. Before Kennedy left the room, the music icons gushed about him.

Caleb Kennedy during an episode of "American Idol" in May 2021 | Photo: Getty Images

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KENNEDY’S TIME IN “AMERICAN IDOL”

Kennedy told them he wrote songs “every day” and always had new ideas in his mind. After learning that, Perry said Kennedy had “something real special.”

On the other hand, Richie seemed surprised that the young musician had already developed a “storyteller’s voice” even though he was only 16.

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Kennedy developed that skill after his parents divorced. In his audition tape, it became evident that their separation was tough to deal with, but he channeled his feelings through music. He explained:

“I kind of just lost myself, and writing songs kind of helped me find who I was again.”

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While Bryan also praised Kennedy’s music skills, he was very attracted to the former contestant’s hair. After his audition, Kennedy removed his hat and put his mullet on full display. Bryan loved it.

Guest judge Paula Abdul also praised Kennedy’s hairdo when he performed without his hat on during the Top 12 Live Reveal Show. Abdul said she initially didn’t recognize him, but she liked his “full mullet.”

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CONTROVERSIAL EXIT

In May 2021, Kennedy made headlines after announcing on social media he was leaving “American Idol.” He shared the news shortly after a controversial video of him was shared on Snapchat.

The short clip showed him seated next to a person wearing a white hood similar to the ones worn by Ku Klux Klan members. However, Kennedy and his family claimed people misinterpreted the video.

One month after leaving “American Idol,” Kennedy talked about the incident for the first time.

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Kennedy said the footage showed “actions that were not meant to be taken in that way.” Still, he apologized and confessed he would take some time off social media.

The musician’s mother and manager, Anita Guy, pointed out that the video was recorded about four years ago when Kennedy was 12.

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She added that Kennedy and his friend had just watched the 2018 film “The Strangers: Prey at Night” and were dressed like those characters.

It is important to remark that the film portrays three criminals – two women and one man – who commit crimes wearing masks to protect their identities.

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OUTCOME OF HIS DEPARTURE

When Kennedy announced he was leaving “American Idol,” judge Richie confessed that losing a “great talent” was always hard and even described everything as an “unfortunate situation.”

He added he wished Kennedy the best and said that what happened to him was just one of the many “unfortunate” things in life.

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One month after leaving “American Idol,” Kennedy talked about the incident for the first time. Apart from saying he was not ready for it, he explained:

“You think it’s all going to be fun, and a lot of it is, but it will slap you in the face really quickly.”

Kennedy also said it was impossible to emotionally prepare for “American Idol” because nobody is actually ready for it. Still, he didn’t regret the experience.

At the moment, it is unclear what Kennedy will do with his life and career. In his Instagram post, he admitted he wanted to regain his audience’s trust someday, so he’ll probably work on that. Good luck!

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