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There are always uncomfortable moments in reality talent shows like American Idol. At least a few contenders each season leave feeling cheated or disappointed when they aren’t chosen by the judges. But 19-year-old Benjamin Glaze’s discomfort was of an altogether different nature.

As he was introducing himself, Glaze remarked that he enjoyed his job as a cashier because “sometimes there’s cute girls, and they’re not going anywhere without saying ‘hi’.” This statement led the judges to ask if he’d ever “kissed a girl and liked it,” playing on one of Idol judge Katy Perry’s best-known songs. However, Glaze replied that he hadn’t, since he’d never been in a relationship, and you “can’t kiss a girl if you’re not in a relationship, right?” The judges aww-ed at Glaze’s sentiment. But what followed was less appropriate.

The judges urged Benjamin to come give Katy Perry a kiss on the cheek, which seemed to surprise Glaze, and make him a bit uncomfortable. Then, when asked to repeat the action, Perry turned her head at the last minute so that Glaze kissed her on the lips instead of the cheek. He was clearly startled, falling over, in a somewhat theatrical manner. But despite his well-mannered response, Glaze’s request for water before continuing, and his comments after the audition reveal that this wasn’t exactly his dream come true.

Glaze told the New York Times he “was uncomfortable immediately” and had “wanted my first kiss to be special.” He made a similar statement at the beginning of his audition, suggesting that he wanted to save his first kiss for his first relationship. And that’s why Katy Perry’s decision to kiss Glaze on the lips without asking him is simply not okay.

When someone tells you they’ve never kissed someone before and they want that kiss to happen in their first relationship, it’s weird, creepy and violating to trick them into kissing you anyway. That’s exactly what Katy Perry did to Glaze. Though she may not have thought of it that way, Perry took away Glaze’s choice as to who his first kiss would be, as well as the choice of kissing her on the lips. While some people have said Benjamin should be happy that his first kiss came from Katy Perry, he said that he “wanted to save it for his first relationship.”

Katy Perry has not responded to any of the discussion surrounding this incident with an apology or any other comments, even though some have accused her of sexual harassment. Benjamin Glaze has stated that he did not feel he was harassed, and Perry’s fellow judge, Luke Bryan, defended her, saying that the trio’s “hearts are in the right place.” And that very well may be true! Perry probably never intended to make Benjamin Glaze uncomfortable with her kiss. However, it was thoughtless, inappropriate, and she really shouldn’t have done it. Whatever her intentions, she shouldn’t have kissed Glaze on the lips under the pretense of a cheek-peck, nor should she have disregarded his desire to save his first kiss for his first official girlfriend.

Even the best of intentions can turn out poorly, and hopefully Perry will take that lesson to heart in the future.

Mallory Fitzpatrick is a senior at John Carroll University, who loves reading, writing, and travel. 
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