MIA! Why did Kenedi Anderson suddenly quit American Idol? The Virginia native made quite an impression on the judges with her piano rendition of Lady Gaga’s “Applause,” so much so that it earned her the coveted platinum ticket — but why did the season 20 frontrunner abruptly leave the show?

After her stunning Top 24 performance of Christina Perri’s “Human” on the Monday, April 11, episode, instead of the judges’ critiques, the screen cut to host Ryan Seacrest in-studio to address her absence. 

“You might have noticed there was no voting information during Kenedi’s performance just now,” explained the long-time Idol host. “Since we taped these shows in Hawaii earlier, Kenedi has decided to withdraw from our show for personal reasons.”

Ryan added, “We send her our 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.”

Following the news, the 17-year-old took to Instagram to further explain her harsh exit from the musical competition. 

“For personal reasons, I’m unable to continue on American Idol. 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 contestant, and all the fans who have supported me,” the statement read. “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.” 

Eagle-eyed fans first had a clue about Kenedi’s potential departure when her performances had not been uploaded to the show’s YouTube channel. The young singer grabbed American Idol fan’s attention from her first audition, with judge Luke Bryan calling her possibly “the biggest star we’ve ever seen.” The country singer added, “I truly believe your musical journey for the rest of your life just started right here.” 

Her epic performance earned her the show’s new twist — the 20-year anniversary platinum ticket, which allowed her to skip the first round of Hollywood week and straight to the duets round. 

While Kenedi’s departure is a major disappointment to viewers, American Idol producer Fremantle Media told Us Weekly in a statement, “We are excited to watch this celebratory 20th season unfold with the incredible talent vying to be the next American Idol.”

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