American Idol Judges Finally Respond to Caleb Kennedy Racism Scandal

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At last.

Four days after Caleb Kennedy was given the boot from American Idol, the show's judging panel has addressed the unfortunate situation.

As you may have heard about by now, the 16-year old advanced all the way to the final five on the current season of the competition ...

... only to be forced out after a controversial, KKK-themed video leaked online.

Caleb Kennedy Image

The video featured Kennedy, at age 12, sitting in the same room as someone in a Ku Klux Klan hood.

Following Sunday's emotional semifinal installment, panelists Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie expressed their feelings on Kennedy's abrupy departure - and what they hope for the young artist going forward.

So how do his mentors feel about it?

Caleb Kennedy Picture

"First and foremost, as judges, we love these kids," Bryan told People Magazine after the show.

"We get emotionally involved in these kids. We want the best for Caleb."

Added the veteran country music star:

CK picture

"As far as the nuances on how ABC gets viewed, either way, decisions got made and it's our job as judges to show up and do our best job and comment on the kids who are in front of us."

"But we wish nothing but the best for Caleb," his non-answer continued.

"It does make for a very, very challenging and upsetting week."

Caleb Kennedy

Kennedy announced himself last week that he would no longer appear as a contestant on American Idol.

"I wanna say sorry to all my fans and everyone who I have let down," he wrote on Instagram of his role in the aforementioned footage.

"I was younger and did not think about the actions, but that’s not an excuse."

kennedy statement

Added Kennedy: "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."

"[I know it] made people lose respect for me. I’m so sorry!"

Lionel Richie, meanwhile, also chimed in on Caleb.

Caleb Kennedy

Said the beloved musician: "A lot of times, we think about it, we grow up and we make mistakes."

"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."

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"He has definitely has a talent," Richie said.

"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."

Caleb Kennedy on Idol

In response to the three-second, yet life-altering TikTok video, Kennedy's mother released a statement of her own.

She reached out to a local South Carolina outlet last week with some comments that defended her son.

"I hate this has happened and how Caleb is being portrayed by people online," she said, explaining:

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"This video was taken after Caleb had watched the movie The Strangers: Prey at Night."

"They were imitating those characters," she said.

"It had nothing to do with the Ku Klux Klan, but I know that's how it looks."

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"Caleb doesn't have a racist bone in his body."

That may well be the case, given his age at the time of this recording, but you still have to wonder:

Has "[insert name here] doesn't have a racist bone in his body" ever been said about someone who isn't embroiled in some sort of racism-related scandal?

CK Ticket

If you have to point that out, well, that already says quite a lot.

Just saying.

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American Idol Quotes

Brooke White's tears come from the authentic, good soul that she is. Her heart was breaking because she was overwhelmed with the experience she had with the show and the gift that it brought.

Paula Abdul [after Brooke White was eliminated on season seven]

I read some of this online this morning and just for the record, the rumors — they’re not true. She’s part of our family and we love her.

Ryan Seacrest [on rumor of Paula Abdul being drunk on the show]