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“American Idol” top-five finalist Caleb Kennedy has left the show after a video surfaced showing him next to someone wearing what appears to be a Ku Klux Klan hood.
A representative for the show confirmed to The Post that Kennedy will no longer be moving forward in the competition.
The singer, 16, posted a statement about his departure on Instagram Wednesday.
“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 in 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. I’m so sorry! I pray that I can one day regain your trust in who I am and have your respect! Thank you for supporting me.”
The remaining finalists include Willie Spence, Grace Kinstler, Chayce Beckham and Casey Bishop.
Kennedy’s mother, Anita Guy, gave a statement to MSN claiming that the video was taken when Kennedy was 12 and inspired by a movie he had seen.
“I hate this has happened and how Caleb is being portrayed by people online,” Guy said. “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.”
On Tuesday, Kennedy had posted an upbeat message on Instagram, thanking his followers for their support. “Hey guys! So glad to have y’all on the journey with me through #Americanidol,” he wrote. “Also really happy to be in the studio working on songs!! I love you guys so much!!”
On the most recent episode this past Sunday, May 9, Kennedy performed a throaty version of the Coldplay song “Violet Hill,” plus an original tune, “Mama Said,” according to Heavy.com.
Mid-afternoon Wednesday, the show posted a Twitter teaser that Billie Eilish’s brother Finneas would mentor finalists in the upcoming episode on Sunday, but it did not mention Kennedy’s move.
It’s not the only shocking exit this season on “American Idol.” Wyatt Pike, 20, left the competition series after making the top 12, citing “personal reasons.”
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