During an interview on Good Morning Britain, Perez Hilton said he regretted his treatment of Spears, which included literally selling t-shirts wistfully wondering why she hadn’t died instead of Heath Ledger. Hilton also spread rumors about a Spears sex tape, regularly called for her children to be taken away from her, and asked his readers to boycott Spears when her song “Gimme More” went no. 1, claiming that buying her music was “feeding her addictions.”
“I regret a lot or most of what I said about Britney as I’m sure Piers [Morgan] would if he were here about things he’s said in the past,” Hilton said. “Thankfully, hopefully, many of us get older and wiser.”
In reality, Hilton and the other public figures who have apologized to Spears over the last week or so have only gotten wiser at maintaining their public images. Some of them may feel genuine remorse, but it’s impossible to know how they might feel if there weren’t any public pressure forcing them to account for their treatment of Spears, or if it were still trendy to make fun of her.
Claudia Conway auditioned on Sunday night’s season premiere of American Idol and made it through to the next round after singing Adele’s “When We Were Young.” Now that those basic facts are out of the way, we can dwell on how deeply strange and exploitative this whole arrangement feels because it is, I believe, an arrangement.
Sixteen-year-old Claudia Conway has spent the last several months broadcasting her troubling family dynamics, which range from dysfunction to what she identifies as domestic abuse. Her allegations—typically documented in viral TikTok videos—reached a disturbing climax last month, when Claudia believed her mother Kellyanne Conway had posted a topless photo of her to Twitter. Claudia later said she believed her mother had been hacked, maintaining that she would never intentionally do such a thing.
During her Idol audition, which was filmed in November, Claudia hints at some of these strained relationships, but mostly her parents’ appearances on the show are image-repairing. Claudia’s dad George Conway accompanies her to the audition, and Kellyanne Conway appears via video to assure her daughter that it’s normal to be nervous.
For their part, the Idol judges are only too happy to play up the story of Claudia’s difficult relationship with her parents. “There’s a sadness there, because you lost your youth,” Katy Perry said. “Your dad’s your dad, your mom’s your mom. Who is Claudia? You have to calm the storm that is around you.”
The only winners in this scenario are American Idol, a competition show that profits from contestants with sad stories, and Claudia’s parents, who may hope that their daughter’s success helps mend their reputations.
- A Valentine’s Day couple reveal I neglected to include in yesterday’s dirt: Kendall Jenner—arguably the most private of the Kardashian-Jenner clan when it comes to her love life—and basketball player Devin Booker went Instagram official on Sunday, with each posting photos of each other to their Instagram stories. Us first linked the two together in June. [Us Weekly]
- Naturally, Taylor Swift fans see a hidden message in the singer’s new Fearless album cover. Far be it from me to argue! [Page Six]
- Shawn Mendes kissed Camila Cabello’s foot. That’s it, that’s the bullet point. [Instagram]