If you’re a country fan and kept up with this past season of American Idol, you probably were rooting for Caleb Kennedy.
The 16-year-old from Roebuck, South Carolina has a voice that’s well beyond his age, as he wowed judges with several great covers and originals.
Things were looking bright for the kid, as he made it very far into the show, until an old Snapchat video resurfaced of him posing with a buddy who was wearing a “white hood.” His mom said they were 12 at the time and had just watched the movie The Strangers: Prey at Night , so that’s what they were imitating.
Due to controversy, he was told to leave the show.
Now, for the first time since the incident occurred, he opened up about the incident, and his experiences on the show with the Spartanburg-Herald Journal:
“You think it’s all going to be fun, and a lot of it is, but it will slap you in the face real quickly. I wasn’t ready for it.
There’s no way to emotionally prepare for ‘Idol’ because no one is ready for it, no matter how you prepare. But I don’t regret it, and I did love it.
On ‘Idol,’ that wasn’t me. That world is so different. Now that I’m home, I try to be me but I’m also scared of someone videoing me when I go to Academy or Wal-Mart. You have to worry about things like that now.”
Although the situation was a very difficult one, it was a very good life lesson for the kid, as his potential is still through the roof. Even the judges spoke highly of Kennedy after the incident, and wished him the best.
Judge Luke Bryan had this to say:
“We want the best for Caleb. As far as 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.”
Lionel Richie added:
“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.”
Kennedy also released an EP of several of his originals, and I gotta say, his song “Nowhere,” shows a ton of promise for the youngster.