Beckett Rex -- who is the son of actor Malcolm McDowell -- shockingly exited Season 21 after making it to the Top 26 and Showstoppers round. While the 19-year-old is seen in a group photo of the Top 26, he was never featured on the show since its premiere. After Ryan Seacrest announced a contestant's decision to "bow out," Beckett revealed he was the mystery contestant, and confirmed his decision to drop out. "To all of you wondering, yes I was on @americanidol and I made the top 26," he wrote on his Instagram Stories. "I'm not going to say why I didn't decide to continue in the competition but what I will say is that it was my choice. I am forever grateful to my American Idol family and I will always look back at the experience with the utmost gratitude and fondness. Please go vote for my friends now as they continue on in the competition."
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Season 21 contestant Kaya Stewart, the daughter of Dave Stewart from the Eurythmics, quit the show during Hollywood Week due to illness, making the announcement ahead of her performance with her duet partner, Fire. As Stewart said it felt like she was "basically like dying," she admitted she was not giving 100% and didn't think performing would be "a fair representation of myself" or would be fair for Fire. "Of course I want to continue on the show, but I needed to take a break today. It's definitely not an easy decision," she added.
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Sara Beth Liebe -- who was a contestant in the current season -- made the shocking decision to leave the competition during Hollywood Week to be home with her kids. "This opportunity is really rad but this is actually going to be my last performance. My heart's at home, so I'm gonna get home to my babies. They kind of need me, so thank you," she said.
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Season 20 contestant Kenedi Anderson shocked fans when she made the decision to leave the competition after making it to the Top 24. Anderson was one of only three contestants to earn the Platinum Ticket, and was considered a frontrunner. She released a statement on Instagram following her exit, citing "personal reasons" as the reason for her withdrawal. "This has been one of the hardest decisions I've ever had to make, but I know it's necessary," Anderson wrote in part.
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Season 19 contestant Caleb Kennedy abruptly exited the show after making it to the Top 5. The then-16-year-old left the competition after a resurfaced video showed him hanging out with a friend who was wearing a white hood similar to the ones worn by the Ku Klux Klan. At the time, Kennedy apologized and said he would be taking a break from social media.
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Wyatt Pike competed in Season 19, and became a Top 16 finalist, before he quit the competition ahead of a live show. He later explained his exit on Instagram, writing, "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!"
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During Season 19 in 2021, contestant Benson Boone made it all the way up to the Top 24, before he left the show. "It was a really hard decision for me to make, but I decided to step down from the competition," he said on Instagram at the time. "I am so grateful to have been part of the show, everyone was amazing, and it was an incredible experience!"
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Nick Merico -- who competed in Season 17 in 2019 -- dropped out of the competition after making it to Hollywood Week. At the time, he told "The Colt Bolok Show" that he exited the show due to an undisclosed family matter. However, Merico came back for the following two seasons, making it to the Top 20 in Season 18.
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Season 13 contestant Tiquila Wilson left the competition during the Hollywood Week round. She told the Winston-Salem Journal that she believed the show "wasn't for me." Wilson added, "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."
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Mario Vazquez competed in Season 4. He initially made it to the Top 12, before he dropped out and was later replaced. Vazquez later spoke to ArjanWrites.com about his decision to quit the show, sharing that "it had a lot to do with artistic reasons."
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Season 4 contestant Marlea Stroman exited the show after the second round of Hollywood Week to go home to be with her sick son. "It wasn't that big [of a cold], but I wasn't there, and when babies are sick, they need their mommies," Stroman told The Post-Standard.