It’s a whole new Claudia Conway during her latest American Idol performance.
The 16-year-old contestant took the stage for the ABC singing competition series’ Sunday, March 21 episode, marking her first performance since auditioning on the Feb. 14 season premiere. The TikTok star’s parents are Kellyanne Conway, who served as senior counselor to former president Donald Trump, and George Conway, an attorney who worked against Trump.
“I’m Claudia Conway, I’m back!” Claudia told the judges as she prepared to sing during Hollywood Week.
She clearly looked much different, as her formerly blonde hair had been dyed black since her audition. This led Katy Perry to exclaim, “I’m sorry, excuse me, what?!”
Claudia laughed and said, “Yes! Little change.” Katy replied, “You mean a transformation.” At that, Claudia agreed and said, “A transformation.”
The contestant then explained to the camera that she was dealing with serious doubts in her initial audition, during which Katy had interrupted her performance of Rihanna‘s “Love on the Brain” and asked her to try a different song. Luckily, Claudia shifted to Adele‘s “When We Were Young,” and it was enough to get her to Hollywood Week.
“I was really, really nervous, and I had these doubts in my head telling me, You’re not ready, you’re not good enough,” Claudia told Idol viewers on March 21. “In my life, I’m so focused on all the noise and people hating on me and my family online, like on social media.
Claudia continued about Katy, “She believed in me, and I could not be more grateful for that. Now I’m just drowning it all out and telling myself that I can do it. I’ve been trying to establish my own identity for a while. You know, most people don’t know that I’m into music. Most people don’t know that I’m a singer, and it is very, very important to me. I’m literally freaking out, but I’m going to keep it cool, you know? But I’m freaking out, I’m all over the place. But I’m cool.”
The teen then performed a rendition of Bishop Briggs‘ “River,” and Kellyanne could be seen watching her daughter from the audience. Claudia’s dad George had been with her for the previous audition.
After the performance, Claudia learned she had made it to the next round, and she seemed to be speechless. Kellyanne was shown clapping and cheering as Katy announced the happy news.
“I am just as shocked as all of you!!” Claudia posted to Instagram after her big moment. “I’m STILL in the competition on @americanidol! I’m back to sing tomorrow to DUET! don’t miss it!!”
Just prior to the episode airing, Kellyanne tweeted, “Tonight! On #AmericanIdol Out talented, beautiful daughter @claudiamconwayy is back on the stage for #HollywoodWeek.” She added, “Congratulations to all performers!”
Watch Claudia sing “River” and get the judges’ feedback in the above video.