American Idol Judges Are Beyond Emotional About Kenedi Anderson's Abrupt Exit

Kenedi Anderson's abrupt departure from "American Idol" in mid-April totally stunned fans — and they're not the only ones. In the wake of her exit, the show's judges have been quick to voice their heartbreak over the situation.

As a refresher, Anderson blew away judges and viewers alike when she performed Lady Gaga's "Applause" for her "American Idol" audition. So incredible was her performance, in fact, that Katy Perry joked of feeling "threatened" by the teenager's talent and beauty. "You check every box," she praised at the time. Lionel Richie echoed Perry's sentiments, gushing, "You're the answer to our prayers." Given the response, it's no surprise that Anderson was given one of the season's coveted Platinum Tickets. Everything seemed poised for her to excel in the competition — however, her tenure on the show was short-lived. On April 12, it was announced that she would be exiting the show.

Hot off the heels of Ryan Seacrest announcing in the episode that she would be leaving "American Idol," Anderson herself took to Instagram to confirm her exit. "For personal reasons, I'm unable to continue on American Idol. This has been one of the hardest decisions I've ever had to make, but I know it's necessary," she wrote, before thanking the judges, production, contestants and fans for all their support. While the "American Idol" panel may support her choice, that's not to say they're happy about it.

American Idol judges respond to Kenedi Anderson's departure

Given their response to Kenedi Anderson's jaw-dropping "American Idol" audition, it's pretty clear that the judges were rooting for her. It's understandable, then, that they were shocked by her exit.

Luke Bryan — who previously told Anderson, "I believe you might be the biggest star we've ever seen" — has been particularly vocal about the situation. Speaking to USA Today, Bryan revealed, "We're heartbroken as a show because she was so dynamic and great." Lionel Richie agreed, though he admitted that sometimes, the pressure involved is simply too much. "Singing is the easy part," he explained. "If you know what we go through from a pressure point-of-view, most artists can't take it." As for Katy Perry's reaction, she told the publication that she wished Anderson the best for the future. However, Perry was also quick to point out that even though Anderson had undeniable talent, the show would go on. "She was a great one, but I do think that we have such incredible other voices that have now even stepped forward a little bit more. It's just really another opportunity for one of these incredible contestants."

After leaving "Idol," Anderson returned to social media by sharing a shady song about "finding something better" to TikTok that was later deleted, per US Weekly. It's yet to be confirmed if Anderson's ditty was a dig at the competition show. In the meantime, the search for the next "American Idol" continues.