Caleb Kennedy; Photo Courtesy of ABC
Caleb Kennedy; Photo Courtesy of ABC

Caleb Kennedy Loved His ‘American Idol’ Experience But Admits He “Wasn’t Ready For It”

Caleb Kennedy admitted that he wasn’t ready for the American Idol but he did love the experience.

In a recent interview with Spartanburg Herald Journal, Kennedy opened up about his experience on American Idol which he admitted that there is no way to prepare for the emotional stress and pressure that comes with being on a show like Idol, even with the support of his family, friends and thousands of his loyal fans across America.

“There’s no way to emotionally prepare for Idol, because no one is ready for it, no matter how you prepare,” Kennedy admitted. “You think it’s all going to be fun, and a lot of it is, but it will slap you in the face really quickly. I wasn’t ready for it.”

Kennedy doesn’t regret his decision of being on Idol, as he appreciated and enjoyed every moment of the experience.

“I don’t regret it, and I did love it,” he added.

The South Carolina native also shared that the Idol experience changed him, as since he’s been home, he try’s to be himself but is afraid of being filmed while out shopping.

“On Idol, that wasn’t me,” Kennedy said. “That world is so different. Now that I’m home, I try to be me, but I’m also scared of someone videoing me when I go to Academy or Wal-Mart. You have to worry about things like that now.”

Since departing from the show, Kennedy has been busy playing shows around his hometown and beyond. He also has been working on some original tunes, like a recent song he shared called “May To June.”

The 16-year-old singer exited the show after a controversial video surfaced online, just days after he secured a spot in the Top 5 on Season 19 of American Idol.

On Wednesday, May 12, a video surfaced on social media which allegedly shows Kennedy sitting on a couch next to someone wearing racist attire. However, his mom Anita Guy confirmed that he wasn’t referencing racist paraphernalia but a movie that her son watched. Guy said that the aforementioned video clip was taken when her son Kennedy was only 12 years old. And he was actually imitating characters from a movie he and his friend were watching earlier that evening on the night that the aforementioned clip was filmed.

“I hate this has happened and how Caleb is being portrayed by people online,” Guy previously explained to the Herald-Journal. “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,” the American Idol contestant’s mom added. “He loves everyone and has friends of all races.”

The fan-favorite 16-year-old Idol contestant previously addressed the situation in a lengthy message to fans on the reason for his departure from the popular singing competition show.

“Hey y’all, this is gonna be a bit of a surprise, but I am no longer gonna be on American Idol,” Kennedy explained. “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.”

Kennedy then apologized to his supporters and everyone who has voted for him during his Idol journey.

“I wanna say sorry to all my fans and everyone who I have let down,” Kennedy added. “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.”

Idol judges Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie also wished Kennedy well and hope the best for him, following his departure from the show.

“First and foremost, as judges, we love these kids,” Bryan previously told PEOPLE. “We get emotionally involved in these kids. We want the best for Caleb. We wish nothing but the best for Caleb.”

Richie added, “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?’ 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. 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.”

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