American Idol hopeful was 'uncomfortable' during Katy Perry kiss: 'I would have said no'

A kiss is still a kiss, as Sam so famously sang in 1942’s Casablanca — but the one American Idol judge Katy Perry gave to contestant Benjamin Glaze in Sunday’s premiere of the singing competition reboot on ABC was something more to him.

“I was a tad bit uncomfortable,” the now-20-year-old told The New York Times in an interview about the moment, which resulted in his first kiss.

After introducing himself in the audition room and explaining he is a cashier at an electronics store where he often meets “cute girls,” Perry’s fellow judge Luke Bryan asked Glaze, “Have you kissed a girl and liked it?” referencing Perry’s 2008 breakout single. Glaze revealed that he hasn’t because he’s “never been in a relationship” and that without being in one he “can’t kiss a girl.” That’s when Perry called him over, at first getting him to kiss her cheek. But because he “didn’t even make the smoosh sound,” Perry encouraged him to give her another one; this time, though, she quickly turned her face toward his, resulting in a quick peck on the lips.

Mark Levine/ABC

While Glaze immediately dropped to the ground and wore a huge smile on his face, he says internally the feeling was different.

“Would I have done it if she said, ‘Would you kiss me?’ No, I would have said no,” the Oklahoma native told the newspaper. “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.”

The moment quickly became one of the most talked-about of the Idol premiere; while many viewers perceived it as sweet and spontaneous, others saw it as a “forced sexual act.”

Glaze told the NYT he doesn’t see the kiss as sexual harassment, and while he might have been caught off guard, he appreciates the added exposure: “I’m glad she did it because it’s a great opportunity to get my music out.”

In the months since filming his audition, Glaze’s perspective on the situation changed after talking to friends. “They agreed with me that it didn’t really count,” he explained. “It was lip contact versus a romantic situation with someone you care about. That’s what a real first kiss is.”

Representatives for ABC had no comment; reps for Perry did not immediately respond to EW’s request for comment.

Read the full NYT article here.

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