Kenedi Anderson, a front-runner on “American Idol” this season, is leaving the show.
Anderson, 17, announced the news Monday on Instagram, explaining that she made the decision to drop out of the ABC singing competition for “personal reasons.”
“For personal reasons, I’m unable to continue on American Idol,” wrote Anderson. “This has been one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make, but I know it’s necessary.”
She continued, “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.”
Host Ryan Seacrest confirmed Anderson’s exit during Monday night’s episode of the show just after Anderson was seen performing Christina Perri’s “Human” during the show’s pre-taped Top 24 segment.
“You might have noticed that there was no voting information during Kenedi’s performance just now,” said Seacrest. “Since we taped these shows in Hawaii earlier, Kenedi has decided to withdraw from our show for personal reasons.
“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,” he added.
NBC News reached out to Anderson, who did not immediately respond to request for comment.
The teen singer first wowed judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie during her audition, which found her playing a piano and singing Lady Gaga’s “Applause.”
All three judges rose to give Anderson a standing ovation, with Perry gushingly branding herself a “KeniCat.”
“I don’t know how you haven’t been recruited yet. You check every box and a lot of all of them. Get ready to become your own hero,” said Perry.
Richie also told Anderson that she had the makings of a major star.
“You don’t understand. We can sit here all day long and sing songs, but what we’re looking for is the next ‘thing’ in the music business. You have graced us because your voice, your look, your sound — if that’s 17 years old, congratulations. You’ve answered our prayers,” he said.
In pre-taped footage that aired during her audition segment, Anderson opened up about how she turns to music during tough times.
“Music really is my therapy,” she said. “Whenever I’m frustrated, whenever I’m feeling down, music has always been the one thing that has stuck with me no matter what.”
This story first appeared on TODAY.com. More from TODAY:
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