This Teen From American Idol Really Wishes Katy Perry Hadn’t Kissed Him on the Lips Without Asking
Back in October, when the rebooted edition of American Idol filmed its contestant auditions, a gangly 19-year-old named Benjamin Glaze introduced himself by saying that he likes being a cashier because it’s an opportunity to talk to “cute girls.” Idol judge Luke Bryan asked Glaze if he’d ever kissed one, and when Glaze said he hadn’t, Katy Perry summoned him over to the judges’ table and proffered her cheek. Glaze gave her a little peck.
“He didn’t even make the smush sound!” Perry complained, and when Glaze went in for a do-over, Perry turned her head and smooched him on the lips.
After the segment aired this week, the New York Times caught up with Glaze, who’s now 20, and very much did not want to kiss Katy Perry on the lips. “I wanted to save it for my first relationship,” Glaze said of his co-opted first kiss. “I wanted it to be special. … 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.” He said that, ultimately, he and his friends decided it wasn’t a real first kiss (“It was lip contact versus a romantic situation with someone you care about,” he told the Times) and that he appreciates the additional attention for his original music. He also said he doesn’t consider Perry’s unwanted kiss to be sexual harassment, meaning that you, the viewer, can enjoy some plausible deniability about stanning what amounts to harassment like it’s Perry saying “wig.”
I’ll be honest, though: This video makes me pretty uncomfortable! There’s the surprise kiss on the lips, for one thing, and though it does feel intended in a spirit of fun, it’s a bizarre way for an adult to behave with a teenager they’ve just met. Glaze is so astonished he actually lands on his ass, a moment of physical comedy that’s all the more horrible for being authentic. Luke Bryan probably deserves a small share of the blame for telling the hopelessly dated “I Kissed a Girl” joke that set up this train wreck. And then, right afterward, Glaze still has to audition for American Idol! He gets partway through a lackluster rendition of Nick Jonas’s song “Levels” before Perry cuts him off again and basically tells him he doesn’t stand a chance.
Benjamin, I have more bad news: Your actual first kiss is probably not going to be all that special. Losing your virginity might feel meaningless too—that’s just how these things go. Still, you deserved better than what feels like real-life satire of a nightmare audition scripted by one of those Katy Perry anti-fans who can’t decide whether their fave is a total hoot or actually sort of a weird creep.