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‘Idol’ Judges Break Their Silence Over Caleb Kennedy’s Sudden Exit: It Was ‘Devastating News’

The ‘American Idol’ judges are finally speaking out about Caleb Kennedy leaving the show after a video controversy. Luke Bryan called the situation ‘devastating,’ while Lionel Richie said it was ‘unfortunate.’

The American Idol semi-finals were supposed to feature the top 5 artists, but it was only the top 4 who performed because Caleb Kennedy left the show after a controversial video surfaced online days before. After the May 16 episode, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie finally weighed in about the Caleb situation. “Well, losing great talent is always [hard],” Lionel told Entertainment Tonight. “This is our class. This is the class of 2021. So, you know, it was an unfortunate situation,” Richie shared. “We had to ride with what’s happening with ABC, and you know that’s where we play. So you know we wish him all the best, but that was just one of those unfortunate things that happens along the way of life.”

Luke added, “You know, we love these kids, we love every aspect of their growth and all of this, but it’s certainly devastating news when we hear about this. But like we said, our thoughts will be with him as he grows as an artist.”

Caleb Kennedy left the competition ahead of the semi-finals. (ABC)

Caleb left American Idol ahead of the season 19 semi-finals after a controversial Snapchat video from the past surfaced online. The video allegedly showed Caleb sitting next to someone wearing what looks like a Ku Klux Klan hood. Hours after the video surfaced, the 16-year-old singer announced he would no longer be competing. During the May 16 episode, host Ryan Seacrest only said Caleb would “not be continuing in the competition” even though he had made the top 5.

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