American Idol fans are calling Katy Perry a “bully” after she laid into a nervous young mother of three during this week’s auditions.
Sara Bethe Liebe, 25, was one of the many hopeful singers who stood before Perry and her fellow judges Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan on the Sunday, March 5, episode. And like many who came before her, she was dealing with some serious performance anxiety.
But Sara Bethe’s nerves were far more apparent than the other contestants, and that seemed to rub Perry the wrong way. As the singer tried to collect herself, Perry made it perfectly clear that she wasn’t going to wait forever.
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After making a salty joke about Sara Bethe having so many kids at a young age, Perry urged the quirky, upbeat mom to start singing.
“Is this your dream?” Perry asked, visibly annoyed.
“If it’s not your dream, you might need to leave because there’s a lot of dreams behind you,” Perry said.
Sara Bethe continued to smile as she anxiously fidgeted in place and explained that she had planned on singing Bennie and the Jets by Elton John. But because she was “still processing” what was happening, her voice felt shaky. So, she decided to audition with Amy Winehouse’s You Know I’m No Good instead.
“Freak us out, Freaky Friday,” said an unenthused Perry.
‘American Idol’ Fans Called Katy Perry’s Behavior ‘Ugly’
As Sara Bethe sang, Katy Perry interrupted to say the judges needed “more” if they were going to consider her for American Idol.
“That’s not enough,” Perry reiterated when the singer finished her first song. “Try Bennie and the Jets,” she added before saying Sara Bethe had nothing to lose.
The judges deliberated over her talents at the end and ultimately, her nerves, not her singing, were the biggest factor against her. Perry continued to question if American Idol was her dream, and Richie said he didn’t think she was taking her chance seriously.
In the end, Richie voted “no,” but Bryan and Perry decided to give her a chance. So, Sara Bethe Liebe earned a golden ticket to Hollywood.
While Perry did vote in Sara Bethe’s favor, fans were reeling after the episode. They accused the Teenage Dream singer of being verbally abusive and out of line.
“Boo to Katy Perry for mom shaming Sara Beth,” one person wrote on Twitter following the show. “Insinuating that she has been ‘laying on the table too much’ to have 3 kids by age 25. A young mother following a dream while raising her children should be raised up not put down.”
“I really do not like how Katy Perry just treated Sara Beth on #AmericanIdol,” another person added. “I don’t watch this show at all and my tv was already on the channel but what I witnessed was not right. They let Katy Perry bully this woman on live national tv before she even started singing. So ugly.”
Several publications, including the New York Post, have reached out to Katy Perry for comment.