Caleb Kennedy was a fan-favourite on “American Idol” but his journey didn’t last long.

Kennedy, 16, made it to the top 5 but had to leave when an offensive video surfaced online of the South Carolina native hanging out with a friend wearing a white hood similar to the ones worn by members of the Ku Klux Klan. His family say he was 12 at the time the video was taken.

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Speaking to his local digital media site GoUpstate, Kennedy said, “You think it’s all going to be fun, and a lot of it is, but it will slap you in the face really quickly. I wasn’t ready for it.

“There’s no way to emotionally prepare for ‘Idol’ because no one is ready for it, no matter how you prepare. But I don’t regret it, and I did love it.”

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Since returning home, he has undertaken a few small gigs.

“On ‘Idol’, that wasn’t me,” he added. “That world is so different. Now that I’m home, I try to be me, but I’m also scared of someone videoing me when I go to Academy or Walmart. You have to worry about things like that now.”