But what happened that caused them to cut the singer’s chance of victory short?
Kennedy was one of the final 5 performers, and many fans felt that he had the talent to win, which makes his sudden elimination all the more shocking.
In a recently surfaced Twitter video, the South Carolina native can be seen socializing with a friend who is wearing a white hood similar to those worn by members of the Ku Klux Klan.
A Heartfelt Apology
In a lengthy Instagram post, Kennedy issued an apology for the video, which he claims “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,” he wrote. “I wanna say sorry to all my fans and everyone who I let down.”
“I’m so sorry!” the statement concluded. “I pray that I can one day regain your trust in who I am and have your respect! Thank you for supporting me.”
According to Kennedy’s mother, Anita Guy, the video was shot when he was only 12-years-old.
“I hate this has happened and how Caleb is being portrayed by people online,” she revealed.
“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,” she said. “He loves everyone and has friends of all races.”
Despite the apology, fans felt that the singer “should have known better.”
“When I was a kid racist jokes were made,” one user wrote. “But there were certain jokes and things we knew were off limits and even as 12 year olds we knew better than to ever put a white hood on and get in front of a camera. You simply just know better. Being 12 isn’t an excuse.”
“I knew who the KKK were at 12,” another commented. “Anyone saying ‘but he was 12!!’ are being deliberately stupid. He knew who they were, and he knew it was wrong. He just didn’t care. There is a difference between messing up at 12 and making a racist joke at 12.” They capped off the tweet with a face-palm emoji.
After the show, judge Luke Bryan shared, “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.”
The episode aired with the final four performers and eliminated 16-year-old Casey Bishop, leaving Willie Spence, Grace Kinstler, and Chayce Beckham competing for the chance to become the next “American Idol.”
Keep scrolling to keep up to date with the latest “Idol” news!