American Idol’s new season premiered on March 11 but has left some viewers (and a contestant) with a bad taste in their mouths. Katy Perry’s up-close-and-personal treatment of one young man is raising eyebrows.
19-year-old Oklahoma native Benjamin Glaze was up for his audition, ready to sing either an original song or a pop tune in front judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan.
As he chatted with the judges before his performance, Glaze mentioned that part of the reason he loves his job as a cashier is because of the cute girls.
Luke Bryan then jokingly asked if he kissed a girl and liked it – referencing Katy’s hit song. Much to their surprise, Glaze responded no, and that he would have to be in a relationship in order to kiss a girl. He’s never been in one or been kissed!
Katy beckoned him over to the table for a smooch while the other judges egged it on. You could see the reluctance in his body language as he asked, “On the cheek?” Glaze nervously inched closer to the singer for a quick peck on the cheek.
Unsatisfied, Katy gestured for another and when he leaned in, she tricked him and kissed him on the lips! Awkward.
All the judges high-fived but Glaze was obviously flustered and could hardly compose himself well enough for his audition. He didn’t get a yes for the competition, but the New York Times picked up an interview with him about the kiss.
In it, they quoted him as saying this:
“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.”
Poor guy. Since news of the article came out, Glaze issued a statement through social media to clarify his comments. Among the many things he said, here’s a few words about that moment:
“I am not complaining about the kiss, I am very honored and thankful to have been a part of American Idol. I do not think I was sexually harassed by Katy Perry and I am thankful for the judges comments and critiques. I was uncomfortable in a sense of how I have never been kissed before and was not expecting it.”
Well, even if he wasn’t totally uncomfortable, many viewers were on his behalf. Some even referenced a double standard in light of movements like “#MeToo” and “Time’s Up”.
Others thought it was a funny experience that Glaze will remember the rest of his life, even if he didn’t make the cut for the show.
Check out the entire exchange in this video and see for yourself. Some of you may find it charming and some of you may cringe, but Glaze is in good spirits and says this smooch doesn’t count.