American Idol Front-Runner Abruptly Drops Out Of The Competition

"American Idol" Season 20 quickly revealed a crop of incredible talent, but sometimes the journey is cut short. In the early stages of selecting the 24 best stars on the rise, contestant Kenedi Anderson was a clear standout contender at only 17-years-old.

Anderson first auditioned for the show in front of Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, and Luke Bryan with a piano cover of Lady Gaga's "Applause." The judges immediately looked to one another as Kenedi began singing and gave the performance a standing ovation. "I don't know how you haven't been recruited yet," Perry gushed. Bryan couldn't help but agree. "I believe you might be the biggest star we've ever seen," he said.

The "American Idol" judges easily decided to give her a Platinum Ticket, which granted her the opportunity to skip the first round in Hollywood and to select her partner for duets, per Parade. She told ABC 13 News that she wasn't even thinking of receiving a golden ticket when heading in for the audition. "So, when I got the platinum, I was in tears," Kenedi gushed. Despite the astounding praise, Kenedi has announced her decision to exit the competition. She made it to the top 24 before sharing the news.

Kenedi Anderson gives an update on her American Idol run

An early favorite from "American Idol" Season 20 has decided to step away from the competition. Kenedi Anderson shared her decision on April 11 — the same night an episode aired featuring her performance of "Human" by Christina Perry, according to Us Weekly. "For personal reasons, I'm unable to continue on American Idol," Kenedi wrote in a post on Instagram. "This has been one of the hardest decisions I've ever had to make, but I know it's necessary." 

She went on to thank everyone who made her time on the show special, including folks behind-the-scenes, her fellow contestants, and the fans that watched every week at home. There weren't many details in the announcement, but Kenedi continued to express gratitude for the experience. "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."

Her performance in Hawaii was taped before the news of her exit, as host Ryan Seacrest explained during the episode. With his update, there was no voting information provided for viewers. Fans responded to her post with love and speculation, one commenting on Twitter, "You were hands down my favorite singer. For selfish reasons, I hope you left bc you got an offer you couldn't refuse." Until Kenedi shares a bigger update on what she has planned next, "American Idol" viewers still have an impressive group left in the competition to cheer on.