Claudia Conway is making her own name for herself, stepping away from the political trouble within her family and into the spotlight as a hopeful singer.
The 16-year-old daughter of anti-Trump lawyer George Conway and Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway walked into the American Idol audition room on Sunday night’s (Feb. 14) episode, much to the surprise of judge Katy Perry.
“Are you OK?” the “Roar” star asked, to which Claudia replied “No, but yes.” The teenager made headlines and went viral on Twitter and TikTok throughout 2020, openly criticizing her parents, and posting about her strained relationship. In August, her mother stepped down from her White House role as senior advisor, noting that she wanted to spend more time with her family. Her father also left the Lincoln Project, a group of anti-Trump Republicans.
“It’s a lot, but I only want to spread love and I love a compromise,” Claudia explained to the judges. “I do agree to disagree with my mom and my dad.”
While George joined Claudia in person for her audition, Kellyanne popped in via video chat to give her daughter a pep talk. “You should be nervous, honey, it’s a very humbling experience,” she told Claudia, who expressed some anxious feelings. “You know how many people like you when you were a little girl until now dream of even having the opportunity to audition for American Idol? This is your time to shine. But remember, honey, winners are people who are willing to lose.”
Claudia continued to explain her relationship with her mother to Perry, who asked if they still “hug” each other. “She loves me. I love her. It’s just, I feel like our relationship’s a little–it’s a little iffy,” Claudia said. “Most of my love, my feelings had been suppressed. So then I got social media, and I was like, ‘Damn, now my voice is being heard.'”
“The Internet can be a very, very dark place, but when life is all going downhill, I have my music,” she continued. “Now, I kind of want to get out of the controversy, get out of the drama, get out of the political whatever and let people know that I am a singer and this is what I want to do. “
“OK, when you sing this next song, think about when you were young. and there’s a sadness there,” Perry encouraged her. “It’s like you lost your youth because you weren’t able to experience it on your own without all of this noise.”
Claudia showed a massive improvement on her second round, which had her dad welling up with tears while listening outside.
“The second song was much better,” judge Lionel Richie told her, “Because you showed where you could actually take coaching, understand it, the fear factor just left you for a minute and some qualities of your voice came through that I was really impressed with. Now, is it going to be challenging for the rest of the contestants we have on the show? I don’t know.”
“There’s a lot of noise in your life,” Perry concluded. “You have to calm the storm that is around you, meaning, before you sing, you need to get off your phone. You need to stop reading your comments, push it aside because if not, you might not ever rise above your dad or your mom. It’s your choice.”
When it came down to the judges’ vote, Luke Bryan gave her a no, but Perry and Richie gave her a yes, sending Claudia into the Hollywood rounds.
See her full audition below.