ABC’s reboot of popular singing competition “American Idol” is getting off to a controversial start.
The series premiered on Sunday with its new judges, Lionel Richie, Luke Bryan, and Katy Perry as they headed across the country to find the next big music sensation.
But some fans aren’t pleased with one of the new judge’s on-screen behavior.
Perry is getting slammed on social media for planting a kiss on a 19-year-old contestant during the series premiere.
According to People, Oklahoma teen Benjamin Glaze headed to the audition to get his shot at going to Hollywood, but ended up admitting that he’d never kissed anyone.
Glaze told the judges:
“I’ve never been in a relationship. I can’t kiss a girl without being in a relationship.”
Perry immediately called the teen over to get a kiss on the cheek, but the “Swish Swish” singer quickly turned her head to get a kiss on the mouth.
The 19-year-old was shocked by the surprise smooch, but seemed thrilled to get a kiss from the pop star. But fans weren’t quite as pleased.American Idol/Instagram
Many social media users felt that that the kiss was inappropriate and that the 33-year-old judge may have overstepped her boundaries.
Some Instagram users wrote:
Sorry but this rubbed me the wrong way, especially when the judges cackled afterward about “robbing him of his first kiss.” Talk about double standards.
This was extremely predatory. I can’t believe she even did that and everyone’s blatantly ignoring the fact that if this were a man doing this to a girl it’d be deemed sexual assault shame on you.
This is disgusting. Imagine a 34 year old male judge doing that to a 19 year old female contestant.
Predatory and if roles were switched it’d be an outcry of sexual assault and more #metoo hashtags.
I think people should be a lot more upset about this than what they really are. If the roles were reversed and it were a male judge the show would be shut down.
Glaze ultimately didn’t make it past the audition despite his controversial kiss with Perry. She advised him to “kiss a couple more girls” before returning next time.
ABC has yet to respond to the controversy surrounding the kiss.