When Danica Steakley didn’t make it through to Hollywood following her audition on American Idol, her father, dubbed ‘Lieutenant Dan’ by Luke Bryan, made it clear he was not happy with the judges’ decision.
The U.S. Navy veteran walked out of the room without saying goodbye to the judges, offering nothing but a curt “Bye!” to Seacrest on the other side of the doors. When Seacrest tried to find out what happened, Steakley mocked the judges, saying, “Well, I just think you just need some more time… We need some more time, timing, da-da-da-da-da. Why didn’t they just say no right away?”
As he walked away, Dan exclaimed, “Next time… we’ll have her audition for ‘The Voice'”.
Danica Was Embarrassed by Her Father’s Behavior
It’s clear that Danica wasn’t too happy with the way her father behaved. Still, she took the judge’s words in a stride.
Speaking to the cameras, she shared, “I mean, I’m disappointed, but as a singer, you have to take criticism well, and I understand that.”
That being said, the judges’ did have some positive things to say. Katy Perry, in fact, voted Danica through, stating she thought the teen would learn quickly. Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan, however, voted against Danica advancing but urged her to return to the show when she was just a little bit older.
What did viewers think of the exchange?
One person commented on the Youtube video that it was “incredibly uncomfortable” to watch, while another said, “If I were one of the judges I would request the dad to get out and let her sing another song. She has the potential.”
A third wrote, “You can tell she wanted to sing something else but her father gots her by the finger choosing her every move.”
Idol Faces Backlash
Most recently, American Idol has faced backlash after airing Claudia Conway’s audition.
According to Page Six, ABC is “in crisis mode” after Conway’s appearance on American Idol.
After months of documenting her strained relationship with her mother, former White House adviser Kellyanne Conway, on TikTok, fans and viewers at home have argued that Conway’s appearance on Idol was “exploitative”.
In the words of Page Six, “Critics have claimed the show is using the Conways’ strife to boost ratings, while a Variety article likened the appearance to ‘malpractice’ and says what is ‘jarringly wrong about this is the degree to which a child at the center of a dispute that has bled into public view is being asked to launder the reputations of two adults [Kellyanne and her controversial politico husband, George] who should know better.'”
For her audition, Claudia sang songs by both Rihanna and Adele. She was able to successfully advance to the next round.
An insider told the outlet that ABC is now “rethinking how they are going to position Claudia and Kellyanne with promotion.” As a previous Heavy article outlined, “One reason for the more careful approach on what to do next may be because of the recent backlash ABC has received when it comes to the Bachelor franchise and racism allegations.”
American Idol airs Sundays on ABC at 8pm ET/PT.