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The Real Reason Wyatt Pike Left American Idol

"American Idol" Season 19 was unusual compared to previous iterations of the iconic reality competition series, because for the first time, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, aspiring musicians and singers could now take part in virtual live auditions via Zoom technology, though in-person auditions continued as well (via Billboard). One of the contestants who did perform in front of judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan, and Lionel Richie in 2021 was young singer-songwriter Wyatt Pike.

Hailing from Salt Lake City, Utah, Pike was only 19 years old when he auditioned for the show with the acoustic song "Best For You." Afterward, the judges heavily praised the visibly nervous musician's storytelling and unique persona (via YouTube). Bryan even declared, "I want more!" And Pike did make it to the top 16, but he then withdrew from the competition before the results were shown, simply citing personal reasons in an Instagram post announcing his departure.

Considering how positively his music had been received, Pike leaving so suddenly was a shock to "American Idol" viewers. However, with the release of his recent song "Deep Blue," the singer-songwriter opened up about why he decided to depart the series. 

Pike didn't like the stress and pressure of competing on the show

In a February KPCW interview to promote the single "Deep Blue," Wyatt Pike said he left "American Idol" so suddenly because reality singing competitions didn't suit him. He disclosed that "It became too much — the stress and the behind-the-scenes pressure and things that had to happen." He does plan to discuss his feelings about the experience through future music releases, so hopefully, he'll have to more to say about it. 

It's still a much more logical explanation than the rumor that Pike left because he got into a physical altercation with Luke Bryan, causing the "American Idol" judge to miss an April taping of the show. Bryan's wife, Caroline, even had to confirm via social media that her husband couldn't be at the taping because of a COVID-19 diagnosis, not a black eye (via E! News).

Pike still plans to pursue a career in music though, having recently moved to Los Angeles while he collaborates with his fellow former "Idol" contestant and high school friend Peter Hanaman. Ultimately, he wants people to know him outside of his appearance on "American Idol," as he told KPCW. "Obviously there's an understanding of who I am on the show, but that maybe doesn't completely represent who I want to be and who I want to become," Pike shared. "Peter has done a lot of music that has been far poppier and very well produced and it was a little bit outside my comfort zone too."