‘American Idol’ mom chooses family over fame: ‘I’m going home to my babies’

American Idol contestant Sara Beth Liebe, who had faced criticism from judge Katy Perry for being a young mother of three, abruptly quit the competition after earning a standing ovation from all three judges, saying she wanted to go home to her family.

According to media reports, Liebe worked with former “Idol” contestant Clay Aiken, who praised her singing — but worried she was losing her confidence, and advised her to “fake it til you make it.” Still, Liebe worried that she wouldn’t fit in with Hollywood.

“I don’t even really know what show business is, and then I came here and it’s just a little taste of it,” she said. “I’ve been a mom since I was 18. I’ve been married since I was 18. So I don’t feel like I fit the mold. I’m trying to figure this all out. I don’t know.”

Still, she put her nerves aside and gave an incredible performance of “Roxanne,” by The Police, which led to a standing ovation from the judges and her fellow contestants. Yet she still stunned everyone by announcing her decision to leave the competition.

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“This opportunity is really rad, but this is actually going to be my last performance because my heart’s at home,” she said. “So I’m gonna get home to my babies. They kinda need me. Thank you.”

Previously, Perry caused widespread outrage by making comments that people said were meant to shame Liebe for being a young mother. In addition to behavior that was generally referred to as bullying, Perry remarked that Liebe had been “laying on the table too much” — insinuating she’d been having too much sex or had too many children.

Liebe later responded in a TikTok video, saying:

“I think that women supporting and uplifting other women is so cool. And I think that mom-shaming is super lame. 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 and everything. And I just wanted to say that I see you, and I hear you, and I am grateful for you, and you’re worthy.

And keep loving your babies. Nobody deserves to feel crappy about that.”

Yet in Liebe’s Hollywood audition, Perry suddenly turned into Liebe’s biggest advocate, pleading with her to stay.

“No. We’re going to figure this out,” Perry said, adding, “Sarah Beth, I know life is scary. I also know that it’s easier to walk away than to be rejected … Remember that self-love is just as big as motherly love. Don’t leave the competition.”

In a response to the furor over Perry’s crass remarks, Live Action founder and president Lila Rose urged women to remember that women can accomplish anything as mothers, and motherhood is a calling that should not be diminished.

“She has three kids! Three souls! That’s amazing,” Rose said. “I feel like a comment like [Perry’s] could only come from a place of some sort of bitterness, or even envy … it’s OK as a mom to be a mom that’s very dedicated to your kids, at home with them a lot of the time, but then also have dreams, or you’re working outside the house to contribute to the family, to help support your family. It’s OK! With mothers, with womanhood, it’s not one-size-fits-all.”

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