As the 20th season of the iconic singing competition American Idol kicks off, some fans were blindsided to learn that an early standout performer, Kenedi Anderson, has removed herself from the competition because of “personal reasons.”

When Anderson’s performance aired on Monday, a pre-taped rendition of the Christina Perri song “Human,” viewers were stunned, but then a twist came when host Ryan Seacrest revealed Anderson’s departure. “You might have noticed there was no voting information during Kenedi’s performance just now,” he began. “Since we taped these shows in Hawaii earlier, Kenedi has decided to withdraw from our show for personal reasons.”

Anderson addressed the news in an Instagram caption after the episode aired. “For personal reasons, I’m unable to continue on Idol. This has been one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make, but I know it’s necessary. She also thanked the crew, judges, cast and fans of the show 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.”

One of Anderson’s earlier performances on the show, a cover of the Lady Gaga hit “Applause” garnered a fitting standing ovation from judges Luke BryanKaty Perry and Lionel Ritchie. Perry told Anderson, “I’m threatened,” and also added, “I don’t know how you haven’t been recruited. You check every box.”


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