'American Idol' Frontrunner Suddenly Quits

American Idol viewers were left in shock Monday night after Kenedi Anderson abruptly withdrew from the competition. Considered a frontrunner in the competition, the 17-year-old singer pulled her name from the running following her stunning Top 24 performance of Christina Perri's "Human."

The show's longtime host, Ryan Seacrest, announced the shocking news just after the teen's pre-recorded performance. While other contestants' performances included numbers for viewers to vote, Anderson's did not. In a clip inserted into Monday's episode, Seacrest explained why that was, revealing that the young singer would no longer be competing on American Idol due to "personal reasons."

"You might have noticed that there was no voting information during Kenedi's performance just now. Since we taped these shows in Hawaii earlier, Kenedi has decided to withdraw from our show for personal reasons," Seacrest shared. "We send her well wishes, and needless to say, we have incredible talent on this historic season, with more iconic Idol performances coming up for you right now."

Just after the episode aired, Anderson confirmed her withdrawal in a statement posted to Instagram, telling her fans that "for personal reasons, I'm unable to continue on American Idol." Anderson did not reveal further details, though she called the decision "one of the hardest decisions I've ever had to make," though she said she knows "it's necessary." She went on to express her gratitude "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."

Anderson's withdrawal was also confirmed by producer Fremantle Media, which said in a statement to PEOPLE, "We are disappointed to see Kenedi leave, but we are excited to watch this celebratory 20th season unfold with the incredible talent vying to be the next American Idol."


Anderson has been a favorite to win ever since she auditioned for the popular show with a piano cover of Lady Gaga's "Applause." The performance not only earned her plenty of love from the viewers, but also from judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan, who told the teen she "might be the biggest star we've ever seen." The judges gave Anderson one of three platinum tickets, sending her straight through Hollywood Week and past the first round of cuts. Anderson continued to impress over the following weeks, making her a frontrunner in the competition.