‘Idol’ Contestant Kennedy Reid Claps Back At Haters With Empowering Performance Of The Judds’ ‘Love Can Build A Bridge’

The ‘American Idol’ contestant is reclaiming her power.


Madeleine O’Connell

| Posted on

April 15, 2024


12:04 pm

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Kennedy Reid; Photo by Disney/Eric McCandless

When American Idol host Ryan Seacrest revealed Kennedy Reid had been chosen as a member of the Top 20, the 23-year-old broke down in disbelief. She quickly collected herself and took the stage to deliver The Judds’ “Love Can Build A Bridge,” a song which she dedicated to all the “haters” who have boasted nothing but negativity towards her. 

Opening Up About The Hurtful Comments Tied To Her Her Audition

Before taking the stage in front of Idol Judges Lionel Richie, Luke Bryan and Katy Perry, Reid got candid about all the hurtful comments she received online following her audition. She revealed that many questioned her age and made judgments about her appearance. 

Kennedy Reid; Photo by Disney/Eric McCandless
Kennedy Reid; Photo by Disney/Eric McCandless

“After my audition aired, of course I was on cloud nine, and then that night I made the mistake of reading the comments,” she explained. “Most of the negative comments were not really about my singing, but about my appearance. People calling me a 43-year-old woman and commenting on my makeup, my hair. I just wear wigs because I had a bleach fail at home, and that’s the only reason.”

While this left her feeling defeated in the beginning, she went on to assure the viewers that she is not backing down, and instead is ready to reclaim her power.

Reid continued, “Some of these women that are saying this stuff about me, would they want someone to say something like that to their daughter? Words can be so hurtful, but what I’m not going to do is let those people win. So for my performance, I am singing “Love Can Build A Bridge” by The Judds because I want to take my power back. I’m not going to give up on my dream because somebody doesn’t like my wig. Period.”

Pouring Those Hurtful Feelings Into Her Performance

That empowering perspective certainly came through in her-onstage performance. While donning a long, hot pink gown with a slicked-back hairstyle, Reid poured her all into the soulful tune. At one point that confidence reached an all-new high as she stepped away from the mic stand and belted out all her built-up emotions through a string of notes that held such intensity.

Much like the cheering audience, the judges appeared to be in awe of what they were hearing as they offered her a standing ovation at the very end of the performance. 

“I think the wigs went flying,” Perry began. “I’m just so proud of you. I’m so proud of what this show is all about. It’s your metamorphosis moment. Maybe you win this show, maybe you don’t. Who knows? God knows. But you got exactly what you were supposed to get by coming to this show.”

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The Judges Admit They Can Relate To What Reid Is Going Through

Bryan sympathized with Reid’s recent run-in with hate, and explained how he has learned throughout his time in the limelight that having negative things said about you is unfortunately something that comes with the territory. Even though she is new to that world, the “Love You, Miss You, Mean It” singer praised Reid for her resilience. 

“The sad part about putting yourself out here in this world of entertainment is that people do that, and it’s taken all of us years to learn how to shrug that off,” he shared honestly. “You got a dose of that and you’re going to prove everybody wrong the rest of your life.”

Richie, who also has years of experience in the grueling entertainment industry, made sure to offer Reid some words of advice on her road ahead. 

“So Kennedy, first rule of the business, don’t listen to those idiots that don’t understand how hard we’re working out here, okay? Now, what I want you to do is every night you grab that microphone, you walk on that stage, and go, ‘I’m going to show them how good I am’ because all you have is you. Believe in you.”

Kennedy Reid has already made it this far in the competition, but will she make it into the Top 14? Fans can find out tonight, April 16 when American Idol airs on ABC at 8 PM ET/PT.

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Madeleine O’Connell graduated from North Central College with a bachelors degree in Journalism and Broadcast Communications before deciding to pursue her studies further at DePaul University. There, she earned her masters degree in Digital Communication & Media Arts. O’Connell served as a freelance writer for over two years while also interning with the Academy of Country Music, SiriusXM and Circle Media and assisting with Amazon Music’s Country Heat Weekly podcast. In addition to Country Now, she has been published in American Songwriter, Music Mayhem, and Holler.Country. Madeleine O’Connell is a member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.