Thursday, 22 March 2018

Lionel Richie defends Katy Perry amid backlash after she kissed American Idol contestant

Lionel Richie has jumped to the defence of his American Idol co-judge Katy Perry amid mounting criticism of her kissing a contestant, 19, during the audition process.

The All Night Long hitmaker, 68, hit out at claims the pop star, 33, had kissed Benjamin Glaze, 19, without his consent, insisting 'everybody was having a good day' and it was all 'in jest'.

Richie defended the singer's actions in an interview with the Press Association, saying 'phenomenal' Perry didn't mean any harm when she surprised the teen with his first kiss, as she simply has 'no filter' in front of the cameras. 

The legendary musician went so far as to joke that he often feels like a 'babysitter' to Katy and co-judge Luke Bryan, 41, on the panel.

He explained: 'Katy is one of those phenomenons, she can do things and get away with it. It's all in fun, it's all in jest.

'I was there, I'm a witness to it. She was hamming it up, then it was nothing more than that.

'Of course when you do it to the public you're going to get two different views of what's happening, but trust me it was all in fun. Everybody's having a good time – including the contestant.'

Katy was met with criticism after she gave Benjamin his first kiss ahead of his audition, which was aired last week.

Although he agreed for the Roar hitmaker to kiss him on the cheek, she quickly moved her face and pecked him on the lips.

Shocked by the move, he stumbled and exclaimed 'you didn't', before later saying he was saving his first kiss for 'someone special'. 

The incident prompted a backlash, with critics claiming the uproar would have been much bigger if Katy had been a male judge kissing a woman. 

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