“American Idol” judges Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan spoke out about Caleb Kennedy’s abrupt exit from the show.
Bryan and Richie both spoke with People magazine in an interview published Monday.
“First and foremost, as judges, we love these kids,” Bryan told People magazine. “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.”
Kennedy exited the show after he was spotted in a video next to someone wearing what appeared to be in a Ku Klux Klan hood. (RELATED: ‘American Idol’ Contestant Caleb Kennedy Out Of Finals After Alleged KKK Video Surfaces)
“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?'” Richie said to the outlet. “This was one of those situations where we kind of give him a big hug from the three of us.”
“He has definitely has a talent,” Richie continued. “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.”
Kennedy shared his own statement regarding his exit May 12 on his social media.
An update from me, about American Idol. pic.twitter.com/uuHc2sSiM4
— Caleb Kennedy (@calebkennedy) May 12, 2021
“I was younger and did not think about the actions, but that’s not an excuse,” Kennedy wrote in the statement. “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.”
Kennedy’s mom, Anita Guy, told MSN that the video in question was filmed when Kennedy was 12 years old and that the boys were imitating characters out of a horror movie.