Claudia Conway, the daughter of former Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway, made it through to Hollywood following her singing debut on American Idol on Sunday.
The 16-year-old was voted through to the next round by judges Katy Perry and Lionel Richie, but failed to convince Luke Bryant with her rendition of Adele’s When We Were Young, who told her he believed she had ‘limited’ range.
Her father George Conway, the founder of the Lincoln Project, accompanied Claudia for her audition and was reduced to tears upon founding out she’d advanced to the next round.
The teen first opted to sing Love On The Brain by Rihanna, but was asked to change tracks by the judges, with Perry criticizing her for failing to tap into the emotions of the song.
‘If you sing like you want to read the comments afterwards, you’re only going to be a TikTok star,’ the Firework singer told her.
Claudia shot to fame on TikTok over the last year, amassing over 1.7 million followers as she regularly blasted her parents’ political beliefs and got into heated fights with her mom.
Last month, police in New Jersey launched an investigation after Claudia accused her mom of posting a topless photo of her on Twitter before she later backtracked saying Kellyanne wasn’t to blame.
Claudia Conway, the daughter of former Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway, made her singing debut during an appearance on American Idol on Sunday night
Claudia was accompanied by her father George Conway, who founded the anti-Trump Lincoln Project
The 16-year-old was voted through to the next round by judges Katy Perry and Lionel Richie, but failed to convince Luke Bryant with her rendition of Adele ‘s When We Were Young, who told her he believed she had ‘limited’ range
During her eagerly anticipated appearance on Sunday night, Claudia described her relationship with her mother as ‘iffy’ and characterized the internet as being a ‘dark place’.
‘I’m Claudia Conway. I’m 16. ‘My mother is Kellyanne Conway. She worked for Donald Trump. And my dad is George Conway. He’s a lawyer he worked against Donald Trump’
‘I had to move to DC when I was 12 and I hated it,’ she continued. ‘When your mom is working for the President of the United States who you very much disagree with, it’s hard.’
The TikTok star explained how it was ‘hard’ growing up with her mom working for Trump and said her ‘feelings had been suppressed’ before she joined social media and started posting about her own views.
‘Most of my life, my feelings had been suppressed so then I got social media and I was like, ‘Well, yeah. Now my voice is being heard,” she said.
Perry then asked her if Kellyanne ‘still hugs’ her after all their public drama, to which Claudia replied: ‘Yes but our relationship is iffy.’
‘She loves me. I love her,’ Claudia said. ‘I feel like our relationship’s a little iffy.’
Claudia added that she now ‘want[s] to get out of the controversy’ and focus on her singing.
‘The internet can be a very, very dark place,’ she said. ‘But when life is all going downhill, I have my music. Now, I kinda want to get out of the controversy, get out of the drama and let people know that I am a singer and this is what I want to do.’
Claudia has repeatedly hit out at her mom’s conservative views and support of Trump
Claudia began her audition with a rendition of Rihanna’s Love on the Brain but was interrupted by Perry after a rocky start.
‘OK, that song, you lost it,’ the judge said, before urging Conway to take off her sparkly high heels, which the teen said were tripping her up.
Claudia was then handed the chance to redeem herself, opting to perform Adele’s When We Were Young instead.
Before she started again, Perry gave an emotional pep talk.
‘When you sing this next song, think about when you were young, and go back to that time,’ Perry said. ‘There’s a sadness there. It’s like, you lost your youth, because you weren’t able to experience it on your own, without all of this noise.’
Perry continued: ‘Your dad’s your dad. Your mom’s your mom. Who is Claudia? You have to calm the storm that is around you, ’cause if you sing like you want to read the social media comments afterwards, you’re only ever gonna be a TikTok star. We want an American Idol.’
While Claudia gathered her thoughts for a few moments, dad George listened on from outside.
‘I couldn’t imagine anything that would make her happier than to do this,’ George said, wiping tears from his eyes.
Back in the audition room, after her performance ended, Luke Bryant said that clearly Claudia had ‘been through a lot as a young girl’.
But while the country star credited her for ‘selling the emotions’ of the song, he said he believed she was limited in her vocal ranger and opted against sending her through to Hollywood.
Perry, however, said she was willing to invest in Claudia, leading the deciding vote down to Richie.
‘I think what you’re doing right now is stepping forward and announcing who you are,’ he said. ‘You chose music. I’m gonna give you a shot at music. It’s a yes for me.’
Kellyanne has previously said she supports her daughter’s music career and saying she is ‘proud’ of her for ‘sharing her beautiful voice’
Prior to her performance, Claudia shared a moment with Kellyanne, who appeared on the showremotely via video call.
When her daughter admitted to feeling nervous, Kellyanne replied, ‘You should be nervous, honey.’
‘It’s a very humbling experience,’ Kellyanne continued. ‘But remember, honey, winners are people who are willing to lose.’
During her Sunday night appearance, Claudia opened up to the judges, telling them how social media – and singing – had help her ensure her voice was heard, after being ‘suppressed’ for most of her life
Earlier Sunday, Claudia also shared home video footage to Twitter, showing her performing at just six-years-old.
‘AMERICAN IDOL PREMIERE IN THIRTY MINUTES. you DON’T want to miss it. here’s me at 6 years old. Yeah,’ she tweeted.
In the clip, Claudia is seen singing a rendition of ‘Let it Snow’ into a microphone.
In another tweet, Conway said of her audition: ‘i actually am so nervous to watch this bye.’
Kellyanne also teased her daughter’s performance, tweeting ‘#ClaudiaOnIdol’ and sharing a picture of her on the show.
In an earlier post on Saturday, she wrote: ‘[email protected] is BACK tonight with tons of talent, including our daughter!
‘@Claudiamconwayy you are our IDOL.’
Kellyanne has previously said she supports her daughter’s music career and saying she is ‘proud’ of her for ‘sharing her beautiful voice’.
‘Claudia and her siblings are taught to be independent self-starters and free thinkers who dream big and aim high. She sets goals and works toward them. Of course, American Idol is next level!’ she told People.
‘We are proud of Claudia for entering the arena and sharing her beautiful voice and inspirational message about mental health with others.’
Prior to her performance, Claudia also shared home video footage to Twitter, showing her performing at just six-years-old
Claudia Conway took to TikTok earlier this week to say she was ‘not happy’ with her American Idol audition
Claudia first announced she would appear on the show back in November in a video on her TikTok account.
She took to the video sharing platform again on Saturday to share with her followers that she wasn’t happy with how her audition went because she felt ‘nervous and sick’ at the time.
‘Disclaimer that I am not happy w my idol audition,’ she wrote on Friday against a red backdrop and the song Stupid Horse by musical duo 100 gecs on repeat. ‘I was so nervous and sick so I’m just giving everyone a little heads up ok.’
Claudia has made frequent headlines over the last year, repeatedly hitting out at her mother on social media over her politics and support of former President Donald Trump.
Kellyanne was a close adviser to Trump and his third campaign manager during the 2016 race for the White House, helping him beat Hillary Clinton.
Meanwhile, George is vocally anti-Trump as a co-founder of the Lincoln Project, an anti-Trump Republican group which sought to stop him getting re-elected.
In January, police in New Jersey launched an investigation into a topless photo of Claudia that was posted to the former Trump aide’s Twitter. Pictured police at the Conway home
Kellyanne left the White House in August after months of public feuds with Claudia shared which the teen chronicled on her TikTok.
In one video, Claudia threatened to seek legal emancipation saying her mother’s job had ‘ruined her life’.
In January, police in New Jersey launched an investigation into a topless photo of Claudia that was posted to the former Trump aide’s Twitter.
Claudia had accused her mother of leaking the image on Twitter’s newly launched Fleets feature, which deletes posts after 24 hours.
The teen later walked back her comments and apologized insisting in videos on TikTok that Kellyanne ‘would never intentionally do that’ and said her account was probably ‘hacked’.