A young American Idol contestant who was unexpectedly given his first kiss by new judge Katy Perry has spoken about the incident, saying that the whole deal made him feel pretty uncomfortable.
Benjamin Glaze, then a 19-year-old singer and cashier from Oklahoma, faced the judging panel on a recent episode of the rebooted singing competition. Introducing himself, he revealed that he’d never actually kissed a girl – a fact Perry decided to rectify.
She asked Glaze to step up to the panel before the audition and asked if he’d kiss her on the cheek. He obliged. She asked again. Again, he leaned in for a peck. At the last second, she turned her head and kissed him on the lips, stunning the bloke.
Speaking to The New York Times months after the incident, but only days after it aired on the season’s debut, Glaze said “I was a tad bit uncomfortable” with the kiss, as “I wanted to save it for my first relationship.”
Describing his conservative upbringing, Glaze said he would have refused to kiss Katy on the lips if he had the chance.
“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,” Glaze said. “I wanted my first kiss to be special.”
While he said he didn’t view the incident as sexual harassment, his mates back home agreed that it wasn’t exactly consensual, and that it “didn’t really count” as a proper first kiss.
“It was lip contact versus a romantic situation with someone you care about,” Glaze said. “That’s what a real first kiss is.”
Although Glaze didn’t pass the audition, the clip has been used extensively as promotional material. The YouTube clip has been viewed over 1.2 million times alone.
Glaze said the clip had drawn more attention to his music, adding he was kind of appreciative of the gesture.
Viewers have questioned if the kiss would have been viewed differently if a male judge had kissed a female contestant.
It was assumed #BenjaminGlaze liked it because it was #KatyPerry who planted the kiss. What if this young man had religious reasons for why he had abstained? What if it had been a young woman & either of the other panelists had landed the unexpected kiss? Hypocrites! pic.twitter.com/Y9EVJoHWLw
— Harley Lover 2017 (@HarleyLover2017) March 13, 2018
Katy, what you did to #Benjaminglaze is not ok. Imagine if the gender roles were reversed and an older man kissed a girl on tv who said she had never been kissed. Women don’t get a free pass in the #metoo movement. #AmericanIdol should kick you off.
— Charlie D (@charliedimster) March 14, 2018
Katy Perry has not responded to suggestions on social media that her kiss constituted harassment, but she did annotate the moment with a GIF.
— KATY PERRY (@katyperry) March 12, 2018
American Idol is now rolling on with its sixteenth season.Source: The New York Times
Image: American Idol / ABC