Double standards present in American Idol blunder


Protests break out in Puerto Rico as frustration grows

By Ariana Portalatin

In a failed attempt to be nice and funny, singer and judge Katy Perry kissed a 19-year-old before his audition on the March 11 season premiere of American Idol, not only showing an example of nonconsent, but opening a dialogue about double standards.

In the segment that seemed scripted by producers beforehand, Benjamin Glaze’s audition begins with Perry asking what kind of job Glaze has, to which he replies that he’s a cashier who enjoys his job because he gets to meet girls. 

Singer Luke Bryan, who is also a judge on the show alongside Perry and singer Lionel Richie, conveniently asks Glaze if he’s ever kissed a girl. Glaze then says he’s never been in a relationship and can’t kiss a girl unless he’s in one. The seemingly staged conversation set Glaze up for an unexpected moment that went viral.

Perry tells Glaze to come toward the table where she’s standing, and Bryan and Richie pull out their phones to film Perry getting a kiss on the cheek from Glaze. Not pleased with the first, Perry asks for a second one but turns her face at the last second to kiss Glaze on the lips. Glaze stumbles back but seems to play off the moment well. However, he then gets nervous when it’s time to perform and asks for water before telling the judges the moment caught him off guard. The smiles immediately leave the judges’ faces when the performance starts, and all three decline to move Glaze forward in the competition. 

Not only did the unexpected kiss weaken Glaze’s performance, but he told New York Times Reporter Katherine Rosman in a March 14 article that he was not happy with the incident. 

“Would I have done it if she said, ‘Would you kiss me?’ No, I would have said no,” Glaze said. “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.”

Although Glaze also said the audition brought more attention to his music and that the kiss didn’t really count because it was not a romantic situation, the public’s responses after the episode aired have been mixed. 

Many have correctly pointed out that Perry’s actions are inappropriate because they were nonconsensual, but some think Glaze should have enjoyed the kiss because of Perry’s stardom, and it’s not everyday someone gets to kiss a celebrity. However, the kiss caught Glaze off guard and he was not OK with it. Glaze said he could not kiss a girl unless he was in a relationship and Perry went on to kiss him anyway instead of respecting his beliefs.

If a male judge had kissed a female contestant without her consent, there would have been an uproar and no question about the moment’s inappropriateness. Being a male does not exclude Glaze from his right to consent. 

Additionally, Perry is there to be a judge on the show, which means critiquing performances and helping contestants hone their craft, not meddling in their personal affairs. Glaze was there to perform a song but was instead put at a disadvantage because of Perry’s kiss, while her co-judges happily filmed the moment, which was what likely led to him being rejected by the judges.

Those who disagree will only perpetuate and justify Perry’s wrongful actions, and during the time of the Me Too movement, it’s important to continue and support conversations about consent and holding people accountable. This should not only be a conversation applied to females but everyone.