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Second American Idol contestant drops out ahead of semi-finals

Caleb Kennedy was one of the 2021 competition's top five finalist

Eve Crosbie

American Idol finalist Caleb Kennedy has exited the competition after a racially insensitive video surfaced online.

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The video, which has been circulating social media this week, shows the 16-year-old country singer seated next to someone who appears to be wearing a hood similar to that worn by white supremacists.

Caleb was one of the 2021 competition's top five finalists alongside Willie Spence, Grace Kinstler, Chayce Beckham and Casey Bishop but will no longer take part in the show.

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As the news of his exit broke on Wednesday, he took to Instagram to apologise for his actions. "Hey y'all, this is gonna be a bit of a surprise but I am no longer gonna be on American Idol," he began. 

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"There was a video that surfaced on the internet and it displayed actions that were not meant to be taken in that way. I was younger and did not think about the actions, but that's not an excuse. I wanna say sorry to all my fans and everyone who I have let down."

He continued: "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 and made people lose respect for me. I'm so sorry! I pray that I can one day regain your trust in who I am and have your respect! Thank you for supporting me."

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The 16-year-old country singer has withdrawn ahead of the semifinals

A spokesperson for the ABC show has confirmed that Caleb will not feature on this Sunday's semifinals. "American Idol contestant Caleb Kennedy will no longer be moving forward in the competition. Sunday's episode will feature the top four with one contestant elimination," a statement to People read.

Sunday night's show is Artist's Singles week. The episode will see the contestants team up with a trio of legendary producers to perform new original songs ahead of the grand finale on Sunday 23 May.

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Caleb isn't the first contestant to drop out of season 19. In April, fan favourite Wyatt Pike shocked fans when he revealed he had withdrawn from the competition for "personal reasons".

Host Ryan Seacrest revealed the news on-air, with Wyatt breaking his silence on his exit on social media three days later, although he didn't provide further explanation for his exit. 

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