Katy Perry American Idol Controversy: Is the Press Bullying Her?

Katy Perry American Idol Controversy
(ABC/Eric McCandless) KATY PERRY

Katy Perry American Idol Controversy: The press, fair coverage or bullying?

Tabloid press thrives on controversy. That’s nothing new! But tabloids like The Sun, Daily Mail and New York Post seemed, more than usual, to lean on outrage when covering American Idol this season. And more specifically, their constant coverage of “controversies” around judge Katy Perry appeared a wee bit contrived.

Every week it a new thing happened that “fans” were “slamming” Katy for or “outraged” about. In nearly every case, the outlets would find “fans” who were mad over some way Katy spoke to a contestant, or behaved “disrespectfully” behind the desk.

Here is a bulletin! We’ve been covering singing shows here on mjsbigblog since 2005, and fans are always mad. ALWAYS MAD. Here’s how it works: Fans coalesce around a favorite contestant, and if anyone even looks at that person with even a sliver of a side eye, they’re going to be really, really mad! Fans were constantly dogging judges, whether they were Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, Randy Jackson, Jennifer Lopez….I could rattle off the entire list. Fans “slam” the producers. They “slam” rival contestants. Covering it all breathlessly is pretty pointless.

For instance, in yet another cycle of outrage, the tabloids reported that fans were calling Ian Tongi’s American Idol win “RIGGED” as if fans of the singers who lost have never ever ever accused the show of fixing the results. American Idol does not rig the results. But fans have been accusing the show of cheating sing Ruben Studdard beat Clay Aiken on season 2 twenty years ago.

American Idol 2023 Katy Perry
(ABC/Eric McCandless) KATY PERRY

The Katy Perry controversies

This season’s Katy Perry controversies included:

  • Fans “upset” that Katy suggested diva singer Nutsa not “glitterbomb” the stage i.e. maybe rein in the theatricals a little (actually, that was good advice for the over-the-top singer). Audience members at the Aulani resort in Hawaii booed Katy, but it felt performative. Did the producers egg them on?
  • A Tik Tok went viral of Katy “faking out” contestants as she told singers whether they made the Top 26 or not. The “fake out” has been happening on American Idol since day one. It’s eye-rolly, but not a thing particular to Katy.
  • Fans were “mad” at Katy for saying she was shocked that Platinum Ticket winner Elijah McCormick was eliminated after contestant Wé Ani performed a beautiful version of Adele’s “Skyfall.” She made the Top 20, Elijah did not. Katy gave a little speech chastising fans about not voting when she should have been praising Wé’s performance? Or something. Anyway, fans took it as a diss of Wé. Again, the “mad” fans were likely oversensitive Wé fans.

A few contestants did call Katy out

However, there were legit a couple of real controversies. When outlets reported that fans felt that Katy “mom shamed” 25-year old mother of three, SaraBeth Lieb when she made a joke at her expense, the singer took to her social media pages to say she found the remarks “embarrassing” and “hurtful.” (She has since deleted the video, and actually backtracked a bit afterward).

Katy Perry American Idol Controversy
(ABC/Eric McCandless) Wé ANI, KATY PERRY

Then, Wé Ani’s FATHER jumped in with some opinions. Oddly, not too many outlets picked up on his social media remarks saying that Katy “bullied” his daughter when she was on the show. He never mentioned a specific incident, but said, “The young girl…stood in front of someone who she had once idolized devastated her with an undeserved snarky response as a redirect to critiquing her show performance,” he concluded. “It was a dagger in the heart given by a respected star with concern regarding any of Katy’s subsequence responses regarding her American Idol performances. No acknowledgment or apology, just a collar pop and a shoulder brush. Remember this, lesson learned. See you at the Grammys.” (Some real David Archuleta-like stage dad vibes going on right there. A 25 year old can fight her own battles, dad.)

Katy’s behavior didn’t change, yet the press piled on

Other than SaraBeth and Wé, all the so called complaints were the press amplifying typical fan bashing.

What’s weird, is that Katy became the target this season over behavior that was no different than any she has exhibited on all six seasons she’s been on the panel. She can be overbearing and loud. Her antics can be annoying. She speaks before she thinks sometimes.

But at the same time, she can be kind and encouraging and funny. She’s a generous duet partner and the finalists who score the finale duet with her hit the jackpot. Singing show producers push their superstar panels to the forefront. They are expected to entertain, amuse and yes, even enrage.

Reports say Katy is quitting American Idol for….reasons

Katy Perry American Idol 2023
(ABC/Eric McCandless) LUKE BRYAN, KATY PERRY, LIONEL RICHIE

Additionally, no outrage cycle is complete without reaction from “anonymous sources.” A “source” told New York Post that “Katy isn’t fazed by the backlash. This has been a roller-coaster season with a lot of great talent, so she is just doing her job.”

But then only two weeks later sources told the NYP that Katy wants to quit after being shown as a “nasty judge.” Which is it? Is she unfazed or feeling victimized by American Idol producers? See how dumb this stuff is?

ABC won’t announce the judges panel for season 22 until later in the summer before the judges auditions begin in the fall. Katy, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan always play coy about whether they will return or not. Probably because they are negotiating better contracts. Katy may leave the show after six seasons. Her daughter Daisy is getting older. and yet another report, from The Sun, says she wants to spend more time with two-year old Daisy and wants to expand her family with partner Orlando Bloom.

Oliver Steele defends Katy

A few days ago, Top 8 finalist Oliver Steele, the singer Katy saved as winner of the Judges Song Contest, jumped in to defend her. “Katy is not a bully,” Oliver wrote. “nor does she shame people. 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.”

“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. 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.” At the end of his comment, Oliver said that he hopes she decides to stay on American Idol.

In short, the tabloid press loves to pick a target and then pile on. It’s clickbait and it works. And female celebrities get the worst of it.

About mj santilli 35003 Articles
Founder and editor of mjsbigblog.com, home of the awesomest fan community on the net. I love cheesy singing shows of all kinds, whether reality or scripted. I adore American Idol, but also love The Voice, Glee, X Factor and more!