After Katy Perry was accused of “mom-shaming” a performer and was hit with a “bully” backlash, a contestant on the just-ended season of American Idol has spoken out in support of the pop superstar amid rumor she might be leaving the show.
Oliver Steele, who reached the Top 8, defended Perry on Instagram, sharing a photo of himself with the judge, saying, “Katy is not a bully, nor does she shame people,” in his caption. “Katy has an incredible ability to not just tell what emotional state you’re in, but to be able to tell what’s holding you back,” he continued.
“I love all the judges, but Katy always seemed to be able to look into my soul and tell exactly what was troubling me, or what it was I was struggling with.” He went on to praise her criticisms, stating, “It’s one thing to teach someone to believe in their ability, which the judges are fabulous at. Katy reminded me to believe in who I am as an artist. She challenged me to push myself, to take on challenges that made me uncomfortable.”
Finally, he concluded by speaking to Perry directly. “I dunno if you’ll see this, but I hope you stay on American Idol,” he said. “You’re a guiding light, an incredible teacher. And you made me believe that I am my own hero. Thank you for everything.”
The backlash for the artist began when she joked that contestant Sara Beth Liebe, a young mother of three children, had been “laying on the table too much.”
Katy Perry made a joke that wasn’t super kind,” Sara Beth said in the video after fans asked how she was feeling about the comment. “It was embarrassing to have that on TV, and it was hurtful,” she continued. “I think that women supporting and uplifting other women is so cool and I think that mom-shaming is super lame and I think that it’s hard enough to be a mom and it’s hard enough to be a woman.”
Then, the audience of Idol booed her for the first time after Perry suggested contestant Nutsa Buzaladze wear less glitter on stage as well as what was deemed lackluster feedback for Wé Ani after one of her shows.