Who dropped out of American Idol? Here's what we know about Beckett McDowell's shock exit

Host Ryan Seacrest revealed that one contestant has left the competition

Beckett McDowell (right) with his father Malcolm McDowell (left) at a premiere
(Image credit: Alamy)

Viewers have been left wondering who dropped out of American Idol, after host Ryan Seacrest revealed one of the Top 26 wouldn't be continuing in the competition.

The Top 26 for season 21 of American Idol have been revealed, meaning next week the contestants will be whittled down to just 20, ginving them another chance to impress the American Idol judges.

But viewers have seen several contestants disappear from the show already - including Sara Liebe and Kaya Stewart, who both decided to drop out. And in a recent episode Ryan Seacrest revealed another mystery person had decided not continue with the competition, leaving viewers trying to work out who dropped out of American Idol.

American Idol has since revealed who's got cut from the show.

Who dropped out of American Idol?

Beckett McDowell - also known as Beckett Rex - dropped out of American Idol. The news came when host Ryan Seacrest announced the Top 26 finalists. He revealed: "Recently, one of the Top 26 decided to bow out of the competition."

However, he didn't give the name of the contestant and fans were left guessing, as Beckett never actually appeared on the current season - possibly due to producers deciding to edit him out after he made the decision to leave the show.

Speculation that Beckett was the missing contestant began when judge Katy Perry shared a group photo of the Top 26, in which Beckett can be seen in the back. He has since confirmed himself that he was the contestant that dropped out.

Beckett McDowell is the third contestant to leave the competition this season, after Sara Beth Liebe also quit to be with her family back home, and Kaya Stewart abandoned the show after she got sick and was unable to perform with her duet partner.

Why did Beckett McDowell quit American Idol?

The reason why Beckett McDowell dropped out of American Idol is unclear, as neither Beckett nor the show have offered any explanation.

He announced on social media that he had quit American Idol despite being in the Top 26, writing on his Instagram story, "To all of you wondering, yes I was on American Idol and I made the Top 26. I’m not going to say why I didn’t decide to continue in the competition but what I will say is that it was my choice. I am forever grateful to my American Idol family and I will always look back at the experience with the utmost gratitude and fondness."

He added, "Please go vote for my friends now as they continue on in the competition."

Alongside the statement, Beckett shared a photo of himself posing with an American Idol golden ticket in front of a beautiful sunset.

Who is Beckett McDowell?

19-year-old singer Beckett Rex is from California, and is the son of actor Malcolm McDowell and his wife, Kelley Kuhr. Malcom McDowell is best known for his role in A Clockwork Orange in 1971.

Malcolm McDowell and Kelley Kuhr have two other sons - Beckett's brothers - Finnian, 16, and Seamus, 14. Malcolm is also the father of adult children Lily McDowell and film director Charlie McDowell, who he shares with ex-wife Mary Steenburgen. Charlie married actress Lily Collins in September 2021, making her Beckett's sister-in-law.

In February, Beckett announced the release of his third single, 'Wildfire,' which he worked on with Canadian singer Pierre Bouvier.

He has reportedly been in a relationship with Launa Fiorello-Taylor since 2021.

Why did Paige come back on American Idol?

Paige Anne returned to American Idol to replace Beckett McDowell. She had been eliminated during final judgment the week before, but wowed the judges with a performance of Miley Cyrus' 'Wrecking Ball'.

When the Top 26 was announced, Ryan Seacrest introduced the return of Paige Anne to the competition. He said: "Recently, one of the Top 26 decided to bow out of the competition, so we turned to the judges’ first alternate and gave her the life-changing news."

Judge Lionel Richie said of Paige's performance, "I mean, to make us feel like maybe we made a mistake. That was absolutely perfecto. You nailed it."

Luke Bryan added, "Every now and then you might just have a little luck in the music business. And when you get that luck then you have to show up and bring the goods. That's exactly what you did."

American idol top 26

  • Iam Tongi
  • Zachariah Smith
  • Warren Peay
  • Nailyah Serenity
  • Matt Wilson
  • Kaeyra
  • Elise Kristine
  • Oliver Steele
  • Emma Busse
  • Haven Madison
  • Lucy Love
  • Mariah Faith
  • PJAE
  • Nutsa
  • Wé Ani
  • Tyson Venegas
  • Michael Williams
  • Colin Stough
  • Paige Anne
  • Olivia Soli
  • Megan Danielle
  • Marybeth Byrd
  • Dawson Wayne
  • Malik Heard
  • Elijah McCormick
  • Hannah Nicolaisen

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Ellie Hutchings
Family News Editor

Ellie is GoodtoKnow’s Family News Editor and covers all the latest trends in the parenting world - from relationship advice and baby names to wellbeing and self-care ideas for busy mums. Ellie is also an NCTJ-qualified journalist and has a distinction in MA Magazine Journalism from Nottingham Trent University and a first-class degree in Journalism from Cardiff University. Previously, Ellie has worked with BBC Good Food, The Big Issue, and the Nottingham Post, as well as freelancing as an arts and entertainment writer alongside her studies. When she’s not got her nose in a book, you’ll probably find Ellie jogging around her local park, indulging in an insta-worthy restaurant, or watching Netflix’s newest true crime documentary.