Welp. Recruiting Claudia Conway, Tik Tok star and daughter of political operatives Kellyanne and George Conway may backfire on American Idol.
It’s nearly 3 pm on the east coast and “American Idol” is STILL TRENDING ON TWITTER. I can’t think of a time during ABC’s incarnation of the show when that’s happened. ABC casts controversial characters on their reality shows to bring the eyeballs and garner attention. See: former Trump press secretary Sean Spicer shaking his ample butt on Dancing with the Stars two years ago.
But will the casting pay off in the long run? Look through the relevant hashtags, and you’ll find quite a backlash to last night’s show. Claudia is only 16 years old. For the most part, folks are NOT directing criticism at her, but to ABC and her parents for exploiting her.
Controversy followed Claudia’s fall audition
Remember that the auditions were filmed last fall. Claudia was already a controversial presence on social media, known for lashing out at her mother. But despite Claudia’s claim during her video package that she wanted to leave the drama behind her, she certainly has not.
There are two incidents in particular that critics note. Recently, Claudia posted audio and video clips of her mother abusing her verbally. Kellyanne actually said that her daughter is lucky that she’s prolife. Then, even worse, a topless photo of Claudia appeared briefly on Kellyanne’s Twitter Fleets. No one has ever offered an explanation of how that happened.
Claudia is obviously a kid who needs help. Social media and appearances on reality TV shows are likely not it.
There are also folks criticizing the network for rehabbing Kellyanne, who worked for an administration that separated migrant children from their families, on purpose, among other controversial policies.
Honestly, I think the “rehab’ may be a byproduct of what American Idol is really after–a buzzy Tik Tok star who will bring attention to the show.
Claudia insists that she’s not a gimmick
Personally, I hate when shows like DWTS cast controversial political figures. I’d prefer that my fun television viewing and interest in politics not mix. But on the other hand, ABC didn’t cast Kellyanne, they cast her daughter. Claudia insists that she’s not a fluke. “…a lot of people think that my being on american idol is a publicity stunt,” Claudia wrote on Twitter. “but i can promise you it is not. i have been vocally trained and in music for most of my life and did this on my own merit :)”
She also insists that her parents didn’t pressure her to appear on the show.
hi also a lot of people think that my being on american idol is a publicity stunt but i can promise you it is not. i have been vocally trained and in music for most of my life and did this on my own merit :)
— CLAUDIA CONWAY (@claudiamconwayy) February 14, 2021
i’m not at all :) this was a really amazing opportunity and i took it! it’s starting the next chapter of my life: coming into my own and creating a name for MYSELF. i’m claudia; i’m not someone’s daughter or that girl in family “drama”. i’m just claudia
— CLAUDIA CONWAY (@claudiamconwayy) February 14, 2021
The Claudia controversy overshadowed some truly amazing talent
Putting Claudia aside, I actually feel sorry for the talent on last night’s show. Claudia can carry a tune, but she’s not polished or experienced enough to even sing in front of the judges, let alone move on to Hollywood. I wish this kid the best, I really do. But check out our recap of last night’s show. Folks should be fixated on potential stars like Grace Kinstler, Benson Boone and Nia Renee. The premiere featured a great mix of talent, emotional stories and laughs. However, Claudia’s presence is sucking all the air out of the room.
The Blue Checks speak
Meanwhile, check out some of the responses to last night’s show. A Variety OpEd accused American Idol of using Claudia, while former NBC host Soledad O’Brien slammed American Idol for rehabbing Kellyanne.
"With the problem of Claudia Conway’s parents seemingly beyond anyone’s ability to solve for now, television took up the case of redefining her in the public eye, on the new season of #AmericanIdol," writes @DPD_ https://t.co/k1EjJNW5M9
— Variety (@Variety) February 15, 2021
— Soledad O'Brien (@soledadobrien) February 15, 2021
To anyone who ever had any doubt that the Trump people would be quickly rehabilitated, their records whitewashed, in a matter of weeks, not months, or years, #Kellyanne is trending.
Thanks ABC and American Idol. Thanks a lot.
— Mehdi Hasan (@mehdirhasan) February 15, 2021
Now that they’ve helped rehab mendacious behemoths like Kellyanne Conway and Sean Spicer it’s only a matter of time before ABC casts the QAnon shaman as the next Bachelor https://t.co/t3a3QqDqFO
— Matt Negrin, HOST OF HARDBALL AT 7PM ON MSNBC (@MattNegrin) February 15, 2021
Kellyanne Conway not only was a Senior advisor when they ran a kidnapping apparatus of migrant children, she also was there as her boss allowed hundreds of thousands to die because of the pandemic. This is disgusting and y’all should be ashamed of yourselves.
— Erick Fernandez (@ErickFernandez) February 15, 2021
America’s ability to rehabilitate the image of its leaders who lie, mislead, destroy, steal and cheat the public is uncanny. https://t.co/8xFVBNfMjM
— Ayman Mohyeldin (@AymanM) February 15, 2021
i feel like the whole "claudia conway on american idol" arc might be rock bottom for us as a society
— Naomi Fry (@frynaomifry) February 15, 2021
Claudia Conway on American Idol is really gross. I hope we also start to pay more attention to the ad and views-driven exploitation of famous kid influencers. Danielle Cohn (4.6M on Insta) was modeling Fashion Nova bikinis at age 12.
— Kat Tenbarge (@kattenbarge) February 15, 2021
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
American Idol is gross for allowing an abusive creature like Kellyanne Conway to rehab her image on the show, and using Claudia Conway's pain to make a quick buck.
— BrooklynDad_Defiant! (@mmpadellan) February 15, 2021