It might seem like a “Teenage Dream” to have pop icon and current American Idol judge Katy Perry be your first kiss, but one 19-year-old Idol contestant is saying it was anything but. This week on American Idol’s ABC premiere, Katy laid one on unsuspecting ingenue Benjamin Glaze of Enid, Oklahoma, and he was NOT, as one might expect, blown away by a Katy Perry first kiss.
The awkward scene unfolded as soon as Glaze entered the audition room. Some chats about his background with other idol judges Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan revealed Glaze, at 19, had not yet “kissed a girl and liked it” (a play on one of Perry’s song lyrics).
I have never been in a relationship and I can’t kiss a girl without being in a relationship,” Glaze replied.
Apparently that was just too much for Katy Perry to handle. “Come here,” she said to the innocent Glaze. “Come here right now.” now.” (In my head as I watched this, I could see it coming. Perry’s hit “KISS ME, k-k-k-iss me,” started playing in my head as I screamed “DON’T DO IT!” at the screen. But alas…)
Glaze, who let’s remember was there for an AUDITION that could well determine his future career, approached the table, where Perry demanded by putting her face forward, that he kiss her.
“One on the cheek?” He asked, and complied. Then Perry complained that he hadn’t done a good job with the cheek kiss, and asked for one on the other cheek.
It was QUITE the bait-and-switch. When Glaze went to kiss Perry’s other cheek, she planted one right on his lips instead.
Katy!” he yelled, falling backward to the ground. “You didn’t!” Perry raised her arms in victory.
Glaze tried to play it off and play along, but after the joking was over and it was time to start his audition, he was clearly affected, and asked for some water.
He then started playing his guitar and singing, and just did an okay job, earning a “no” from the judges.
One has to wonder how it would have gone if he hadn’t been tricked into having his first kiss with a world-famous rock star and sex symbol just moments before.
“I was a tad bit uncomfortable,” Glaze said this week in an interview with the New York Times. “Would I have done it if she said, ‘Would you kiss me?’ No, I would have said no,” he 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.”
You can enjoy the super-cringey interaction for yourself right here:
Although Idol’s use of the clip no doubt garnered them lots of press (like this article, for instance), I think Perry’s choice to trick someone into kissing her AT AN AUDITION (I mean, does this NOT sound like a #MeToo story with the genders reversed, people?????) was foolish and the network was foolish to air it. Though, I suppose, Mr. Glaze, for his part, is certainly getting some press as well. Perhaps his career, once stalled at the judges table after Perry’s kiss, will be jumpstarted after all.
But, I must admit, in this #MeToo age, Perry’s behavior is troubling. As the New York Times put it, “The first kiss of an aw-shucks teenager from Oklahoma, delivered by a superstar singer, might have made for a sweet pop-culture moment in a previous era. But as the nation re-examines sexual conduct and power dynamics in workplaces and in the media, the kiss didn’t land well with all viewers.”
It certainly did not sit well with me as a viewer or as a mom. If my conservative son was, at age 19, still saving that first kiss and all that goes with it for a special girl and someone just TOOK it from him, you better betcha my claws WOULD BE OUT. And in a world where “CONSENT” is being screamed about left and right, it would have been REALLY NICE of Perry to restrain herself. Her lip-smacking without consent didn’t do any favors for women who are tired of being touched, leered at, and kissed when we did NOT ask to be. Her behavior seems to help the argument that it’s “no big deal.”
As moms, we need to talk to our boys AND our girls about boundaries and consent — and about saving ALL THE THINGS for someone special.
And maybe about just declining when a pop star beckons you forward, with a well-lacquered finger.
What are your thoughts on the kiss heard round the world? Turns out maybe a Katy Perry first kiss isn’t actually EVERY boy’s “Teenage Dream”, after all. Am I making a big deal out of nothing, or do you think Glaze deserved better, too?