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‘American Idol’ Season 21 Finalist Oliver Steele Defends Katy Perry Amid Bullying Claims: She Doesn’t ‘Shame People’

American Idols Oliver Steele Defends Katy Perry Amid Bullying Claims
Oliver Steele and Katy Perry Courtesy of Oliver Steele/Instagram

Sharing his thoughts. American Idol alum Oliver Steele weighed in on rumors that Katy Perry plans to leave the show — and clapped back at accusations about her bullying contestants.

“I’ve seen a lot of rumors going around the internet about Katy Perry possibly leaving Idol and I don’t necessarily know what’s true and what’s not. Here is what I know about @katyperry,” the 24-year-old singer began in an Instagram post shared on Friday, May 26. “Katy is not a bully, nor does she shame people.”

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Steele went on to recall his own interactions with the “Roar” songstress, 38, throughout season 21 of the ABC series, which wrapped up last month. “I remember being nervous at my audition, nervous during Hollywood week, hell even nervous throughout various points in the competition,” the musician, who finished in the top eight, recalled. “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 Tennessee native continued: “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. She challenged me to push myself, to take on challenges that made me uncomfortable. I’m a better musician and artist after Katy Perry pushed me to believe in my potential, and to exceed my limitations.”

Steele concluded by telling the pop star that he hopes she stays on the singing competition because she’s a “guiding light” and “an incredible teacher.”

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The reality star’s comments came after Perry clashed with several contestants during season 21, which ended with Iam Tongi being crowned the winner. In March, Sara Beth Liebe called out the “Wide Awake” singer for what she felt was a mom-shaming comment.

During Liebe’s audition, Perry and fellow judges Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan were surprised to hear that the contestant is a mother of three at just 25 years old. “If Katy lays on the table, I think I’m gonna pass out,” Liebe quipped. The “Dark Horse” artist then replied, “Honey, you’ve been laying on the table too much.”

After the episode aired, Liebe said the comment “wasn’t super kind” in a TikTok video. “I don’t really have too much to say on my feelings about it because I feel like it’s probably pretty self-explanatory. I mean, it was embarrassing to have that on TV and it was hurtful and, you know, that’s that,” the season 21 competitor said. “I think women supporting and uplifting other women is so cool, and I think that mom-shaming is super lame, and I think that it’s hard enough to be a mom and it’s hard enough to be a woman.”

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Later in the season, Perry tried to convince Liebe to stay on the show when she considered leaving to go home and be with her children. “I know that life is scary. I also know that it’s easier to walk away than to be rejected. But, then, I also know that you lose out on your fullest potential,” the California native told Liebe. “And I know that you love your family, for your kids. I know that as a mother, but remember self-love is just as big as motherly love. Don’t leave the competition.”

Despite the encouraging words, however, Liebe ultimately decided to leave the show. “Man, that sucks. It’s not easy for anyone,” Perry said after her exit. “Everyone has their own story.”

Perry’s difficult season continued when she was booed for the first time during the April 17 episode of the long-running show. “I think one thing I personally would like to see from you is not one piece of the glitter the next time,” the American Music Award winner told Nutsa Buzaladze. “I know that’s gonna be hard.”

The audience subsequently booed her suggestion, while Bryan, 46, delighted in the fact that Perry experienced some backlash from the crowd. “Yes! Katy got booed,” the country star quipped. “Katy got booed.”

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