Katy Perry Breaks Silence on Backlash From ‘American Idol’ Fans

Katy Perry

Heavy/ABC "American Idol" judge Katy Perry

Music superstar Katy Perry is well aware of how much controversy she’s stirred up during season 21 of “American Idol.” After weeks of not commenting about online backlash she’s received over some of her statements and decisions on contestants, Perry has acknowledged the noise has been hard to ignore.

While an unnamed “insider” told Page Six on May 3, 2023, that “Katy isn’t fazed by the backlash,” the pop star has acknowledged on more than one occasion this week that her sixth season as a judge on “Idol” has been widely criticized, reiterating that she “can take it.”

Katy Perry & Fellow ‘American Idol’ Judges Criticized for Choices on Show

American Idol cast

ABC“American Idol” cast Lionel Richie, Ryan Seacrest, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan during the May 1 episode.

Perry’s first acknowledgment of fans’ backlash this season came during the opening moments of the May 1 episode, during which viewers’ votes determined the Top 7 contestants and Perry competed with fellow judges Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie for the chance to save one of the contestants who landed in the bottom three. Prior to the show, contestants received three song suggestions — one from each judge, provided anonymously — and the judges received a point whenever one of the contestants opted to perform their suggested song.

As host Ryan Seacrest explained how their friendly “Judges’ Song Contest” would work, Perry stopped Seacrest and quieted the crowd. She let it slip that the “winning” judge would get to save one contestant — a detail Seacrest had not yet announced — and then revealed the judges had talked backstage about whether or not that would actually be considered a “good win,” given the backlash that occurred after their previous decision to save contestants Nutsa and Lucy Love.

Perry said they’d been “destroyed online for a week” over that decision. When she won the contest and was given the chance to save one of the bottom three contestants — Tyson Venegas, Marybeth Byrd, and Oliver Steele — she asked for a moment to consult with her fellow judges so the onus wasn’t all on her. After a brief huddle, she named soulful singer-songwriter Oliver Steele as her choice to advance.

On May 2, Australian entertainment reporter Dean McCarthy shared his pre-show interview with Perry on Instagram, in which the “Idol” judge alluded to being “beat down” online by critics.

When McCarthy complimented her look, including her “winning earrings,” Perry replied, “Oh, okay! I don’t know what I won, but don’t look at the internet.”

Jokingly making a face like she was exhausted and leaning on McCarthy’s shoulder, she asked, “Did I win?”

“Listen,” she continued, struggling to find a way to describe how she was feeling. “I have…I have…I have…I have been beat down on the internet before. I can take it!”

Laughing, McCarthy said she could “rise up” and Perry broke into a line of her hit song, “Rise,” belting out the words “and still I rise.”

According to the source who spoke with Page Six, Perry “has a unique sense of humor that may not always translate well on camera, but she never has any ill intent” towards the “Idol” contestants.

“She’s a mentor and a friend to the contestants,” the source insisted.

Katy Perry Has Been Criticized for Treatment of ‘Idol’ Contestants During Season 21

Perry, 38, has been criticized multiple times during Season 21 for the way she’s treated certain contestants. When the initial auditions aired in March, she was accused of “mom-shaming” 25-year-old Sara Beth Liebe. Many fans flooded Perry’s social media accounts, demanding a public apology after she joked that the young mom of three kids had been “laying on the table too much.” Liebe spoke up about the viral moment on her own TikTok account, saying she was embarrassed by Perry’s quip.

“I think that it’s hard enough to be a mom, and it’s hard enough to be a woman,” she said.

Though Liebe received a golden ticket to Hollywood, she left the competition despite Perry’s attempts to get her to stay. On April 24, Liebe updated fans on her wellbeing, calling the last two months a “rollercoaster.”

“Come to find out- going on tv and then going viral for a bunch of wild sh** that’s completely out of your control is not for the faint of heart (or people with anxiety 🤙 😂),” she wrote. “I don’t even know how to explain the feelings I’ve have felt, but I CAN tell you that I’m sure happy to be feeling less of them over the past few days. ☀️”

Perry also received backlash for being “rude,” according to People, for barely acknowledging contestant Wé Ani when America’s votes advanced her instead of Platinum ticket winner and judge favorite Elijah McCormick in the competition.

“Wé, oh my God,” she said after Ani performed Adel’s “Skyfall,” and went on to talk about the voting results rather than Ani’s performance. “I’m just so shook right now. First of all, shook by the results, and I’m also shook by that song, it’s so dramatic.”

“There’s so much drama going through my body right now I need a nap,” Perry continued. “But the truth is, America, you guys have the votes. You’re the ones voting and if you’re not voting, you’re not using your voice. Your faves aren’t safe. So from now on, vote for who you want to see in the top 12.”

Irritated fans may be relieved this weekend since Perry won’t be sitting behind the judges’ table for once.  She will briefly appear on “Idol” virtually since she and fellow judge Richie are performing at a London concert celebrating the coronation of King Charles III. Bryan will be joined by guest judges Alanis Morissette and Ed Sheeran during the live May 7 episode.

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