Sara Beth Liebe’s most recent “American Idol” performance took an unexpected turn.

After performing The Police’s “Roxanne,” Liebe, a 25-year-old singer from California, got an enthusiastic response from the show’s judges and her fellow “Idol” contestants sitting in the audience. Leading up to that moment on the show, Liebe — who outside of karaoke and singing in church choir had no music experience — had been working with her mentor, 2003 “Idol” runner-up Clay Aiken, to nurture her confidence.

And she delivered.

The judges were visibly impressed with Liebe’s performance during the first round of Hollywood week, which aired April 2. But when the applause subsided, Liebe, a mother of three, dropped a bombshell.

“This opportunity is really rad, but this is actually gonna be my last performance,” she told the show’s judges, per Entertainment Weekly. “My heart’s at home, so I’m gonna get home to my babies. They kinda need me.”

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Before the performance, Liebe indicated to producers that she had been struggling with navigating the “Idol” competition while being away from her family.

“I don’t even know what show business is,” she told producers, per The New York Post, adding that she believed she didn’t fit the music industry mold. “I’ve been a mom since I was 18. I’ve been married since I was 18.”

“I don’t think I realized quite how hard it would be to be away from my kids,” she added, according to Entertainment Weekly. “They’re all still really young. ... There’s a lot of guilt that comes when you leave your kids to do something completely selfish. I’m just going to try to keep my head on straight.”

But by the time she finished competing in the first part of Hollywood week, Liebe seemed committed to her decision to drop out of the competition and return home. The judges didn’t let her go without a fight, though.

After revealing that Liebe had earned a spot in the next round of the competition, Perry — who received a lot of criticism for the way she treated Liebe during the audition round — pleaded with the 25-year-old singer to stay on “Idol.”

“Life is scary,” Perry said, according to Deadline. “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.”

Sara Beth Liebe earned a golden ticket during her audition for “American Idol.” | ABC

While Liebe said she appreciated Perry’s words, and admitted that she might regret her decision later on, the singer was adamant that she needed to go home, noting that it might’ve worked out better had her children been a little older.

Liebe elaborated on her decision in a video shared to TikTok shortly after the episode aired. In the video, she noted that she did not seek out an audition for “Idol,” but that she was actually “scouted” and contacted by the show’s producers.

“Sometimes you’re presented big opportunities and situations and we have to make big decisions,” Liebe said in the video, per The New York Post. “And I’m so grateful. I’ve never had this much support with singing. And it’s mindblowing and so humbling and has made me realize how badly I want to do music. Six months ago, I didn’t know that yet. But I’m also allowed to make hard choices that are best for me.

“I took a chance on something big and said yes to a huge and very unexpected opportunity that was presented to me and while it may not have been for me, in the process, found myself again with the most talented people I’ve had the honor of meeting, many of which are now close friends, and fell in love with music again,” she continued.

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Sara Beth Liebe’s audition on ‘American Idol’ 2023

Liebe’s audition for “American Idol” generated a lot of attention — both positive and negative.

For her audition, the singer performed two songs: Amy Winehouse’s “You Know I’m No Good,” and Elton John’s “Bennie and the Jets.” While viewers praised the singer’s energetic personality and unique voice, they had substantial criticism for the show’s judges — particularly Katy Perry, who made what Liebe later called a “hurtful” joke regarding Liebe being a mother of three at the age of 25, the Deseret News previously reported.

“It was embarrassing to have that on TV, and it was hurtful,” Liebe said in a TikTok video she shared after receiving a lot of messages about the audition, per People. “I think that women supporting and uplifting other women is so cool, and I think that mom-shaming is super lame.”

Liebe’s audition has more than 2 million views on YouTube. Although her time on “Idol” is over, Liebe isn’t done with music. The singer recently announced that she would be releasing her original song, “Bruises,” “very soon,” Billboard reported.