'American Idol' finalist Caleb Kennedy leaves competition after apparent KKK-themed video resurfaces
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 05/13/2021
American Idol finalist Caleb Kennedy is out of the Season 19 competition after a disturbing racially-charged video featuring the country singer has resurfaced on the Internet.
Caleb, a 16-year-old high school student from Roebuck, SC, made American Idol's Top 5 contestants but will no longer be competing on the show after a video resurfaced online of him sitting next to a person dressed in what appears to be a Klu Klux Klan costume, according toUs Weekly.
Caleb addressed hisAmerican Idol departure and apparent KKK-themed video in a Wednesday Instagram post.
"Hey y'all, this is gonna be a bit of a surprise but I am no longer gonna be on American Idol," Caleb wrote to his followers.
"There was a video that surfaced on the internet and it displayed actions that were not meant to be taken in that way. 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."
Caleb also revealed, "I'll be taking a little time off social media to better myself."
He continued, "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 concluded.
On Sunday night's episode of American Idol, Kennedy was automatically voted into the Top 5 by home viewers along with Grace Kinstler, Chayce Beckham, Willie Spence and Casey Bishop.
The performance show featured the Top 7 contestants singing songs from Coldplay's catalog as well as dedications to their moms in celebration of Mother's Day.
Caleb belted out "Violet Hill" by Coldplay. For Round 2, Caleb honored his mother with an original tune called "Mama Said."
Following the two rounds of competition, both Hunter Metts and Arthur Gunn were eliminated.
The upcoming Sunday, May 16 broadcast of American Idol was reportedly supposed to feature a double elimination, but now that Caleb is out of the running, only one contestant will be sent packing from the Final 4.
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Caleb wasn't the first Idol contestant to have a surprise exit this season.
Wyatt Pike, a 20-year-old singer and songwriter from Park City, UT, mysteriously dropped out of the show when he was a member of Idol's Top 16 contestants for undisclosed reasons.
During American Idol's April 12 episode, host Ryan Seacrest announced, "Before we get to the results, I have to tell you that finalist Wyatt Pike will not be competing in the competition. He had to drop out, but we wish him the very best."
Specific details about Wyatt's sudden departure have yet to be revealed, but Wyatt wrote April 14 on Instagram, "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."
"Fellow contestants -- miss you all, good luck!" he added. "Thank you to everyone for your support... do stick around for more musical things soon!"