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American Idol Judges Break Silence On Caleb Kennedy's 'Upsetting' Exit After Controversial Video Resurfaces

American Idol Judges Finally Talk Caleb Kennedy’s Exit Days After Racist Video Surfaced

Speaking out…

Four days after Caleb Kennedy exited American Idol for appearing in a controversial video, judges Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie are sharing their thoughts. In case you missed it, ABC made the decision to eliminate the top five contestant after an old clip resurfaced showing the teen allegedly with a friend in a white hood similar to those of the Ku Klux Klan.

After Sunday night’s emotional semi-final episode, which didn’t feature Kennedy, Luke dished to People:

“First and foremost, as judges, we love these kids. We get emotionally involved in these kids. We want the best for Caleb. As far as the nuances on how ABC gets viewed, either way, decisions got made and it’s our job as judges to show up and do our best job and comment on the kids who are in front of us. But we wish nothing but the best for Caleb. It does make for a very, very challenging and upsetting week.”

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Richie, 71, also shared similar grace for the axed singer, adding:

“A lot of times, we think about it, we grow up and we make mistakes and we look at our life behind us many times and we say, ‘God, what was I thinking about when I did that?’ This was one of those situations where we kind of give him a big hug from the three of us.”

Umm, “give him a big hug”??? That seems a bit much given the circumstances! While 16-year-old Caleb and his mother Anita Guy may have insisted he “doesn’t have a racist bone in his body,” the alleged visual is still disturbing, especially considering his many fans of color have been cheering him on throughout the competition.

That said, Lionel and Luke seem to be giving the teen the benefit of the doubt. Neither notable performer had a bad word to say about the South Carolina native, with the longtime singer saying:

“He has definitely has a talent. The problem is, this is one of those unfortunate decisions that had to be made and we move on. But this will be remembered in his lifetime and he’ll know what it’s all about.”

Reacting to his exit, the former American Idol contestant wrote on Instagram Wednesday:

“There was a video that surfaced on the internet and it displayed actions that were not meant to be taken in that way. I was younger and did not think about the actions, but that’s not an excuse. I wanna say sorry to all my fans and everyone who I let down.”

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The young star also announced a social media hiatus, concluding:

“I’ll be taking a little time off social media to better myself, but saying that, I know this has hurt and disappointed a lot of people and made people lose respect for me.”

Katy Perry has yet to make a statement on Kennedy’s exit. She did, however, speak on Casey Bishop’s Sunday night exit from the reality series after she was out-performed by finalists Willie Spence, Grace Kinstler, and Chayce Beckham. The judge told the outlet:

“She’s going to be fine!”

Reactions, Perezcious readers? Are you surprised Luke and Lionel seem so nonchalant about Caleb’s exit? Do you think he really deserves a “big hug” from the judges?? Sound OFF in the comments (below)!

[Image via WENN/Avalon & Caleb Kennedy/Instagram]

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May 17, 2021 09:40am PDT