In 2018, Katy Perry did what most singers do amid a lull in their music careers: joined American Idol as a judge. Now, five years later, rumors are swirling that Perry wants out of the show because she’s peeved that producers and editors on the show have spun her as the “nasty judge.”
According to a Monday report in the Daily Mail, sources say that after a controversial season that’s seen Perry go viral for “mom-shaming” a 25-year-old contestant who had three kids, the singer “feels like [the producers] threw her under the bus” and that her comments that got her in trouble with fans “could have been removed.”
Perry’s viral exchange with young mom Sara Beth Liebe, who abruptly quit the show in the middle of Hollywood Week and then posted a TikTok calling out Perry for appearing to mock the fact that a young woman already had multiple kids, hasn’t even been her only controversy this season. Her jokes and criticisms of contestants have been met with uproarious booing and pushback from Idol fans, and according to the Daily Mail, Perry has reached a tipping point. Of course, as early as her first season in 2018, Perry memorably sparked controversy by kissing a contestant without his permission when he disclosed that he’d never been kissed before. “I was a tad bit uncomfortable,” the contestant went on to tell the New York Times. “I wanted to save it for my first relationship. I wanted it to be special.”
“Katy became aware of the harsh criticism,” the Mail’s source said. “Getting booed really upset her. She was trying to stay in her lane, do her job and go home.” Aren’t we all!
According to the source, Perry fears her career and legacy are being tarnished, as she’s “now being looked at as a nasty reality show judge.” Perry reportedly receives $25 million per season as a judge on the competition show, but her desire to walk “is not a money thing”—rather, the source says, it’s “more of a legacy issue,” because she “doesn’t want her career defined by a talent competition show where she isn’t even performing.”
If Perry does want out, I have to wonder what’s next for her. The singer hasn’t put out a hit in years. Her most recent efforts to pivot to politics by endorsing pro-cop, anti-abortion billionaire Rick Caruso for mayor of Los Angeles last year resulted in Perry being so widely heckled on social media that she had to limit comments on her posts. Perry, of course, is already very rich and will inevitably remain so as we all continue to stream her old hits—which is to say, she could simply leave Idol and proceed to do nothing.
Or she could just stay in the cushy gig and accept being the Simon Cowell of the three. A separate source speaking to PageSix seemed to rebut the Daily Mail’s report about Perry’s alleged frustrations with the show: “Katy isn’t fazed by the backlash,” they said. “This has been a roller-coaster season with a lot of great talent, so she is just doing her job.” ”
Whether she stays or leaves, the drama she’s generated around the mostly obsolete reality competition has probably attracted the most attention it’s received in years, so congrats to her, at least, for that win.