Given the high volume of sexual harassment and sexual abuse cases and lawsuits that have gone public recently, seemingly every exchange two people share can be put under the microscope and examined. Just such a moment went down on ABC's American Idol reboot, when judge Katy Perry gave the unwitting male guest Benjamin Glaze his very first kiss. Glaze later referred to the moment as "uncomfortable," which set off a storm of social media posts slamming Perry for potentially having harassed Glaze with the liplock. But Glaze quickly spoke out against all the negativity. In his words (uncorrected for grammar issues):
I am not complaining about the kiss from Katy Perry at all, doing a few news reports and being interviewed by many different reporters has caused some major questions. The way certain articles are worded is not done by me, and my true intentions are not accurately represented in every article you read about the situation. I am not complaining about the kiss, I am very honored and thankful to have been apart of American Idol. The main purpose for the show is to find stars and new music artist. I do wish I would have performed better in the moment. I should have picked another song to sing and calmed myself down regardless of the kiss. I should have been able to perform under pressure. 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.
Anybody who watched the episode and witnessed Benjamin and Katy's high-profile moment together saw that Benjamin, while obviously shocked and a little embarrassed by the situation, did not appear to be offended or angered. And one assumes if he would have genuinely taken issue with Katy Perry (or anyone else involved), then ABC and the producer team probably wouldn't have added it to the episode's final cut. That would have created its own mini-controversy in and of itself, but it didn't happen.
For his audition, in which he performed Nick Jonas' "Levels," Benjamin Glaze shared that he's an electronics store cashier, which he enjoys because it affords him the opportunity to talk to cute girls. That comment alone would seemingly be worth of a Twitter tirade, if not for the fact that Glaze oozed the innocence of a Leave It to Beaver side plot. And when the judges found out that he hadn't been in a relationship, or even kissed anyone before, Perry called him over and got him to give her cheek a quick peck, which he stumbled his way through. And when Perry asked Blaze to redo it, she surprised him by turning her face and planting a wet one right on his lips. To say he was taken aback would undersell things.
But even though Glaze initially said he he was uncomfortable by the moment happening, the lack of full context had people jumping to presumptions over what he was uncomfortable about. But he laid it all out in an Instagram post after the episode's airing.
While American Idol's return to TV has been less than ideal for ABC in its early weeks as far as viewership and ratings go, Katy Perry has already become one of reality TV's most watchable (and tweet-worthy) celebs. Though as this story shows us, as well as that Idol audition where she flashed her nethers after taking a tumble, there's a verifiable "hot mess" quality to it all.
Speaking of, you can watch Benjamin Glaze's audition below.
With more unpredictable awkwardness to come, American Idol airs Sunday and Monday nights on ABC at 8:00 p.m. ET. For a look at what else we'll be cringing at in the near future, head to our midseason premiere schedule.