Sarah Beth Liebe shocked American Idol viewers and the judges when she announced she was exiting the reality competition during the first episode of “Hollywood week.”
The contestant took the stage to perform The Police’s “Roxanne” after being coached by Clay Aiken to boost her confidence on-stage.
“This opportunity is really rad but this is actually going to be my last performance ’cause my heart’s at home, so I’m gonna get home to my babies. They kinda need me,” Liebe said following her performance.
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Liebe then rushed off the stage leaving judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan confused as to what was happening. The judges asked to talk to Liebe and she was brought back on the stage.
“Life is scary,” Perry told Liebe. “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 that you love your family for your kids — I know that as a mother. But remember, self-love is just as big as motherly love. Don’t leave the competition.”
Liebe only said “thank you” and walked off the stage. Backstage, Liebe talked to a producer telling her that she didn’t feel like she was going to win the competition and it was best she go home.
Despite not feeling confident about how long she would get in the competition, the judges were positive about Liebe’s talent and the rest of their group as they pushed them through to the next round.
Perry asked Liebe to stay on the stage and said, “You’ve opened a door you never thought you would open, and you got a yes. You may get another yes in the future. Do not give up.”
However, Liebe’s decision had already been made up and Perry’s words did not sway the singing hopeful to remain in the competition.
“I’m really humbled and grateful and Katy had some really nice things to say,” Liebe said backstage. “If my kids were a little older… I understand how big of an opportunity this is, but I still kinda wanna go home.”
Liebe acknowledged that leaving American Idol might be something she regrets in the future. The former contestant had made headlines days before when the episode of her audition aired on ABC. Liebe went on to say she felt she was mom-shamed by Perry.
When Liebe auditioned, the judges were surprised that she was 25 years old as they said she could pass for 16. However, they were even more shocked when she revealed she had three babies. Perry stood up from her chair and jokingly acted like she was going to fall back on the judge’s table.
“If Katy lays on the table, I think I’m gonna pass out,” Liebe joked.
“Honey, you’ve been laying on the table too much,” Perry quipped.
Liebe then shared her thoughts on her TikTok account that the joke “wasn’t super kind,” also adding, “It was embarrassing to have that on TV and it was hurtful, and that’s that. But I did want to take this opportunity to just say that I think that women supporting and uplifting other women is so cool, and I think that mom shaming is super lame.”
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