17-Year-Old ‘American Idol’ Fan Favorite Kenedi Anderson Has Dropped Out Of The Competition

After advancing to the Top 24 and being hailed as one of the show’s “biggest stars we’ve ever seen,” American Idol contestant Kenedi Anderson has left the singing competition series, despite appearing to be a lock for the finale. Longtime host Ryan Seacrest announced the news during Sunday’s episode.

“You might have noticed that there was no voting information during Kenedi’s performance just now,” Seacrest said via The Wrap. “Since we taped these shows in Hawaii earlier, Kenedi has decided to withdraw from our show for personal reasons. We send her well wishes.”

Following Sunday’s episode, Anderson confirmed on Instagram that she did, in fact, step away from Idol for personal reasons, which she did not elaborate on:

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. 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.

Anderson’s surprise exit was particularly sad because she was such a fan favorite and even blew away this season’s judges Luke Bryan, Lionel Ritchie, and Katy Perry.

“Well I believe you might be the biggest star we’ve ever seen,” Bryan said after one of Anderson’s performances in March. “No doubt, I believe top 10.”

“I don’t know how you haven’t been recruited, but you check every box and a lot of all of them,” Perry said. “Get ready to become your own hero.”

(Via The Wrap, Audacity)