A week after Kenedi Anderson’s surprising exit from the “American Idol” competition, the show’s judges have opened up about the unexpected twist.

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What ‘American Idol’ judges said about Kenedi Anderson

Earlier this week, “American Idol” eliminated the competition down to 14 singers. Not long after the big reveal, the “American Idol” judges spoke out about Anderson, a 17-year-old singer who was considered to be a frontrunner in the competition before unexpectedly dropping out.

“We were heartbroken,” Lionel Richie told USA Today, adding that Anderson’s potential “was unbelievable.”

Anderson initially impressed Richie and his fellow “Idol” judges, Luke Bryan and Katy Perry, with her performance of Lady Gaga’s “Applause.” That audition — which led Bryan to call Anderson the “biggest star” the judges had ever seen on the show — has more than 5 million views on YouTube.

“You’ve answered our prayers,” Richie said during Anderson’s audition, noting that the young singer could be the next best thing in the music industry. 

But the pressures of competing on national TV can sometimes become overwhelming for budding artists, Richie recently told USA Today.

“Singing is the easy part,” he said. “If you know what we go through from a pressure point-of-view, most artists can’t take it. It’s just that simple. And it’s not a survivable business, let me say it that way. So when you get under pressure that young in life, I get it.”

Anderson didn’t specify a reason for leaving “American Idol,” but said it was “necessary” and also one of the hardest decisions she’s ever made, the Deseret News reported.

Her exit from the show has made other artists step more into the spotlight, Perry told USA Today.

“It’s just really another opportunity for one of these incredible contestants, and we wish nothing but the best for her,” Perry said.

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Who are the ‘American Idol’ top 14 singers?

As the Deseret News reported, the top 14 singers on “American Idol” are:

  • Ava Maybee
  • Christian Guardino
  • Leah Marlene
  • Nicolina Bozzo
  • Emyrson Flora
  • Fritz Hager
  • Lady K
  • Huntergirl
  • Noah Thompson
  • Dan Marshall
  • Jay Copeland
  • Mike Parker
  • Tristen Gressett
  • Allegra Miles