While most people who make it far on American Idol are having the time of their lives, others have decided to leave the show in the middle of the competition for various reasons.
One singer said recently said she was quitting as she wanted to go home to her kids and she didn’t think she was going to win anyways. Another singer said she didn’t think she was able to give 100 percent, so she decided to just leave the show.
There are 11 other former contestants who have quit the show or were removed by producers, including one that made it all the way to the final five.
Head inside to see who else quit the show…
Keep scrolling to see who else quit the show…
Frenchie Davis – Season 2
Frenchie Davis was disqualified as a contestant following Hollywood Week of season two when topless photos of her surfaced online.
“When I first discovered that I had made it to Hollywood and found out I would be competing to get into the top 30 and then later in the top 12, they had given us all this paperwork to fill out, background checks and that whole thing,” she said in a past interview. “So when we were doing that I had a discussion with some members of the production staff and I exposed to them a piece of my past; that when I was 19 years old, I took some pictures and that’s not the person I am [anymore]. I wanted to be up-front about it. We talked about it and then nothing happened”
“They had decided that because American Idol was a family show, that they could not have me on the show because of the pictures I had taken –though they had never seen the pictures,” she added.
Corey Clark – Season 2
Corey Clark made it to the Top 9 on American Idol‘s second season, but was disqualified when his undisclosed criminal record came to light.
Marlea Stroman – Season 4
Marlea Stroman made it to Hollywood Week in season four, but decided to drop out after the second round due to her son being sick.
“It wasn’t that big [of a cold], but I wasn’t there, and when babies are sick, they need their mommies,” Marlea told The Post-Standard.
Mario Vazquez – Season 4
Mario Vazquez made it to the Top 12 in season 4, but decided to quit the competition.
“It had a lot to do with artistic reasons. It was the number one priority for me to have artistic control. I realized that creating my own sound was a major thing for me. When I started out with Idol I didn’t think about it that much. But when Idol progressed, there were more lenient opportunities towards things that I wanted to do as an artist. I wanted to be more in tune with what I wanted to sing and perform. The people at charge [at America Idol] would assume or help me create a certain image. But I’m very specific about what I wanted. It was important to me to be versatile as an artist. I think with my debut album I’ve accomplished that,” he told ArjanWrites.com.
Jermaine Jones – Season 11
Jermaine Jones made it to the Top 12 on season 11, but he was removed from the show after it was revealed that he had outstanding warrants. He was even confronted about the warrants during a taped segment that aired on the show.
In 2014, he joined a racial discrimination lawsuit against the show.
“I was and continue to be appreciative of the opportunity to perform as a Top 10 contestant during Season 11 of ‘American Idol,’ which was once considered the world’s biggest stage for up-and-coming recording artists. And I wanted to believe that my humiliating public disqualification in March 2012 was just part of the show and an experience that could be internalized and ultimately forgotten. But I realize now, with the support of my family and friends, that Equal Rights under the law (or in this case, under contest rules) is something we must always strive for and never take for granted,” he told ABC News.
Tiquila Wilson – Season 13
Tiquila Wilson decided to quit the show during Hollywood Week of season 13.
“I just felt like American Idol wasn’t for me,” she said in an interview with the Winston-Salem Journal at the time. “And when I got on that stage, it was totally different. … 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.”
Nick Merico – Season 17
Nick Merico made it to the Hollywood round on season 17, but he decided to quit the show for personal reasons.
“Unfortunately, something happened with my family that I can’t really disclose that forced me to back out of the competition,” he told The Colt Bolok Show.
Nick returned for season 18 and made it to the Top 20. He also appeared in the comeback round on Season 19.
Benson Boone – Season 19
Benson Boone made it to Hollywood Week on Season 19, but he quit the show.
“It was a really hard decision for me to make, but I decided to step down from the competition,” he wrote on Instagram. “I am so grateful to have been part of the show, everyone was amazing, and it was an incredible experience!”
Benson is doing very well now and has experienced a hit with his song “Ghost Town.”
Wyatt Pike – Season 19
Wyatt Pike made it to the Top 16 during season 19, but he mysteriously dropped out of the competition.
“I had to leave the @AmericanIdol competition for personal reasons but am so thankful I get to play music for the rest of my life. Fellow contestants – miss you all, good luck! Thank you to everyone for your support… do stick around for more musical things soon! 💙” he wrote on Instagram.
Caleb Kennedy – Season 19
Caleb Kennedy made it to the Top 5 on season 19, but left the show early after a controversial old video resurfaced.
In the short video that originally appeared in a Snapchat post, Caleb was seated next to someone wearing what appears to be a Ku Klux Klan hood. His family has stated that Caleb was just 12 when the video was taken.
“Hey y’all, this is gonna be a bit of a surprise, but I am no longer gonna be on American Idol. There was a video that surfaced on the internet and it displayed actions that were not meant to be taken in that way,” Caleb shared in a statement on Instagram.
He continued, “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. 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.”
In February 2022, Caleb was arrested and charged with DUI for a fatal car crash.
Kenedi Anderson – Season 20
Kenedi Anderson made it to the Top 24 on season 20, but she dropped out after taping her performance for that round.
She wrote on Instagram, “For personal reasons, I’m unable to continue on American Idol. This has been one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make, but I know it’s necessary. I’m so grateful to American Idol, the judges, the producers, the amazing contestants, and all the fans who have supported me. Thank you for giving me such an amazing opportunity to share my voice, chase my dreams, feel so much joy and happiness doing what I love, and make lifelong friends along the way.
Sara Beth Liebe – Season 21
Sara Beth confessed to the cameras that she hadn’t realized “quite how hard it would be” to be away from her kids, and that she felt mom-guilt over doing “something completely selfish.”
Following her performance for the judges, who were wowed by it, she then revealed she’d be leaving.
“This opportunity is really rad but this is actually gonna be my last performance ’cause my heart’s at home,” she told them, who were all in disbelief. “So I’m gonna get home to my babies, they kind of need me. So thank you, thanks.”
Katy tried to get her to stay, but was unsuccessful.
Kaya Stewart – Season 21
Kaya Stewart, who is the daughter of the Eurythmics’ Dave Stewart, dropped out during the duet round.
When they got on stage, Kaya told the judges that she’s been sick this week. She said, “During this performance, I got to work with Fire, which was such a great experience… She’s so talented and so incredible, and we bonded so much. But I realized that I wasn’t able to give 100 percent, so I’ve decided to not perform.”
She added, “Yes. Me not performing today means I’m no longer going to be in the competition.”
Fire then performed with a random volunteer. Watch above!