‘American Idol’ Contestant Speaks Out on Unwanted Katy Perry Kiss
ABC’s American Idol reboot may not be attracting the attention it hopes. Viewers are questioning a scene of judge Katy Perry planting a surprise kiss on one of the reality show’s male contestants, and the young singer admits “I was a tad bit uncomfortable” with Perry’s behavior.
The incident in question took place during a filmed October audition, but only aired with Sunday’s ABC premiere. In it, then 19-year-old Oklahoma singer Benjamin Glaze mentioned in conversation with judges Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan that “I have never been in a relationship and I can’t kiss a girl without being in a relationship.” Perry then motioned him over to kiss her on the cheek, but pivoted at the last second to give Glaze his first kiss on the lips. ABC clearly edited the exchange as a lighthearted moment, but a number of viewers have called into question whether Perry acted inappropriately.
As The New York Times reports, Glaze did not liken Perry’s kiss to sexual harassment, but admits to some discomfort with the exchange:
I was a tad bit uncomfortable. I wanted to save it for my first relationship. I wanted it to be special … Would I have done it if she said, ‘Would you kiss me?’ No, I would have said no. I know a lot of guys would be like, ‘Heck yeah!’ But for me, I was raised in a conservative family and I was uncomfortable immediately. I wanted my first kiss to be special.
Perry also tweeted about the kiss, and Glaze expressed gratitude that the added screentime and shout-out would bring attention to his music career (his audition was ultimately rejected). All the same, advocates of the #MeToo movement point out that Perry’s behavior would likely not have been tolerated from a male judge. As Insider also notes, Perry’s habit of flirting with other male contestants has made some viewers uncomfortable.
Neither ABC nor Perry have commented on any criticism of the incident, and the new American Idol will otherwise continue airing on Sundays and Mondays.
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