Young Mother Who Accused Katy Perry of 'Mom Shaming' Shocks 'American Idol' Judges with Announcement


Young mother Sara Beth Liebe has quit this season’s “American Idol” Sunday following comments from judge Katy Perry that she called “not super kind,” though she didn’t blame Perry’s comments for her decision.

“This opportunity is really rad, but this is actually going to be my last performance, because my heart’s at home,” Liebe told the judges, according to Yahoo Entertainment. “So, I’m going get home to my babies. They kind of need me.”

“I feel like I’m not gonna win the show anyway, so I might as well go home,” she added to a producer backstage, whom Yahoo said appeared to be trying to change Liebe’s mind.

“What just happened? She’s gonna leave? What just happened?” judge Lionel Richie said after Liebe’s announcement.

Perry tried, in her typical ham-handed fashion, to talk her into staying.

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“I know life is scary,” she said. “I also know that it’s easier to walk away than to be rejected. But then I also know that you lose out on your fullest potential. I know you love your family, your kids; I know that as a mother. But self-love is just as big as motherly love. Don’t leave the competition.”

“I’m really humbled and grateful, and Katy had some really nice things to say. It would be nice if my kids were a little older. I understand how big of an opportunity this is,” Liebe said as she left the stage. “But I still kind of want to get home. I am sure when I get home, I will regret it and be like, ‘Man, you should have stayed.’”

During the March 5 episode of the show, after Liebe revealed during the auditions that she was a 25-year-old mother of three who married young, Perry engaged in gratuitous mom-shaming throughout the segment — joking that Liebe needed to be having less sex, telling her “there’s a lot of dreams behind you” and saying her first performance was “not enough.”

In a video released on TikTok in the days following the audition, Liebe called the comments “hurtful” but thanked the young moms who supported her and said “women supporting and uplifting other women is so cool” — subtly putting Perry in her place.

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Liebe had been one of the spotlighted hopefuls in the first round, which is usually a time we get to see a lot of heartfelt personal stories and train-wreck auditions that serve as fodder for the judges.

The problems with Liebe’s audition began when judge Richie said he didn’t believe the youthful Liebe was 25, which prompted her to say she already had three children. At that point, Perry got up from the table and mock-fainted.

“If Katy lays down on the table, I think I’m going to pass out,” Liebe said, laughing.

“Honey, you been layin’ on the table too much,” Perry responded.

Yeah, well, it turns out that Liebe had her children while married. Perry — a mother who sings not infrequently about the joys of promiscuous, hassle-free sex — was unmarried when she had her child.

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After questioning whether singing was “your dream” and saying “there’s a lot of dreams behind you,” Perry said Liebe’s rendition of Amy Winehouse’s “You Know I’m No Good” was “not enough” and demanded she sing Elton John’s “Bennie and the Jets.”

Perry then passed her through to the next round — saying, “I mean, yeah, I guess, why not?” when it came to her turn to vote.

In a clip put out a few days after the incident — which Liebe admitted was “an interesting video to be filming” — the mother of three described the emotions she’d experienced after becoming a viral flashpoint.

“While I was on the show, there was a joke that was made that got a lot of attention,” she said, saying the attempt at humor “wasn’t super kind.”

“I don’t have too much to say on my feelings about it because it’s probably pretty self-explanatory,” the young mom said. “I mean, it was embarrassing to have that on TV. And it was hurtful and, you know, that’s that.”

“I did want to take this opportunity to say that I think that women supporting and uplifting other women is so cool and I think that mom-shaming is super lame,” she said. “And I think that it’s hard enough to be a mom and it’s hard enough to be a woman. And I also wanted to take this opportunity to say that I see all of the young moms and just moms in general who have commented on all of the videos and posts.

She also had advice for those mothers.

“Keep loving your babies. Nobody deserves to feel crappy about that. … I think if you’re a good mama and you love your babies that’s all that really matters, and other comments don’t feel necessary,” Liebe said.

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George Upper is the former Editor-in-Chief of The Western Journal and was a weekly co-host of "WJ Live," powered by The Western Journal. He is currently a contributing editor in the areas of faith, politics and culture. A former U.S. Army special operator, teacher and consultant, he is a lifetime member of the NRA and an active volunteer leader in his church. Born in Foxborough, Massachusetts, he has lived most of his life in central North Carolina.
George Upper, is the former editor-in-chief of The Western Journal and is now a contributing editor in the areas of faith, politics and culture. He currently serves as the connections pastor at Awestruck Church in Greensboro, North Carolina. He is a former U.S. Army special operator, teacher, manager and consultant. Born in Massachusetts, he graduated from Foxborough High School before joining the Army and spending most of the next three years at Fort Bragg. He holds bachelor's and master's degrees in English as well as a Master's in Business Administration, all from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He and his wife life only a short drive from his three children, their spouses and his grandchildren. He is a lifetime member of the NRA and in his spare time he shoots, reads a lot of Lawrence Block and John D. MacDonald, and watches Bruce Campbell movies. He is a fan of individual freedom, Tommy Bahama, fine-point G-2 pens and the Oxford comma.
Foxborough, Massachusetts
Beta Gamma Sigma
B.A., English, UNCG; M.A., English, UNCG; MBA, UNCG
North Carolina
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Faith, Business, Leadership and Management, Military, Politics