"YOU’RE GOING TO HOLLYWOOD!" Another 16-year-old kid on her way to the big stage. Well, not just any 16-year-old.
On Feb. 14, ABC aired Claudia Conway’s American Idol audition. In her audition, Claudia, daughter of former Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway and anti-Trump lawyer George Conway, explained the difficulties of growing up with parents in constant political disagreement.
Her family’s nationally broadcast drama over the last several years caused Claudia a lot of stressful chaos in her life and arguably made her grow up too quickly. She has many fans on the left because she is progressive herself and often fights with her mother, one of the most hated Trump officials during his tenure. Because of this, lefty American Idol judge Katy Perry immediately recognized Claudia as she entered the room and asked her, “Are you okay?”
The edits of the segment clearly showed the disconnect between the family, especially Claudia and her mother, Kellyanne. Producers included a clip where Claudia said she "very much" disagreed with her mom politically and that their relationship is a little "iffy."
Perry even asked, “With your mom being the figure that she is, do you still – like, does she still hug you?” (Yes, Claudia confirmed, they still love each other.) Perry, who also has political disagreements with family she loves and has been attacked for not disowning them, should have known better.
The show painted Kellyanne in a negative light when compared to George both politically and as the lesser parental figure, too. Claudia's mom was the parent who had to video call into the audition when Claudia's dad was physically there, fist bumping the young singer along.
The Twitter mob also came to attack Kellyanne after the video aired. Newsweek columnist Seth Abramson despised seeing her on the segment:
Kellyanne Conway enabled a monster for years—and in doing so almost caused the collapse of our democracy. She doesn't get to whitewash her complicity in that treachery against America by appearing on American Idol with a daughter who's accused her of abuse.— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) February 15, 2021
RETWEET if you agree. https://t.co/JcmKxBmeLp
And another user, NYC stand up comedian Noel Casler, used the old trick of blaming Obama-era policies on Trump and Kellyanne:
Do any of those kids that Kellyanne Conway helped lock up in cages get a chance to be on ‘American Idol’?— NoelCaslerComedy (@CaslerNoel) February 15, 2021
The show highlighted that Claudia had the experiences of a regular kid stripped away from her due to her high-profile family. Perry recognized that Claudia had a “sadness there” and that there was a lot of “noise” surrounding her life and suggested that Conway needs to “calm the storm that is around [her]” and “push it aside.” Perry added, “If not, you may not ever rise above your dad or your mom.”
It’s a shame that Claudia has had to grow up so quickly and with so much publicity, but it’s hard to believe American Idol would help her situation. While the show typically aims to offer small town singers the fame they deserve, Conway's audition seems to indicate that the show wants to do the opposite for her. The show judges imply that her opportunity on American Idol will be able to give her a childhood back ... as they'd put it, the childhood she missed because of her mom. But everyone knows teens in Hollywood often lose their innocence even more when they are blasted as pop stars.
It appears that American Idol is exploiting Claudia and her family’s notoriety. After all, she was only singing for roughly 20% of the video … the rest of the time was spent telling her story. While she has a compelling story like every other featured contestant, the difference is that she doesn’t have an inspirational story of an obstacle she has overcome, this instead is a battle she’s still fighting and this next step towards fame will likely not help.
As Perry said in the audition, “Claudia, you’re not going to DC, honey, you’re going straight to Hollywood.” Let’s just hope these judges and this show support this young girl, because right now, that’s exactly what she needs most.