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IDOL host Katy Perry under fire for unwanted kiss

Issued: 2018-03-14

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By KATHERINE ROSMANMARCH 14, 2018

When Benjamin Glaze, at the time a 19-year-old cashier from Enid, Okla., auditioned for “American Idol,” he had hoped his big moment would come as he belted out “Stadium,” a song he wrote himself. That or Nick Jonas’s 2015 single “Levels.”

Instead, it came when the popstar Katy Perry, a judge on the show, surprised him by kissing him smack on the lips, moments before his audition. He had never been kissed before.

”I was a tad bit uncomfortable,” Mr. Glaze said by phone this week, after the incident aired on the season premiere. His first kiss was a rite of passage he had been putting off with consideration. “I wanted to save it for my first relationship,” he said. “I wanted it to be special.”

“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.”

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The scene with the kiss was part of the two-night season opener for the new “American Idol,” which is now airing on ABC after a 15-year run on Fox. It is being judged by a new panel of celebrities — Ms. Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan — and is hosted by Ryan Seacrest, who hosted the program on Fox, and is a creative consultant for the show as well.

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In the segments that featured Mr. Glaze, he was shown waiting around in anticipation for his audition with other hopefuls.

After he entered the studio, guitar slung over his shoulder and looking a bit star struck, he said he enjoyed his work as a cashier because it let him meet “cute girls.”

“Have you kissed a girl and liked it?” asked Mr. Bryan, making a coy reference to Ms. Perry’s first hit single, “I Kissed A Girl.” Mr. Glaze said that he had not. “I have never been in a relationship and I can’t kiss a girl without being in a relationship.”

At that, Ms. Perry stood up. “Come here,” she said to Mr. Glaze. “Come here right now.”

Ms. Perry motioned for him to come over to the judges’ table and stuck her face toward him. “One on the cheek?” he said and she smiled. He quickly touched his face to her cheek. She asked for another kiss, complaining that he hadn’t even made the “smush sound.” As he moved toward her cheek again, Ms. Perry swung her face toward him and kissed him quickly on the lips. “Katy!” he yelled, as he stumbled backward. “You didn’t!” Ms. Perry raised her arms in victory.

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