One of this season’s top American Idol contestants has defended Katy Perry from some of the hate she has been receiving. Recent reports circulating online have been insinuating that the “Roar” singer is considering leaving the singing competition due to all the backlash.
Oliver Steele, who finished in the top 8 of the show’s latest season came to her defense on Instagram recently, sharing photos with Perry, 38. Steele addressed the “rumors” surrounding the judge and his personal experience with her. “Katy is not a bully, nor does she shame people,” he began his caption.
He recalled “being nervous” at various points in the season. “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 wrote. “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.”
Steele continued, “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.” He expressed feeling like “a better musician and artist after Katy Perry pushed me to believe in my potential and to exceed my expectations.”
At the end of his caption, Steele directly addressed Perry. “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.”
Perry’s first controversy of the season happened during auditions when she joked that contestant Sara Beth Liebe — a mother of three children — had been “laying on the table too much.” Liebe, 25, accused Perry of “mom-shaming” in a TikTok (which has since been deleted) and later quit the competition, though the “Firework” singer tried to convince her to stay. She later expressed gratitude toward the show and Perry, seemingly leaving on good terms.
Then in April, Perry was booed for the first time after advising that contestant Nutsa Buzaladze to wear less glitter on stage. “Nutsa, every time you take the stage, it’s like you glitter bomb the stage,” she said. “Listen, I think one thing I personally would like to see from you is not one piece of glitter the next time. I know that’s gonna be hard.”