Lionel Richie, Luke Bryan, Katy Perry, and Ryan Seacrest for 'American Idol.'
Source: ABC

Over 20 Years, Only Only Eight Contestants Have Dropped out of 'American Idol'

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Apr. 12 2022, Published 3:08 p.m. ET

Since its debut in 2002, American Idol has transformed ordinary people into worldwide superstars.

From Grammy-Award-winning artists like Kelly Clarkson and Jennifer Hudson, the reality competition singing series has successfully curated some of the most prominent figures in the music industry.

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On the other hand, American Idol has also had its fair share of contestants who had to withdraw from the reality singing competition. If you are curious, keep reading for more information on the contestants who dropped out of American Idol.

Jay performing on Season 20 of 'American Idol'
Source: ABC
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Kenedi Anderson — Season 20

Although she was a frontrunner on Season 20 of American Idol, 17-year-old Kenedi Anderson has officially dropped out of the competition. On April 11, Kenedi shared on Instagram that she was withdrawing from the show for "personal reasons." She wrote that it was a tough but necessary decision, also thanking the judges, producers, fellow contestants, and her supportive fans.

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Caleb Kennedy — Season 19

After securing a spot in the Top 5 on Season 19 of American Idol, country singer Caleb Kennedy unexpectedly dropped out of the competition due to a resurfaced controversial video that showed him sitting next to someone wearing a Klu Klux Klan hood.

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Since then, Caleb's life has taken a turn for the worse; on Feb. 8, 2022, the teen was arrested and charged with a DUI after a fatal car crash that killed 54-year-old Larry Duane Parris. According to Billboard, the 17-year-old remains behind bars and could face up to 25 years in prison "if convicted of driving under the influence resulting in death."

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Wyatt Pike — Season 19

After making it to the Top 16, Wyatt Pike officially dropped out of Season 19 of American Idol. Of the decision, the then 19-year-old shared on Instagram that he withdrew from the competition for "personal reasons."

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He later spoke with KPCW and revealed that although American Idol opened many doors, the reality competition series wasn't for him. He added, "It became too much — the stress and the behind-the-scenes pressure and things that had to happen."

Since then, Wyatt has released several new songs, including "Deep Blue" and "Eventually We'd Get Older."

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Benson Boone — Season 19

After an incredible audition and a spot in the Top 24, Benson Boone dropped out of Season 19 of American Idol. Once fans noticed his disappearance, Benson took to Instagram in April 2021 and stated he decided to "step down from the competition."

In October 2021, the TikTok star stated in a press release via MJSBigBlog that he withdrew from the show because he "didn’t really know who [he] wanted to be as an artist yet, and [he] didn’t want to show the world someone [he's] not."

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Benson has since signed with major record label Night Street Records and released his debut single, "Ghost Town." Since March 2022, Benson has been teasing his second song, "Heart-Shaped Box."

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Nick Merico — Seasons 17

In March 2019, Nick Merico revealed during a Skype interview with Colt Balok that he was dropping out of American Idol.

"Unfortunately, something happened with my family that I can’t really disclose that forced me to back out of the competition," Nick admitted. "And I hate to say that, but that’s what happened. It’s the truth, man."

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Luckily, Nick received another shot on the reality competition series; he made it to the Top 20 of Season 18 and the "Comeback Round" in Season 19 before ending his American Idol journey for good.

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Tiquila Wilson — Season 13

Although Tiquila Wilson blew the judges away, she ultimately dropped out of Season 13 of American Idol. At the time, the powerful vocalist told the Winston-Salem Journal that the show just was not for her.

Tiquila added, "I’m a church baby. All I know is gospel music. And then, too, a lot of people might not understand my decision, but I had a little talk with my God, and he assured me that everything would be all right."

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Mario Vazquez — Season 4

After earning a spot in the Top 12, Season 4 contestant Mario Vasquez dropped out of American Idol.

There was much speculation surrounding his exit, but he squashed all rumors on Good Day New York and stated via MTV that it was a difficult decision, but he "needed to take care of some things in [his] life that needed to be focused on."

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Marlea Stroman — Season 4

Following a successful audition and making it to the second round of Hollywood week, Marlea Storman dropped out of Season 4 of American Idol. According to a press release, Marela decided to exit the show to return to Syracuse and tend to her sick son; as a result, Marela became the first American Idol contestant to quit the competition.

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