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"Idol" Apologizes For "Threatened" Judges

1/29/2009 4:40 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF

American Idol"American Idol" now has its tail between its legs after Simon and Paula confused a Kentucky contestant's kind, Southern goodbye for a "threat" on their lives.

This statement was just posted on the "A.I." website:

"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.

Our visits to audition cities are relatively brief and sometimes regional greetings and salutations are lost in translation. 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 someday.


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I'm so happy to see that Idol apologized! I'm from Louisville and I say "be careful" all of the time. It's just our way of being kind to people! It's a shame they mistook southern hospitality for a threat. I felt so sorry for Mr. Mudd. He's just a good ol' counrty boy.

2057 days ago

Triple Play    

Paula ia an A$$ HOLE. When she said that was a threat and I am leaving tonight sha looked and sounded like the jerk that she is. Has anyone noticed that she is trying to anything to gat attention away from Kara.I think that AI should drop her like tha bad habit that she is. More Kara and less Paula

2057 days ago


Oh god can you say they are all ignorant and have pretty stupidly shown how they have never really dealt with anyone outside beverly hills before. Maybe there should be some kind of book they are given so they don't all look so blatenly stupid from now on.

2057 days ago

Arkie Mom    

I've lived in the south all my life and 'be careful' is as common as 'ya'll come back'. They owe that guy an on-air apology. They just proved, once again, how out of touch Hollywood is with the rest of the country.

2057 days ago


I saw this episode, and if telling someone to be careful is considered a threat, then my husband threatens me every time i walk out the door. Get real, most people tell you to be careful b/c they don't want anything to happen to you. Its just a show of concern. A lot of crazy things can happen during the day, and it doesn't have to be a threat.
Although i was shocked when they freaked out, i will continue to watch the show, cuz i love it.

2057 days ago


I have heard and said this all my life. The guy did look a little wild-eyed, but it truly is a common expression. I'm glad they apologized.

2057 days ago


I felt sooo terrible for him! Those judges are so full of themselves that they probably think everyone wants to threaten them. Ridiculous. Here in Indiana, we always tell each other to be careful when we leave or the other person is leaving. I don't hear a threat in that at all! He was just nervous and was trying to be nice by telling them to be careful. No one should be treated like that, especially after the way the judges treated him. I mean the judges always treat people badly, so I guess an act of kindness WOULD be foreign to them. They are too busy thinking about themselves to think about anyone else's feelings.

2057 days ago


BayouMan and others, I'm 48, born and raised in Texas, and "be careful" is a common, endearing, phrase here while saying goodbye to someone. I watched this episode and couldn't believe how overboard Paula and Simon went on this comment. I felt really bad for the guy.

2057 days ago


I think if they weren't always boozed up, drugged or just stupid they could have understood what was going on. I am so tired of these arrogant attempts of being glamorous/think their crap don't stink/head up the old poop shoot imbeciles always having some drama going on. Simon/Paula/Randy/New Ho...please just shut up.

2057 days ago


BayouMan I don't know where you are from, I assume somewhere around New Orleans, but I'm 30 and have lived in every state from Texas to Florida and have heard it literally thousands of good, yall be careful, take it easy. I really would like to know what rock you've been living under

2057 days ago


They were such idiots when this happened. That's a pretty common way to say goodbye in the South. I hear it all the time. They were complete jackasses.

2057 days ago

honest t    

That guy was nervous, had no confidence and no clue how out of place he was. He looked in his 40s, could not sing, but took a chance, put himself out there and took the joke and rude comments in stride. He was trying to get out of there and be polite even though he was obviously embarrassed and disappointed he used a common saying in the Deep South often used by people even going into town or to the store.
Is he a hick? Maybe, I don't know, but you all over reacted, made him look like a psycho and left it in, even edited the show to make it worse and up your ratings.
You see plenty of strange people in LA so why give a place that welcomed you with excitement and open arms a black eye.
Some of the rudest, strangest people I have ever seen have been from CA and one of your judges is often on the verge of tears or a break down, accused of having an affair with a much younger contestant, tried to come out with a lip sync single because she can't sing herself, all the while judging others on their ability to sing with proper tone and control.

At least the new female judge can sing and control her voice even if she seems a little catty.

2057 days ago


I was born and raised in CA and I tell friends and strangers to " be safe" as part on my good-by. I saw that episode and I knew he was not threatening them in any way. Obviously Paula is paranoid because of past incidents. Be safe.

2057 days ago

If TMZ had the whole would understand    

He could sing, he sang good. I hope he tries out for Nashville Star (is that still on) He was great and we felt so sorry for him. I am glad they put out a statement.

2057 days ago


This guy WAS obviously intending to sound intimidating. I live in the same area and although "be careful" is sometimes used as a goodbye of sorts, this douche was po'd about not making it and was trying to sound intimidating.

2057 days ago
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