One of the young singers tipped as a possible winner of the 20th season of American Idol, Kenedi Anderson, has left the competition. The 17-year-old high schooler earned one of three golden tickets after impressing judges with her impressive cover of Lady Gaga’s “Applause,” catapulting her through the first round of cuts during Hollywood Week.
“You might have noticed that there was no voting information during Kenedi’s performance just now,” host Ryan Seacrest said during Monday night’s (April 11) after viewers watched Anderson cover Christina Perri’s “Human,” which elicited a standing ovation from the judges. “Since we taped these shows in Hawaii earlier, Kenedi has decided to withdraw from our show for personal reasons.”
At press time a spokesperson for Idol had not returned requests for additional information on the reasons behind Anderson’s leave-taking. “We send her well wishes, and needless to say, we have incredible talent on this historic season, with more iconic Idol performances coming up for you right now,” Seacrest added.
Luke Bryan told Anderson she might be “the biggest star we’ve ever seen” after her initial Gaga audition, which she followed up during Hollywood week with equally impressive runs through Bill Withers’ “Lean on Me” and a duet with Jordan Chase on Bruno Mars’ “Talking to the Moon” during the showstoppers round; her final appearance on the show was on Monday, where she performed at a Disney resort in Hawaii alongside 12 other top 24 contestants.
The teen singer posted a brief message on Instagram thanking her fellow contestants and the show’s producers on Monday night. “For personal reasons, I’m unable to continue on American Idol,” she wrote. “This has been one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make, but I know it’s necessary. I’m so grateful to American Idol, the judges, the producers, the amazing contestants, and all the fans who have supported me. 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.”
Check out her statement below.