Kellyanne Conway Makes Surprise Cameo During Daughter's Audition on American Idol Premiere
Kellyanne Conway is supporting her daughter this Valentine's Day.
During Sunday's premiere of American Idol, the former senior White House aide made a virtual cameo during her 16-year-old daughter's audition for the fourth season of the ABC singing competition show — and offered some words of advice.
"Claudia! Are you getting ready to go, baby? Are you excited?" Kellyanne asked.
"Yeah, but I'm really nervous," Claudia responded.
"You should be nervous, honey," Kellyanne said. "It's a very humbling experience. Do 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. Remember honey, winners are people that are willing to lose."
In a promo clip shared exclusively with PEOPLE on Friday, Claudia opened up about her upbringing and how music has always been her saving grace.
"I'm Claudia Conway," she said as she introduces herself to judges Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie in the clip. "My mother is Kellyanne Conway. She worked for Donald Trump. And my dad is George Conway. He worked against Donald Trump. It's a lot, but I agree to disagree with my mom and my dad."
"So you probably know me as 15-year-old emancipation girl or that blonde woman from Fox News' daughter," Claudia said in a home video promo clip. "I'm a little more than that."
"When your mom is working for the President of the United States, who you very much disagree with, it's hard," the teen continued.
"Most of my life, my feelings had been suppressed so then I got social media and was like, 'Well, yeah. Now my voice is being heard,'" she admitted to the judges.
"The internet can be a very, very dark place," Claudia concluded. "But when life is all going down hill, I have my music. Now, I 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."
During her audition, judge Perry asked: "With your mom being the figure that she is, do you still, does she still hug you?"
"Yeah, she loves me and I love her," Claudia responded. "I just feel like our relationship, it's a little iffy."
Claudia started her audition with her own take of Rihanna's "Love On The Brain," however, Perry interrupted her quickly and noted that she had "lost the song."
"What other song do you have," asked Perry.
"'When We Were Young' by Adele,' " said Claudia.
"When you sing this next song, think about when you were young," Perry suggested. "Go back to that time. There's a sadness there. You lost your youth because you weren't able to experience it on your own without all this noise. You're dad's your dad, your mom's your mom. Who is Claudia? You have to calm the store that is around you. If you sing like you only want to read the social media comments afterward, you're only going to be a Tik Tok star. We want an American idol."
Though Bryan didn't think Claudia was quite ready to head to Hollywood, Perry and Richie voted to give her a chance.
"We love you so much, sweetheart," Kellyanne said in a video after Claudia broke the good news. "I love you."
Last November, Claudia shared on her popular TikTok account that she was auditioning for the ABC singing competition show.
"Hey, guys! I'm here at American Idol confessional," Claudia said in one video, panning the camera over to the crew, who cheered. "I met Ryan Seacrest today and I have my audition soon, so stay tuned for that."
At the time, Claudia added that she was "very, very nervous, but very excited" to sing for the judges.
In a short video posted last November, Perry gave Claudia a shout-out and said, "Well, well, well, let the games begin because Claudia just tried out for American Idol."
The "Roar" singer, who welcomed her first child, daughter Daisy last August and returned to Idol five weeks after giving birth, then panned the camera over to Claudia, who waved and said, "Hi!"
Claudia's social media activity has been a source of tension for her parents: Mom Kellyanne, a former senior White House aide, and dad George, an attorney, have asked for privacy for their daughter given her age; and some of Claudia's videos have appeared to show conflicts between her and her mom.
Some of the more recent TikTok videos Claudia posted (and then deleted) since her Idol audition have exposed fissures in their family and she previously has talked of emancipation. But Claudia has also reiterated that she is still a teenager and she loves her parents.
"This isn't forced, this is coming completely from me, Claudia. … We fight like mothers and daughters, but we also love like mothers and daughters, and I do love her," Claudia said in one video last month.
Kellyanne and George (a noted "never-Trump" Republican who endorsed Joe Biden for president) both announced they would be stepping back from their respective roles last August.
Kellyanne, who has drawn her own controversies while working with the president, said then that she would be leaving the White House to focus on her family: "For now, and for my beloved children, it will be less drama, more mama."
American Idol airs on Sundays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.
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