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Claudia & Kellyanne Conway’s return to ‘American Idol’ Sparks Backlash

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Back in February, Claudia Conway’s audition on American Idol season 19 gained a lot of attention. She herself had mixed thoughts on it, but the people in general on social media were outraged at it. They criticized ABC for exploiting an underage girl for her “family drama,” involving her mother and Republican politician Kellyanne Conway. Social media criticized ABC for helping Kellyanne clear up her image in a post-Trump world and after she allegedly abused her daughter Claudia. Now that season 19 has kicked off, ABC and the Conways are facing a backlash, again.

After the premiere of season 19, Page Six wrote how the backlash in February put the showrunners into a frenzy. They wrote that the network is:

… rethinking how they are going to position Claudia and Kellyanne with promotion. They were big on putting Claudia in all of the promos, but now they are thinking of not putting as much focus on that … to not make as big a deal of her being on the show and focus on other contestants.

Claudia Conway makes an appearance on American Idol with her mother, sparks outrage

Claudia & Kellyanne Conway's return to 'American Idol' Sparks Backlash
ABC | YouTube

On Sunday, it seemed like the network were able to downplay Claudia Conway’s part in the show. A lot of the footage related to Claudia in her new Brunette hair with her mentor Bobby Bones were cut out. There were no signs of Claudia in the show until well into the second hour. But she did end up making the cut and got her screentime. And it wasn’t just her, but her mother Kellyanne too who got screentime. She serenaded Claudia as she sang Alicia Keys’ Girl on Fire. This seemed very cringe-worthy for a lot of viewers, who expressed their dismay at this attempt to normalize Kellyanne Conway, despite her polarizing past and abusive behavior towards her daughter. They were also well aware of how ABC is using Claudia’s abusive past and family drama for their own ratings. Here’s what some of them had to say:

As far as Claudia’s performance is concerned, it was positive enough for the hosts to cast their votes in her favor. And that included Ryan Seacrest as well. She handled quite a difficult song convincingly well, but it’s difficult to say if she could have done it without Bobby Bones’s mentoring. Initially, Judge Katy mentioned to Claudia that “It will happen when it’s meant to happen”. But, she ultimately ended up giving a nod to Claudia Conway, letting her progress to the next stage. However, we’re yet to see how far along the show can Claudia Conway progress. You can watch her performance here:

The Conway family saga

The Conways have been a lot in the news recently, especially after news of Donald Trump contracting COVID-19. Then, Claudia Conway leaked some White House secrets, stating how Trump was not doing well after the virus and that her mother also tested positive for COVID-19. Later on, Kellyanna Conway caused a lot of controversies as she allegedly leaked Claudia Conway’s nudes on Twitter accidentally, with multiple allegations of child abuse on Kellyanne. Initially, Claudia said she would make sure her mother goes to jail for this act, thinking she did it deliberately. But, she later admitted that her mother had nothing to do with this, saying:

I shouldn’t have made this all public. Please do me a favor and stop spreading it because it hurts me more than it helps me. This isn’t forced, this is coming completely from me. I have faith and I know that my mother would never put something like that on the internet.

Moreover, in some of the TikTok videos Claudia uploaded, her mother can be seen abusing her with words like “F*ck You,” “B*tch”. Originally, their strained relationship stems from their wildly differing political stances, with Kellyanne Conway being a Republican and a Trump supporter and both her husband and her daughter being liberal Democrats. How much this family politics plays into American Idol for Claudia Conway is something we’re yet to see. What do you think about her progress so far and the role that her abusive past has played in it? Let us know in the comments below.

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