'American Idol' Judges React to Singer Being Dropped for Previous KKK Video Lionel Richie attends the taping of ABC's "American Idol" on April 12, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images)
By Jim Thomas | Tuesday, 18 May 2021 06:19 PM
The American Idol judges break their silence in the wake of country singer Caleb Kennedy being dropped from the show due to a leaked controversial KKK related video, reported People Magazine.
"This is one of those unfortunate decisions that had to be made and we move on," Lionel Richie told PEOPLE after Sunday's semi-final episode. “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.”
“First and foremost, as judges, we love these kids,” Bryan told the outlet. “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 16-year-old contestant announced he would be leaving the competition last week after a Snapchat video resurfaced – reportedly shot when he was 12 – showing him sitting next to someone wearing a Ku Klux Klan-style hood.
The former Commodore’s singer added, “He 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.”
In a statement shared to his Instagram last week, Kennedy apologized for the controversial video, saying that it “displayed actions that were not meant to be taken in that way.”
The aspiring country singer added, “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.” Kennedy further told his fans he hopes to “one day regain your trust in who I am and have your respect.”