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“American Idol” judge Katy Perry was accused of “mom shaming” and “being a bully” to contestant Sara Beth Liebe by some fans on a recent episode. When Liebe started her audition, she said she was 25 when the judges hesitated and told her she looked like a teenager. Liebe said, “Bless, you guys are my favorite. I have three kids.” She added, “If Katy lays on the table, I think I’m going to pass out.” Then, Perry quipped, “Honey, you’ve been lying on the table too much.”

The “California Gurls” singer asked Liebe if singing was her dream after Liebe shared that being a mother doesn’t leave her much time to herself, and she was singing for the first time outside of the church choir and karaoke. Perry told Liebe, referring to other contestants waiting to audition, “If it’s not your dream, you might need to leave because there’s a lot of dreams behind you.”

Liebe sang, “You Know I’m No Good.” After Liebe finished, Perry told her, “that’s not enough,” and encouraged her to sing “Benny and the Jets,” which Liebe shared was her first choice for her audition. As she sang the Elton John hit, Perry said, “More of that.” After her audition, the judges applauded, and Perry dubbed Liebe “the accidental American Idol.”

At the end of Liebe’s audition, fellow judge Luke Bryan said, “I love you. I love it because you don’t know what the heck you’re doing, but you’re a great singer.” However, Perry warned Liebe that she wouldn’t go far if singing wasn’t her dream. Perry explained, “I also respect everyone who’s walking through that door who will lay down their life for this golden ticket.”

Luke Bryan voted yes, and Lionel Richie voted no because he thought Liebe needed to take singing seriously, so Perry broke the tie with a yes, saying, “yeah, I guess. Why not?” Before an overwhelmed Liebe raced out of the room with her ticket to Hollywood, Perry told her, “You’re in the dream now. Go get your golden ticket. Hurry before the dream ends.”

“American Idol” fans quickly criticized Perry for her behavior. One viewer wrote, “Boo to Katy Perry for her mom shaming Sara Beth, 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. #AmericanIdol.”

Another viewer wrote on Twitter, “I really do not like how Katy Perry just treated Sara Beth on #AmericanIdol. 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.”

However, other viewers disagreed. One person tweeted, “Katy Perry judging a contestant and a show that judges contestants? Shocking. Ever heard of Simon Cowell?” Another viewer referenced Simon Cowell, saying, “Being honest is now bullying. Need to go look up some of that old school Simon Cowell.”

There’s a fine line between judging and bullying. Some viewers believe Perry was bullying Liebe, while others say she was doing her job as a judge on a competition show. Hopefully, Perry apologizes to Liebe for her words.

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