While Iam Tongi cashed in as the “American Idol” winner of the 2023 season, controversy around judge Katy Perry exploded like a firework over her sometimes harsh criticism of contestants.
Now that the season is over, finalist and top 8 contestant Oliver Steele is debunking rumors that Perry is a bully.
“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 [her]. Katy is not a bully, nor does she shame people,” he wrote to his Instagram, along with photos of him and Perry.
“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. 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 continued.
Steele complimented the “Roar” singer, writing, “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.”
The musician implored Perry to stay with the show, amid rumors that she is contemplating quitting the program. Some fans of the show have called for her termination, wishing for her to be replaced by singer Alanis Morisette.
“You’re a guiding light, an incredible teacher,” Steele concluded. “And you made me believe that I am my own hero. Thank you for everything.”
A representative for Perry did not immediately return Fox News Digital’s request for comment.
Season 21 was a media circus for Perry as she at times was booed by fans. She was accused of “mom-shaming” contestant Sara Beth Liebe during auditions.
Liebe told the judges that at 25, she was a mother to three children.
“Honey, you’ve been laying on the table too much,” Perry told the contestant, in a moment that sent fans into a fury on social media.
ABC has not clarified when season 22 will premiere, although the competition show has been renewed.
Perry judges alongside musicians Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie.