Shocking 'American Idol' Exit! Kaya Stewart Quits Moments Before Duet
She’s out. Kaya Stewart quit American Idol abruptly on Monday, April 3.
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The 23-year-old singer, who is the daughter of Eurythmics singer Dave Stewart, got sick during the ABC show’s Hollywood Week. She was paired with Fire Wilmore to sing Adam Lambert‘s “Whataya Want From Me,” but their rehearsal day took a turn for the worse.
“Everything originally was amazing when Kaya and I were rehearsing this morning and kind of just going through things and figuring out our plan,” Wilmore, 22, revealed during the episode. “Then, throughout the day, she just kind of started getting sicker and sicker and she started to get a fever. She couldn’t remember the words or anything. It was less and less progress, we were going in the opposite direction.”
Kaya explained that she couldn’t meet her own performance standards. “I always want to give my best, and I’m not giving my best here,” the singer said. “And I don’t think it’s a fair representation of myself to do that — or for Fire either. I don’t think it’s fair on her to not give one hundred percent when she’s giving one hundred percent.”
As show time drew closer, Kaya hinted that she might not make it through the performance. “Of course I wanted to continue in the show, but I needed to take a break today,” she explained. “I mean, it’s definitely not an easy decision.”
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As she and Wilmore took the stage to perform for judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie, Kaya revealed she was quitting American Idol.
“I have a little announcement to make,” she said. “I got sick at the beginning of Hollywood week and I have been trying to push myself and keep going. And during this performance, I got to work with Fire and it 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 one hundred percent so I’ve decided to not perform. But Fire is going to perform and I’m really grateful that I got to be here. Thank you guys.”
Perry, 38, asked, “Does that mean that you’ve decided to leave the competition?”
Kaya confirmed, “Yeah, so me not performing today means I’m no longer going to be in the competition.” She was overcome with emotion and started crying before quickly exiting. “I have to leave. I’m sorry, I’m really sorry,” she said.
Wilmore tearfully performed the duet with volunteer Jayna Elise. Wilmore’s struggle to finish the song left both Perry and Richie, 73, in tears.
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American Idol’s latest surprise exit came one night after Sara Beth Liebe quit the show. The 25-year-old, who accused Perry of mom-shaming, announced that she was leaving on the Sunday, April 2, episode of the competition series.
“I don’t think I realized quite how hard it would be to be away from my kids. They’re all still really young. I feel like I’m gonna try my best ’cause I’m here and so that’s what I should do,” Liebe, who is a mother of three, told mentor Clay Aiken. “There’s a lot of guilt that comes when you leave your kids to do something completely selfish. I’m just gonna try to keep my head on straight.”
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After her “Roxanne” performance, she told the judges she made up her mind. “This opportunity is really rad, but this is actually gonna be my last performance ’cause my heart’s at home,” she told the panel. “So I’m gonna get home to my babies. They kind of need me. So thank you.”
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