American Idol Contestant Makes 'One of the Hardest Decisions'

Frontrunner Kenedi Anderson, 18, says she's dropping out of show 'for personal reasons'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 12, 2022 7:32 AM CDT

She could've won it all. Just as she was becoming a household name thanks to American Idol, Kenedi Anderson is leaving the show "for personal reasons," she announced Monday on Instagram. "This has been one of the hardest decisions I've ever had to make, but I know it's necessary," the 18-year-old wrote in her surprise post. "I'm so grateful to American Idol, the judges, the producers, the amazing contestants, and all the fans who have supported me." Viewers of Monday's show, which was pretaped in Hawaii, were surprised to see there wasn't voting info for Anderson after she crooned Christina Perri's "Human," which spurred judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan to give her a standing ovation, per USA Today. Host Ryan Seacrest then informed viewers at home that Anderson had left the competition, similarly noting her departure was for "personal reasons."

Anderson also wowed the judges during early auditions, in which she sang Lady Gaga's "Applause." "I mean, my head is spinning," Bryan said after that performance, which earned Anderson a coveted perk-filled platinum ticket to Hollywood. Producers are staying as tight-lipped as Seacrest and Anderson herself, with one telling People in a statement: "We are disappointed to see Kenedi leave, but we are excited to watch this celebratory 20th season unfold with the incredible talent vying to be the next American Idol." It's nothing but gratitude, at least publicly, from Anderson, though. "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," the Virginia teen wrote in her Instagram post. (More American Idol stories.)

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