16 YO Simple Country Boy Sets ‘American Idol’ Stage On Fire— Meet Caleb Kennedy

Caleb-Kennedy-American-IdolABC/Christopher Willard

Small town boy Caleb Kennedy came from Roebuck, South Carolina to perform a life-changing audition on American Idol. The 16-year-old country singer is a high school student by day and impresses all of the judges with his original song. Take a look at the remarkable audition below.

Caleb Kennedy Blows ‘American Idol’ Judges Away

Caleb performs gigs whenever he gets the chance at home. His mother, Anita, books all of his gigs for him as he navigates his young singing career. She appears virtually during the episode along with Caleb’s stepdad to give him a pep talk before his big American Idol audition. “I’m very close with my mom,” Caleb says. “I love my mom very much. She’s believed in me ever since I started.”


“I feel like a lot of people believe in me more than I believe in myself,” Caleb confesses. After his parents divorced, he lost a bit of himself. Writing songs has been one major way for him to cope and find himself again. Coming onto American Idol, Caleb knows it is the chance of a lifetime and his audition did not disappoint.

“I want to be like a legend,” Caleb says. “I want to be somebody who changed country music. I kind of want to be an outlaw too. A little bit of an outlaw.” Viewers at home will definitely fall in love with his humble and funny personality this season. For his audition, Caleb sings an original song called “Nowhere.” Luke Bryan is especially impressed by Caleb’s songwriting skills.

He has only written one verse of the song so far. The judges are determined to push Caleb to write the second verse of the song. “You better finish that song ‘Nowhere,’ because that song is going to take you somewhere,” Katy Perry says.

Is Caleb Going To Hollywood?

Caleb writes music every day and would call himself more of a songwriter than a singer. He candidly reveals to the judges that he lacks self-confidence. Luke makes sure to let him know he is not alone. “You ain’t the only kid out there that’s lacking self-confidence these days. Your voice tells a story far beyond a 16-year-old kid” Luke says.

“You have something real special. You’re a real songwriter but you’ve got a grit and gravel and crack in your voice that says ‘I’m in pain, someone please come save me through this song'” Katy adds. “There’s a lot of people like you and a lot of people want to process whatever the heck they’re going through by listening to your music. If you want to change your reality the power is in your hands right there with that guitar.”

Lionel Richie thinks that Caleb has mastered a “storyteller’s voice.” He too is blown away by how incredible Caleb’s songwriting is. The judges have full confidence in Caleb and want him to start believing in himself.

If you’re loving American Idol this season, make sure you catch up on our weekly recap show.


All three judges have voted to send Caleb to Hollywood so we will be seeing more of this talented teen on American Idol!


Samantha Agate
Samantha Agate

Samantha Agate is a contributor and host for Talent Recap on YouTube with a previous byline at The Blast. She graduated from Hunter College in 2019 with a degree in Media Studies and a Concentration in Journalism. When she isn't binge-watching reality television shows or binge-eating fried food, she loves hanging out with her friends and family and petting puppies.

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