• Kenedi Anderson was a contestant on Season 20 of "American Idol" at age 17
• She was awarded a rare Platinum Ticket, but quit the competition due to 'undisclosed personal reasons'
• She graduated high school shortly after leaving the show and has released both original and covered songs
• She was featured on a song on the youth music album “Trust in the Lord”
• She continues to pursue her favorite things, including boba tea, cats and white orchids
Kenedi Anderson attracted plenty of attention when she stepped onto the designated spot of the audition stage in season 20 of “American Idol”. Things got off on the right foot; Kenedi’s conventionally good looks caught the eyes of three judges before revealing that she had big dreams for her career. Her goals were unsurprising; the reality TV show launched many contestants into stardom, notably Kelly Clarkson, Adam Lambert, Carrie Underwood and Jennifer Hudson.
However, things really evolved after she introduced herself, and started singing,. All three judges agreed that she was talented enough to go to the next round, then after a brief deliberation, honored her with the rare Platinum Ticket.
Yet, after several rounds and apparent success, both in solo singing and as one half of a duo, Kenedi Anderson quit the competition. She didn’t explain what led to the decision at that time, to the overwhelming disappointment of her fans. Luckily, Kenedi still desires a music career and has had some noteworthy updates in recent years. We studied what Kenedi Anderson is doing now.
- 1 Who is Kenedi Anderson?
- 2 Kenedi’s audition set her apart
- 3 Advancing to the Top 24
- 4 Withdrawing from “American Idol”
- 5 What did Kenedi Anderson do immediately after quitting the show?
- 6 Was Kenedi signed to a record deal?
- 7 She graduated high school
- 8 She plans to hold more concerts
- 9 She was featured on an official song
- 10 She continues to pursue her favorite things
Who is Kenedi Anderson?
Before we dive into her current lifestyle, we should go over who Kenedi is, and how her life unfolded before she auditioned for “American Idol” at 17. Kenedi Anderson was born in 2004, but not in Crozet, Virginia, USA, where she lived during the auditions. She didn’t even grow up there; her father was in the football profession, hence she moved around her entire life.
Those with a sharp eye identified her father as Justin Anderson, a former player and college football coach at the University of Virginia, and current football director of player personnel and recruiting at Brigham Young University. Kenedi added that she’s part of a big family spearheaded by Justin and her mom Anne, and the second-oldest among five other children named Dakota, Rubee, Peyton, Jayce, and Jackson.
She added that being close to her siblings mitigated the loneliness of periodically restarting her life. From her father’s social media profiles, fans can see that her family are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Kenedi is also the musical one in the family and considers music a form of therapy. In contrast, other family members prefer to pursue athletic achievements.
Kenedi’s audition set her apart
In the first episode of “American Idol,” aired on 27 February 2022, Kenedi traveled to Los Angeles, California, and performed Lady Gaga’s hit “Applause”. Luke Bryan commented that ‘she may be the biggest star they’ve ever seen,’ Katy Perry remarked that ‘she was born to be a star,’ and Lionel Richie called her ‘an answer to their prayers.’
All three judges consequently gave her a “yes,” and everyone expected she’d receive the regular Hollywood Ticket. However, the judges handed Kenedi a Platinum Ticket, a special prize introduced that season to celebrate the 20th anniversary of “American Idol.” This ticket was only awarded once per each city that the talent show held auditions in, meaning she received the first of just three Platinum Tickets that season. The ticket let her skip the first round of Hollywood Week of the competition, and choose her own duet partner instead of the judges doing so.
BCA would like to wish our previous scholar, Kenedi Anderson, the best of luck on American Idol! Tune on tomorrow night to see her audition. We are so proud of you Kenedi Anderson!
Advancing to the Top 24
Kenedi chose fellow contestant Jordan Chase for the duet entitled “Hot Mess”, and the two performed the Bill Withers classic “Lean on Me.” Although viewers predicted that they would go far, only she did; Jordan’s performance could have been more satisfying, based on judges and the audience, and he didn’t proceed past the Duets Round. In contrast, they praised Kenedi’s solo performance of “Talking to the Moon” by Bruno Mars, and she reached the Top 24.
Everything looked promising for the young singer during and after her rendition of Christina Perri’s “Human” in Group 2. Judges were happy with her performance, and Christina even called her via FaceTime ‘to say hi’ when she heard Kenedi would perform her song. She could only reply, ‘I hope to do it justice’ through the tears of shock and happiness.
Withdrawing from “American Idol”
Unfortunately, despite her evident success, something was looming behind the scenes. In April 2022, Kenedi Anderson announced that she willingly pulled the plug on competing for what the media and the show’s host, Ryan Seacrest, cited as ‘undisclosed personal reasons.’
Kenedi also posted on Instagram, ‘For personal reasons, I’m unable to continue. This has been one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make, but I know it’s necessary.’ She thanked the judges, the producers, and the fans, showing no ill will toward anyone involved. With this development, Kenedi earned another unique but unfortunate credit—becoming the third-ever and first female contestant to willingly step down from “American Idol” after reaching the semi-finals. Mario Vasquez, from the show’s fourth season, was the first, and Wyatt Pike, who reached the top 12 in season 18, was the second.
What did Kenedi Anderson do immediately after quitting the show?
Luke Bryan was the first to break the silence after Kenedi left the show after only four episodes, commenting that it may be due to contestants’ doubts and anxieties, however, there’s evidence pointing elsewhere.
Kenedi released an original song via a TikTok video on 12 April 2022, a day after she announced her withdrawal from “American Idol.” She started the video by saying, ‘Here is the chorus of a song I wrote not too long ago,’ hinting that it dates to her time on the show. She then started singing, “I need to find, need to find something better than what I had, and with no strings attached. Don’t I deserve that? Something with no strings attached.’ Kenedi deleted the video only a few hours later, however, in a TikTok video of June that year, when asked about her exit, Kenedi replied ‘ I had to do what’s best for me.’
Was Kenedi signed to a record deal?
Everything she did after her abrupt exit shows that Kenedi understands the importance of staying under the spotlight. She is a verified TikTok user, with about 400,000 followers as of late February 2023, and regularly records song covers for ‘Kenicats,’ the name she gave her fans. Kenedi also sang many original songs on TikTok, but which rarely last longer than a minute, and are work-in-progress tracks she may never record.
However, the timing and the clear message had fans speculating whether Kenedi signed a record deal somewhere else, or suddenly learned how restrictive previous “American Idol” winner record deals were. In the latter case, fans suggest she may have discovered the experiences of past competitors such as Kelly Clarkson and Samantha “Just Sam” Diaz. Nevertheless, there is no evidence proving her signing with a record label.
She graduated high school
Less than two months after she ended her run on the show, in June 2022, Kenedi let her Instagram followers know that she’d matriculated from Western Albemarle High School – she gave her May prom a rating of ’20/10.’ Both announcements were met with excitement and relief. Fans largely supported her desire to finish her education without the stress and time investment of partaking in such a significant reality TV show.
Moreover, during matriculation, she performed “Butterfly Fly Away” from the 2009 teen comedy-drama “Hannah Montana: The Movie” and played her guitar. This rendition prompted disappointed viewers to remember her age; she’d barely turned 18 in 2022. Others speculated that she may have disliked how she presented herself, and that breaking into the industry outside the talent show would let her continue her career in her prefered way. Kenedi confirmed this somewhat, with original music, concerts, and a featured spot on a religious album.
She plans to hold more concerts
Only a few social media updates were about her career until September 2022, when she performed at the Velour venue in Provo, Utah, with Paige Fish and Emyrson Flora, both fellow season 20 contestants. After the almost sold-out show, Our Era Magazine interviewed them. They were all excited, mainly because they performed some original songs, to test them with the audience. Kenedi revealed, ‘It’s really rare to find people in your day-to-day life who love music as much as you.’ Emyrson added, ‘I just kind of felt home for the first time when I was with Kenedi and Paige.’
Kenedi was undoubtedly on board with continuing to perform, sharing, ‘I’m really excited to actually release music. I’ve been writing some of my favorite songs I’ve ever done, and I can’t wait to share them with the world.’ Emyrson and Paige have also been networking, songwriting, and performing – Paige promoted the event after the fact in an Instagram post captioned with ‘Put on a lovely show with my best friends’, and concurrently, Emyrson called it ‘the coolest night.’
Moreover, they appeared on each other’s social media in funny or music videos, suggesting that they could collaborate or form a trio singing group. Kenedi also had a solo foray, when she opened for Benson Boone during his concert on 8 December 2022. Lastly, she sang the National Anthem at Brigham Young University’s basketball game on 13 January 2023.
Kenedi was active on YouTube, on which she released a notable original track. Less than four years before her “American Idol” prominence, Kenedi uploaded her first YouTube video, singing a cover of Demi Lovato’s “Tell Me You Love Me” in a recording studio.
A year later, she published a cover of Rihanna’s “Love on the Brain,” After another cover in 2020, she waited until 3 March 2022 to upload an original song, “This Way”, which she wrote shortly after turning 17, and described it as imperfect. However, she valued it as an essential step in accepting her flaws, publishing something she wasn’t happy with, improving upon her vocal mistakes, and conveying emotions.
Five days later, she uploaded a cover of “Applause” for fans who requested a more laid-back version than the one on the show. Sadly, Kenedi hasn’t uploaded anything else since then, despite having over 25,000 subscribers as of late February 2023.
She was featured on an official song
Although it wasn’t what her fans expected, Kenedi Anderson received a feature artist spot in the music video entitled “Serve the Lord” on the YouTube channel for the Latter-Day Saints youth, entitled Strive to Be, in August 2022. Kenedi’s featured appearance was much older in reality, since the song was part of the “Trust in the Lord” youth music album released on 35 music platforms in early December 2021.
She continues to pursue her favorite things
Despite her TV fame, Kenedi continues to pursue things that matter to her, and shares them on social media, primarily TikTok and Instagram. She lives in Utah in 2023, and celebrates Christmas, Halloween and Easter with her family according to her Mormon faith.
Kenedi has a fluffy white cat Princess whom she usually calls ‘my fluff.’ She also had a hamster named Peanut and a grey cat named Prince. Although she didn’t reveal what happened to Peanut, she gave Prince away before moving to Utah in late 2022, causing sadness and tears.
Kenedi also admits to being ‘a boba tea girl‘ and would always say ‘yes’ to chocolate-dipped cones from Dairy Queen. Additionally, she started a funny trend of using the weirdest things as microphone replacements. So far, she’s tried a loofa, a lint roller, a mini Christmas tree, and a stuffed Grinch animal, among over 30 other objects.
— SOS/CTS/HH (@SoapOperaSpy) April 13, 2022
Moreover, Kenedi describes herself as someone who loves summer and going to the beach during sundown, and belongs in Los Angeles, yet also wears a winter jacket or coat in 70-degree Fahrenheit weather, which is 21 degrees Celsius. Speaking of clothing, one of her most embarrassing moments was wearing her pants backward in public for over an hour.
When asked by her fans to share some personal likes and dislikes, Kenedi said that a bad habit she wants to change is being too much of a people pleaser. Additionally, she revealed that white orchids are her favorite flowers. In another video, Kenedi disclosed that the movie that touched her the most in 2022 was that year’s “Elvis,” with Austin Butler in the lead role. According to her, it was so good that she cried for a long time afterwards.