A 19-year-old contestant for the “American Idol” singing competition faced scrutiny from judges and celebrity commentators after revealing he is a virgin who has never kissed a girl, Cybercast News Service reports.
Bruce Dickson, a show contestant from Bostrop, Texas, at the American Idol Dallas auditions was asked to share something interesting about himself. He told the judges he had never kissed a girl.
"What?" Randy Jackson asked. "On purpose?"
“On purpose," Dickson said. "On my wedding day, that will be my first kiss."
Jackson's advice to Dickson after the judges sent him packing: "Go kiss some girls." Simon Cowell, eyebrows raised, told him: "Avoid Ryan (Seacrest) on the way out." Seacrest himself ended the segment featuring Dickson with these words: "Maybe next year he'll come back less a boy and more a man."
Dickson told Cybercast News Service "A real man would rather wait than just do whatever with whoever."
Sarah Preston, a writer and editor for Playboy’s web site, spoke about Dickson’s decision on Thursday on the “Fox Report” television show, asking how he could compete in the contest without “sex appeal.”
"I'm not belittling Bruce's Christian beliefs, but I do think being in tune with one's own sexuality goes a long way in being confident with yourself," Preston said. "Confidence is key, especially for 'American Idol.'”
”These kids become sex objects, thrust into the spotlight," she continued. "And while I know they're all trying to stand out, especially during the audition period, using your Christian beliefs and the fact that you've never kissed a girl is not going to bode well for you while trying out to be America's next big sex object,” Preston said.
Dickson responded to some of the criticisms. "I respect women and don't think of them as a sexual object, and I'm the freak?" Dickson said to Cybercast News Service.
Dickson, the second eldest of six children, said his parents had challenged their children to practice abstinence.
"It wasn't anything they forced on us," Dickson said. "It was something they talked to us about. Something they taught us the importance of."
Dickson wears a key around his neck, while his father wears a matching heart, which he wears for Dickson’s future wife. The jewelry signifies Dickson’s promise to remain abstinent until marriage.
The American Idol contestant won admiration from Jason Burtt, national director of the teen abstinence organization Silver Ring Thing. The organization promotes events and distributes rings for children to wear to symbolize their commitment to chastity.
"What we are all about is supporting kids like Bruce," Burtt told Cybercast News Service. "Most kids are mentally pushed through the media and pop culture that everyone is doing it.
"Bruce has said he's going to walk the hard walk, and instead of lifting him up and praising him, we're mocking him," Burtt said. "I think that's because when someone is up on a chair, it's easier for people to pull him down than to pull everyone else up off the floor. Maybe they feel bad they couldn't do it themselves.”
Dickson is working on a demo album and could return to audition for the next season of American Idol.