Viral TikToker Claudia Conway appears on “American Idol,” viewers accuse show of exploitation

Claudia Conway, viral TikTok sensation and daughter of high-profile political figures Kellyanne and George Conway, surprised fans when she appeared on last week’s episode of ABC’s “American Idol.”

Conway has spent the last four years living in Washington, D.C. as her mother filled an advisor role for President Donald Trump. Known for her ultra-liberal views and anti-Trump TikTok videos, “Idol” is an opportunity for her to put any family controversy behind her and focus on creating her own path.

After a shaky performance of Rihanna’s “Love on the Brain” followed by a stronger rendition of Adele’s “When We Were Young,” Conway received a coveted golden ticket, sending her to Hollywood for the next stage of competition. Both of the teen’s parents appeared on the program – her father outside the audition room and her mother virtually from D.C.

Viral TikToker Claudia Conway – daughter of politicians Kellyanne and George Conway – appears on season 19 of "American Idol."
Viral TikToker Claudia Conway – daughter of politicians Kellyanne and George Conway – appears on season 19 of "American Idol." Photo credit: Instagram, @americanidol

Under normal circumstances, no one would bat an eye at the audition. But the Conway family drama has now taken center stage.

The teen has repeatedly made allegations that her mother is mentally, emotionally and physically abusive. And in August, Conway reported that she is pursuing emancipation as a result.

When Conway publicly announced her desire for emancipation, both parents made statements about stepping away from their political roles to spend additional time with all four of their children. These actions only intensified the situation as Conway’s TikTok account filled up with more and more videos of her mother’s alleged verbal abuse.

Her appearance on the show has been branded as exploitative by many viewers claiming that “Idol” is using the Conway family drama as tactic to gain viewers. During the era of #FreeBritney, audiences are hyper aware of the entertainment industry’s tendency to take advantage of young, vulnerable women.

A “Variety” article labeled Conway’s appearance as “malpractice” and “rigged.” It goes on to hypothesize that it was a staged attempt by ABC and her parents to take back Conway’s voice on the family’s controversy.

Now, Idol” is reportedly rethinking their choice to highlight the Conway family, and the show is aiming to put more focus back onto the other contestants. Up until now, most promos have featured Conway front and center.

Watch Conway’s ‘Idol’ audition here.