The first notable musician to leave the competition series on her own early was Marlea Stroman, who appeared on season 4 of American Idol in 2005. Her second round departure was due to her son’s health.
“It wasn’t that big [of a cold], but I wasn’t there, and when babies are sick, they need their mommies,” Marlea told The Post-Standard at the time of her then-12-month-old son.
“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 in a statement in April 2022. ”I’m so grateful to American Idol, the judges, the producers, the amazing contestants, and all the fans who have supported me.”
The high school senior added: “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.”
A source close to production subsequently told Us Weekly that the series was “disappointed to see Kenedi leave.” Bryan, who judged season 20 with Katy Perry and Lionel Richie, told USA Today that the trio was “heartbroken” by Anderson’s decision.
“These kids, they got a lot coming at ’em. I think, potentially for her career, her being a part of our family is as good as the route or the way to the top can be,” he told the newspaper at the time. “But, if you’re having doubts and anxieties and other things … we’re heartbroken as a show because she was so dynamic and great.”
Perry added that Anderson “was a great one,” but noted her early exit will give other contestants a chance to shine.
“I do think that we have such incredible other voices that have now even stepped forward a little bit more,” the “Roar” songstress told the outlet. “It’s just really another opportunity for one of these incredible contestants, and we wish nothing but the best for her. …”
Scroll through for a list of reasons why contestants have quit the competition over the years: