Casey Carlson, also known as Instagram star Quigley, is speaking out about her "humiliating" experience on American Idol.
On Wednesday, the 10-year anniversary of when she was sent home from the popular signing competition, Carlson, whose married name is Casey Goode, took to Instagram to "finally open up" about her journey on the show, which she said made her step away from performing and question her purpose in life.
Carlson appeared on American Idol in 2009 and sang a rendition of "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" by The Police for her Top 36 performance. The judges at the time – Randy Jackson, Kara DioGuardi, Paula Abdul, and Simon Cowell – eliminated her following her performance.
"I FINALLY OPEN UP ABOUT MY AMERICAN IDOL JOURNEY," the American Idol alum turned Instagram star began. "Exactly ten years ago today I was kicked off of season 8 of American Idol. I was 20 years old… and I was told on national television that my performance was 'ALL WRONG' by the judges. Even Paula couldn't think of a nice thing to say."
"There might have been mention of how I looked 'pretty' or 'cute' but it was clear they thought that I was not a good enough singer or performer to be on the show," she continued. "I was heartbroken and humiliated."
Carlson went on to explain how after being cut from the competition, she returned home to Minnesota "feeling lost and confused and so unsure of what the future held for me." The humiliation, as she explained, caused her to momentarily step back from performing and singing, the star noting that it took years for her to "put myself out there."
It wasn't until she moved to Los Angeles and had a meeting with Larry Rudolph, Britney Spears' manager at the time, and was told that "American Idol would be a FOOTNOTE in my bio" that she finally regained the courage to step back on stage.
"I'll never forget that day," she wrote. ""Until then, I thought I would never be able to be BIGGER than the show. I let the show define me… it was the STAR of my story."
"But on that day, I realized it was MY STORY- and I needed to write myself back into it," she continued. "I put my whole heart into my music. I wrote hundreds of songs in years. I performed in arenas and on stages in front of thousands of people."
Although she put herself out there again, she added that she "still hung onto a lot of pain," including the belief that the "only piece of value I brought to this world was on the 'outside.'" Those emotions led her to step away from music once more, though she soon returned with a newfound passion: an Instagram influencer.
"My purpose has shifted now," she wrote. "I don't need success or fame or a stage to WRITE. My message is and always has been to lead with LOVE and empower women, and now INSTAGRAM is my stage. I couldn't feel more full looking back on how far I've come in ten years."