Going Down A Path Leading Nowhere: Former American Idol Teen Star Caleb Kennedy Charged With DUI Felony

Talk about a bright future that turned dark really quickly.

Former ‘American Idol’ alum Caleb Kennedy has again found himself in the middle of another scandal that has nothing to do with his voice. After crashing his 2011 Ford pickup truck into a building and eventually killing a 54-year-old man, the 17-year-old was arrested Tuesday morning on a felony DUI charge, according to Insider reports.

Kennedy first became a household name during Season 19 of ‘American Idol’ last year. He dazzled the judges and fans worldwide with his abilities to write and perform his own original music.


In fact, Kennedy did so well that he would go on to be named one of five finalists and in March 2021, Kennedy’s song “Nowhere” was #4 on the iTunes music chart.

Things were looking up for the then 16-year-old Roebuck, South Carolina-born artist until he unexpectedly dropped out of the competition. On May 12, 2021, Kennedy announced that he would no longer be on the show, pointing to a Snapchat video that surfaced of him as the reason for his sudden departure. The video showed Kennedy sitting next to someone wearing a white Ku Klux Klan hood.

In a post uploaded to his Instagram account, Kennedy apologized and stated that he was “Going to take a break from social media and better himself.” Kennedy’s mother and manager, Anita Guy, pleaded her son’s case to the world, claiming that the video was from four years prior when he was just 12 years of age and that the video was referencing a movie and not the Ku Klux Klan.

 “Caleb doesn’t have a racist bone in his body. He loves everyone and has friends of all races,” she said in a statement given to the Spartanburg Herald-Journal. 

Like most controversial situations, fans were split on how they should think about Kennedy and the situation. While some contemplated their stance, ‘American Idol’ representatives swiftly removed him from all of their official communication and social media posts.

After the controversy that took place last year, Kennedy’s name and fame took a huge hit. He was virtually out of the public’s eye until his arrest on Tuesday.

Kennedy was denied Wednesday morning who according to The State, could face up to 25 years if convicted for the death of Larry Duane Parris.

Kennedy’s initial trial date is set for April 14th, 2022.