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American Idol judges break silence on Caleb Kennedy’s departure day after controversial video

The American idol the judges broke their silence four days after top 5 contestant Caleb Kennedy left the show due to a leaked controversial video.

Following Sunday’s emotional semi-final episode, judges Luke Brian and Lionel Richie expressed their feelings at Kennedy’s sudden departure – and what they hope for the young singer in the future.

“First and foremost, as judges, we love these kids,” Brian, 44, told PEOPLE after the show. “We get emotionally involved in these children. We want the best for Caleb. As for the nuances of the way the ABC views it anyway, the decisions we make and our job as judges is to show up and finish the best. good for ourselves and commenting on the children in front of us. But we want nothing but the best for Caleb. This makes for a very, very challenging and upsetting week. “

Richie, 71

, then said, “Many times we think about it, we grow up and make mistakes, and many times we look at our lives behind us and say, ‘God, what was I thinking when I did that?’ It was one of those situations where the three of us seemed to hug him tight. “

“He definitely has talent. The problem is that this is one of those unfortunate decisions that had to be made and we move on. But it will be remembered for life and he will understand what it is about,” he added.

RELATED: Wyatt Pike drops out of American Idol after being in the top 12 of the season

Christopher Willard / abc Caleb Kennedy

Kennedy left the show after a controversial video of a South Carolina native surfaced on the Internet, in which he can be seen hanging out with a friend wearing a white hood, similar to those worn by members of the Ku Klux Klan.

In a statement shared on Instagram on Wednesday, Kennedy referred to the video, saying it “shows actions that were not intended to be taken in this way.”

“I was younger and didn’t think about action, but that’s no excuse,” he said. “I want to say sorry to all my fans and everyone I’ve misled.”

Matt Stroshane / abc Caleb Kennedy

Kennedy, 16, also said he would “spend some time on social media to improve, but saying I know it has hurt and disappointed many people and made people lose respect for me.”

“So sorry!” Kennedy added. “I pray that one day I can restore your trust in who I am and respect you! Thank you for supporting me.”

During Sunday’s episode of ABC’s singing competition show, America said goodbye to 16-year-old Casey Bishop – leaving Willie Spence, Grace Kinstler and Chase Beckham to fight for a chance to be the next American idol.

ABC Casey Bishop

While this marks the end of Bishop Idol trip, Judge Katy Perry said the young singer has a bright future.

“She will be fine!” Perry told PEOPLE.

“@Thecaseybishop, you’re a real rock star,” Brian later wrote on Twitter. “This is just the beginning for you! Get out of here with a very high head.”

Luke Combs, McEllmore, Fall Out Boy and Lindsey Buckingham of Fleetwood Mac will take to the stage for special performances on Sunday, May 23 Idol final. Waiting for Hahn, Mickey Gaiton, Leona Lewis, Alessia Kara, Cheryl Crowe and Idol Judges Katy Perry, Brian and Richie will also take the stage.

American idolThe final will be broadcast on Sunday, May 23, at 20:00 on ABC.

To help combat systemic racism, consider learning from or donating to these organizations:

• Campaign Zero works to end police brutality in America through research-proven strategies.

• ColorofChange.org is trying to make the government more responsive to racial differences.

• The National Cares Mentoring Movement provides social and academic support to help black youth succeed in and out of college.

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