What Happened to Caleb Kennedy? ‘American Idol’ Finalist Withdrawn From Competition After Questionable Social Media Video Surfaces

“Clearly I’ve made some mistakes…just look at my hairdo…”

Caleb Kennedy will not be America’s idol.

The 16-year-old singer has been withdrawn from the current season of American Idol, despite making it into the competition’s Top 5 last week. Caleb— who hails from Roebuck, South Carolina, announced via Instagram that he is no longer on the show, due to a controversial video from his past resurfacing online.

A spokesperson for ‘American Idol’ confirmed to People that Caleb is off the show. However, it is unclear if Caleb dropped out on his own or was booted off by production.

 “‘American Idol’ contestant Caleb Kennedy will no longer be moving forward in the competition,” the spokesperson told the magazine on Wednesday. “Sunday’s episode will feature the Top 4 with one contestant elimination.”

In his Instagram post, Caleb expressed deep regret for his past actions.

“Hey y’all, this is gonna be a bit of a surprise, but I am no longer gonna be on American Idol,” he wrote. “There was a video that surfaced on the internet and it displayed actions that were not meant to be taken 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 have let down. 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.”

According to TMZ, the video in question is a three-second Snapchat video that shows Caleb sitting next to a person wearing a hood similar to those worn by the Ku Klux Klan. It was supposedly taken when Caleb was 12 years old.

In an interview with the Spartanburg Herald-Journal, Caleb’s mother Anita Guy explained that the video had nothing to do with racism.

“I hate this has happened and how Caleb is being portrayed by people online,” she told the newspaper. “This video was taken after Caleb had watched the movie ‘The Strangers: Prey at Night’ and they were imitating those characters. It had nothing to do with the Ku Klux Klan, but I know that’s how it looks. Caleb doesn’t have a racist bone in his body. He loves everyone and has friends of all races.”

With Caleb out of the competition, that leaves only Willie SpenceGrace KinstlerChayce Beckham and Casey Bishop to compete for the title of ‘American Idol.’

RELATED STORY: Former Winners of ‘The Voice’ Talk About How Quickly They Were Forgotten After Their Season Ended & Discuss Why the Show Hasn’t Launched a Big Star in 20 Seasons

(Photos: ABC; Instagram)


  1. I’m so tired of this generation of sensitivity and cancel culture and all these different types of gender and identities. Over it. Can we get back to everyone minding their own damn business? He was 12! Everyone acts like they’ve never done something “taboo” or been ignorant to something in their life. What a stupid world we live in.

  2. My kid is 9 years old, and would definitely know this is unacceptable. Also, as a 100% non-racist family, I can tell you we don’t own anything that remotely resembles a white KKK hood. If you (or your friend) owns something that looks so similar to a KKK hood, then you’re hanging out with the wrong friends. Whether you’re 12, 21, or 40, this imagery cannot be misunderstood and cannot be acceptable.

    1. I have a 10 year old African-American foster son and he would not have any idea this was wrong. We are trying to teach him but he just isn’t interested in learning right now so we just let him be a kid. Also, I really doubt your family is 100% racist free. No one is perfect!

  3. While it’s not a good look, they’ve been cancelling people left and right for the craziest stuff. He was only 12, and he wasn’t the one in the hood…let him issue his little apology and let him compete again. I kinda feel bad for him.

  4. I’m disgusted by racism and Even more disgusted by the KKK. That being salud, Even if he was wearing a hood, he would have been 12 years old. A literal child. Are we being judged by stupid things we said or did when we were children? I’m fine with people judging me for stupid things I did as an adult but for things I did when I was a child? That’s absurdo and hypocritical

    1. Exactly…and he still is a kid! He’s only 16. My thing is he’s still young, he can still learn and grow, no need to cancel him. If he were 21 and did this, that would be one thing, but he wasn’t even a teenager when it was filmed.

    2. You hung out with people who cosplayed the KKK at 12? Yikes. That’s not normal. At 12 years old, i definitely knew better. Racism isn’t something that you grow out of. You have to literally unlearn it for as many years as it took him to learn it.

      1. I think the whole problem is this: say it does take someone just as long to unlearn it, & for the sake of argument he had 5 years of being racist.

        At what point does the individual receive any compassion or forgiveness? It’s not fair for someone to have made mistakes that they get punished for for the rest of their life. It’s bullshit, actually.

  5. I’ve seen Strangers Prey at Night and don’t remember any of the characters wearing a KKK hood.

  6. TWELVE. so now we’re cancelling people for things they did when they weren’t even a teenager yet. And oh wait, it’s wasn’t even him, it was his friend. And oh wait, it’s debatable whether it was even the KKK hood.

    A 3 second video posted at the age of TWELVE. holy shit this cancel BS is out of control. TWELVE. that’s a middle schooler if not elementary schooler.

  7. Oh no! He’ll have to go through “training” lol!

    So ok it does look like a hood I suppose. Never saw one IRL, but thats kind of how they look in pics I suppose.

    If he says its the movie and not the KKK, then this is ridiculous. He was 12. A 6th grader. And he’s still only a kid now. Its not like hes an adult and 100% aware of implications and insinuations and was actually doing a racial thing.

    I dont think the kid is racist or a WS or KKK or anything like that. Just a terrible choice of costume. At least round the hoodie next time, ffs.

      1. I can see that. I can see the racism of making him an example simply bc of his skin color.

        I think these companies and such look for these instances nowadays, just to show how “””woke””” they are.

        Except, most of remember Season 3 when Fantasia won. Jennifer Hudson and Latoya London were amazing singers that got shafted for Diana Degarmo. Are you kidding? Elton John even called it out. So, AI can really stick their woke bullcrud as far as im concerned.

        Second. This show is so rigged. They have who they want to win and it wasn’t this guy. He didn’t even have a chance– or maybe he did– and their fave has better odds now. Smh.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.