“No more school for meee hehehe #graduation,” the singer, 18, captioned a carousel of Instagram photos on Monday, June 6, posing in her cap and gown with her diploma in hand.
Anderson celebrated the exciting milestone eight weeks to the day after longtime American Idol host, Ryan Seacrest, announced that she had left the long-running reality series.
“You might have noticed that there was no voting information during Kenedi’s performance just now,” the emcee, 47, revealed during the April 11 episode of the show, in which she sang “Human” by Christina Perri. “Since we taped these shows in Hawaii earlier, Kenedi has decided to withdraw from our show for personal reasons. We send her well wishes.”
The following day, the Virginia native confirmed her departure from the series.
“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,” she wrote in a statement at the time. “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.”
Those friends include her fellow American Idol costar Emyrson Flora, who commented, “awe congrats babe❤️.”
Anderson was the favorite to win the competition from the get-go. During her audition, in which she sang Lady Gaga’s “Applause” — and accompanied herself on piano — judge Luke Bryan declared that she “might be the biggest star we’ve ever seen.” Lionel Richie said the teen “answered all of our prayers,” while Katy Perry joked about her jealousy and told the hopeful she was “born to be a star.” The judges then gave her the platinum ticket to Hollywood. She performed in three more episodes before calling it quits.
On April 13, just two days after Seacrest announced her exit from the series, fans were surprised to see the former reality star share a snippet of “a song I wrote not too long ago” via TikTok.
“I need to find, need to find something better than what I had, and with no strings attached,” she sang in the video, which has since been deleted. “Don’t I deserve that? Something with no strings attached.”
Following her departure, a production source exclusively told Us Weekly that the show was “disappointed to see Kenedi leave,” which the AI judges later emphasized.
“These kids, they got a lot coming at ’em,” Bryan, 45, told USA Today in April about the pressures the contestants face. “I think, potentially for [Anderson’s] career, her being a part of our family is as good as the route or the way to the top can be. But, if you’re having doubts and anxieties and other things … we’re heartbroken as a show because she was so dynamic and great.”
Ultimately, 20-year-old country singer Noah Thompson was crowned the winner of Idol season 20 last month.
Keep scrolling to see Anderson’s pictures from her high school graduation: