Benjamin Glaze, a contestant on the season premiere of American Idol, is opening up about his on-screen first kiss, saying it made him "a tad bit uncomfortable."
Glaze, then 19 years old, auditioned for a spot on the show's new season. The comeback includes a new line-up of judges — Lionel Richie, Luke Bryan and Katy Perry. As he stood poised with his guitar, the judges asked Glaze what he did for a living. He explained that he likes his work as a cashier because he meets cute girls. "They're not leaving without saying hi," he joked.
Bryan then asked Glaze, "have you kissed a girl and liked it?" referencing Perry's first big hit. He responded that he had never been in a relationship and never had his first kiss.
"I have never been in a relationship and I can't kiss a girl without being in a relationship," he said.
"Come here right now," Perry said. She beckoned him over to the judges' table for a kiss on the cheek, but at the last moment, pecked him on the lips instead.
"I was a tad bit uncomfortable," Glaze said in a phone interview with The New York Times. He said he had been reflecting on the stolen kiss since he filmed the audition in October. "I wanted to save it for my first relationship. 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 continued. "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."
However, Glaze couldn't deny that the exposure from the show benefited his music. He wasn't picked for the show, but his audition was featured heavily in promotions, and the exposure drove traffic to his own independent endeavors online.
"So in that way," he said, "I'm glad she did it because it's a great opportunity to get my music out."
Glaze said he talked at length with his friends back home about the audition and the kiss.
"They agreed with me that it didn't really count," he said. "It was lip contact versus a romantic situation with someone you care about. That's what a real first kiss is."4comments
Many fans have decried Perry's kiss as an act of sexual exploitation. She has yet to respond, but the producers of American Idol have used the kiss to the fullest extent in their marketing. The show's official Twitter account posted a picture of Benjamin to peak interest.
"This journey has just begun, Benjamin. A kiss for good luck from @katyperry and you're on your way," one tweet read.