Caleb Kennedy Compares Pressure of American Idol to Slap in the Face After Controversial Exit

Caleb Kennedy’s American Idol journey was cut short after a video of him next to someone dressed in a white hood circulated online. See what the teen said of his experience.

By Elana Rubin Jun 29, 2021 5:22 PMTags

Caleb Kennedy, 16, wasn't ready for the pressures of fame when he was a contestant on American Idol earlier this year.

The star, who made it to the final five contestants on season 19, opened up about the reality of being on such a huge television show.

"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 told "I wasn't ready for it."

"There's no way to emotionally prepare for Idol," Kennedy continued. "Because no one is ready for it, no matter how you prepare. But I don't regret it, and I did love it."

The singer thinks that his edit on television contrasted who he really is.

"On Idol, that wasn't me," Kennedy asserted. "That world is so different. Now that I'm home, I try to be me, but I'm also scared of someone videoing me when I go to Academy or Wal-Mart. You have to worry about things like that now."

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Kennedy was among the top five finalists when he left season 19 of the hit show after a controversial video of him circulated online. The Snapchat video showed Kennedy next to another person wearing what appeared to be a Ku Klux Klan white-hooded outfit. The clip is reportedly four years old, and led to the country singer stepping down from American Idol.

Eric McCandless/ABC via Getty Images

He apologized for the video on his Instagram account on May 12.

"There was a video that surfaced on the internet and it displayed actions that were not meant to be taken in that way," Kennedy claimed, failing to mention how the video was supposed to be taken.

"I was younger and did not think about the actions, but that's not an excuse," he continued. "I wanna say sorry to all my fans and everyone who I have let down."

He said he hoped to regain his audience's trust.