‘American Idol’ Judges Heaped Praise on Former Season 20 Contestant Kenedi Anderson: See What They Said

by Taylor Cunningham

Singing sensation Kenedi Anderson only appeared on seven episodes of American Idol, but her short-lived TV stint still left the judges astonished. Here’s everything they had to say.

To recap, Anderson suddenly exited the competition earlier this month due to unknown “personal reasons.” But before she disappeared, the 17-year-old was pegged as the season 20 champion.

For her initial audition, Anderson sang an emotional edition of Applause by Lady Gaga. And not only did she showcase her vocals, but she also proved that she’s a talented pianist by playing her own accompaniment.

Before she even finished her final note, judges Luke Bryan, Katy Perry, and Lionel Richie were starstruck. It was evident that the teenager had serious talent. And they excitedly handed her a platinum ticket to Hollywood so they could watch her rise to fame. But before she left, Richie shouted out a “Hallelujah!”

“My head is spinning,” Bryan said during the pre-audition chat before calling her a “five-star recruit.”

Luke Bryan Thought the New Recruit was ‘The Biggest Star’ The Series had Seen

Once she made it to Tinsel Town, the American Idol judges continued to be impressed by Kenedi Anderson’s singing chops. Perry even admitted that she felt “threatened” by the up-and-comer’s talents. And she told Bryan and Richie that Anderson was “born to be a star.”

Richie went on to say, “You don’t understand: We can sit here all day long and sing songs. But we are looking for the next ‘thing’ in the music business. You have graced us because of your voice, your look, your sound, if that’s 17 years old, congratulations. You’ve answered all of our prayers.”

And Bryan thought that the teen was “the biggest star” the show had ever seen.

“I truly believe that your musical journey for the rest of your life just started right here, right now,” he said.

But Kenedi Anderson only performed in three main competition episodes. And when she left, everyone with the show expressed how utterly “disappointed” they were, according to US Weekly.

Kenedi Anderson Left American Idol for ‘Personal Reasons’

While Kenedi Anderson never revealed exactly what made her give up her shot on American Idol, she did release a statement expressing gratitude to everyone who supported her.

“For personal reasons, I’m unable to continue on American Idol,” she wrote. ” This has been one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make, but I know it’s necessary. I’m so grateful to American Idol, the judges, the producers, the amazing contestants, and all the fans who have supported me. Thank you for giving me such an amazing opportunity to share my voice, chase my dreams, feel so much joy and happiness doing what I love, and make lifelong friends along the way.”

Luckily, the singer hasn’t completely given up on her dreams though. A couple of weeks ago, Anderson returned to social media. And when she did, she released a new song that may reveal a bit of the turmoil that led to her abrupt exit. Listen to it here.