America is a vast and mysterious land, something the judges of American Idol are learning as they travel bravely to outposts far and wide in search of talent. During auditions in Louisville, Ky., rejected country crooner Mark Mudd left the stage urging Cowell and company to “take care and be careful.”

While some linguists may accuse Mudd of being nothing more than redundant, the stunned judges took the words as a threat. Of course, it’s hard to blame Paula Abdul for being jumpy—a stalker committed suicide outside Abdul’s home last year—but now Idol reps have issued an apology to viewers (and presumably Mudd) “who were offended by the misinterpretation of the contestant's comment to ‘be careful’...Our visits to audition cities are relatively brief and sometimes regional greetings and salutations are lost in translation."

Hopefully they’ll have a phrase book on hand when they get to Puerto Rico.

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