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'American Idol' apologizes for saying hopeful was threatening judges

By John Bracchitta, 01/29/2009 

American Idol has apologized for suggesting an auditioneer had threatened the show's judges after being denied a golden ticket to Hollywood.

"We apologize to any viewers who were offended by the misinterpretation of the contestant's comment to 'be careful' upon completion of his audition in Louisville, KY," the show announced in a statement released on its website.

The apology came a week after last Wednesday's episode of the show's Louisville auditions showed 25-year-old Mark Mudd telling the judges to "be careful" as he said goodbye after being mildly ridiculed for his performance of George Jones' "White Lightning."

"All right. Take care and be careful," said Mudd as he began leaving the audition room.

"Be careful?" a shocked Paula Abdul replied.

"Be careful in whatever you do," Mudd clarified.

"What?" a confused Abdul said.

"I'm just saying, be careful in whatever you do," Mudd repeated.

"That was a threat," Simon Cowell muttered as he looked at the other judges.

"Was that a threat? That was a threat," Abdul said back to Mudd.

"No, I'm just saying, just be careful, you know, in whatever you do," Mudd repeated yet again.

"Well, you don't say that to people. You don't say that to people, 'be careful.' That's not a normal thing to say to people," a concerned Abdul said.

"I was just sayin'..." Mudd said as he turned and walked out of the room.

What Abdul, Cowell and fellow Idol judges Randy Jackson and Kara DioGuardi were apparently unaware of was the fact that the term "be careful" is often used as a parting expression in many areas of the south. 

"Our visits to audition cities are relatively brief and sometimes regional greetings and salutations are lost in translation," American Idol said in the statement. We had not heard that phrase from any other contestants during the day, so it took everyone by surprise. We now know better and look forward to visiting Louisville again."

Abdul and Mudd's Louisville exchange occurred before the events involving Paula Goodspeed, a former American Idol auditioneer and alleged obsessed Abdul fan who committed suicide in her car outside of the singer's California house last November.

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