Monday’s episode of “American Idol” was full of surprises.
At the start of the episode, which revealed the top 12 “Idol” singers, host Ryan Seacrest announced that “Idol” judge Luke Bryan had tested positive for COVID-19. Sitting in Bryan’s place was Paula Abdul — a former “Idol” judge who saw the rise of superstars like Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood and David Archuleta.
A few minutes later, Seacrest dropped an arguably even bigger bombshell: Wyatt Pike, a 20-year-old singer-songwriter from Park City, Utah, had reached the top 12. But he had also left the competition.
“Before we get to the results, I have to tell you that finalist Wyatt Pike will not be competing in the competition,” Seacrest said during Monday’s episode. “He had to drop out, but we wish him the very best.”
The announcement came as a shock to “Idol” fans:
It’s sad that Wyatt Pike had to drop out. #AmericanIdol— Paul Onufrey (@onufreyonboard) April 13, 2021
So much drama in the first minutes of #AmericanIdol there is no way to focus on the music tonight. ✅Luke Bryan out with COVID. ✅Paula Abdul sits in as guest judge. ❌Seacreast makes passing comment that Wyatt Pike has dropped out with no explanation❓❓❓#SWLAABC— Ben Terry (@BenTerryKPLC) April 13, 2021
Why did Wyatt Pike leave ‘American Idol’?
- Pike’s departure from the show was unexpected — just a few hours before Monday night’s episode, “Idol” tweeted out its support of the remaining contestants, including Pike.
- On Tuesday, an “American Idol” spokesperson told the Deseret News that Pike “could not continue due to personal reasons.”
- “We cannot comment further,” the spokesperson said.
- The Deseret News also reached out to Pike, who did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
- Sunday’s episode of “Idol” was pre-taped while Monday’s episode featured the first live performances of the season, People reported. A few days before Monday’s episode, Pike had a post on Instagram that indicated he was missing his Park City home.
- “Something to feel this through: home,” he wrote. Thankful for the rollercoaster I’m on today.”
Did Wyatt Pike have a shot at winning ‘American Idol’?
- Pike was a favorite among the judges and fans. For what would end up being his last performance on “Idol,” which aired Sunday night, Pike performed Kings of Leon’s “Use Somebody” and drew high praise from the judges.
- “I remember one of the coolest things that ever happened to me is the day I realized that I get to do music forever, under any circumstance,” Bryan said, according to the Deseret News. “And I’m telling you, Wyatt, you’re going to be able to do music for the rest of your life.”
- That was a big compliment for Pike, a musician who dropped out of business school to pursue his passion for music, the Deseret News reported.
- During that same episode, “Idol” judge Katy Perry said she hoped Pike would continue on in the competition and that she wanted to see a more vulnerable performance from him.
- “I really believe in you,” she said. “I think whatever happens — you’re it.”
Wyatt Pike’s history on ‘American Idol’
- Throughout his time on “Idol,” Pike impressed the judges with his unique style and authenticity. During his audition, “Idol” judge Lionel Richie called him a “Park City James Taylor,” the Deseret News reported.
- Pike told the Deseret News that when he auditioned for “American Idol,” walking into a big room to meet the “Idol” judges for the first time, he felt overwhelmed in the best way.
- “Wow, this really happened. Someone said ‘yes’ for me to be here,” Pike recalled thinking. “That in and of itself — I felt super grateful to have that opportunity.”
Below are all of Pike’s performances on “Idol”: