‘American Idol’ Contestant Oliver Steele Advocates for Katy Perry

Katy Perry received overwhelming scrutiny during Season 21 of American Idol after fans accused her of disrespecting contestants. 

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Amid the backlash, finalist Oliver Steele turned to social media to set the record straight about the long-standing judge. 

“Katy is not a bully, nor does she shame people,” Steele wrote. “I remember being nervous at my audition, nervous during Hollywood week, hell, even nervous throughout various points in the competition. 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.” 

The Top 8 contestant continued to speak out about Perry’s character. The vocalist compared Perry to the other panelists – Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan. 

“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 pointed out. “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.” 

Steele said that the “Firework” singer encouraged him to step outside of his comfort zone. He single-handedly believes Perry transformed him into a stronger musician.  

“She challenged me to push myself, to take on challenges that made me uncomfortable,” shared Steele. “I’m a better musician and artist after Katy Perry pushed me to believe in my potential, and to exceed my limitations.” 

The controversy involving Perry began during auditions when she made off-putting remarks towards Sara Beth Lieb, a 25-year-old mother of three. Lieb later dropped out of the competition.

After her audition aired in March 2023, Liebe took to TikTok to address comments Perry made during the audition. “Honey, you’ve been laying on the table too much,” Perry quipped after hearing that the singer was 25 and had three kids.

“It was embarrassing to have that on TV and it was hurtful,” Liebe said, adding that Perry’s joke “wasn’t super kind. I think that women supporting and uplifting other women is so cool and I think that mom-shaming is super lame.”

Later in the season, Perry was booed for the very first time after she advised singer Nutsa Buzaladza to wear less glitter on stage. 

ABC/Eric McCandless

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