LOS ANGELES – Be careful not to read too much into what someone from Louisville says while heading out the door — like the "American Idol" judges did.
The producers of "Idol" apologized Thursday on behalf of its judges, who apparently misinterpreted what a contestant in Louisville, Ky., said after a failed audition. On his way out, Mark Mudd said: "Take care and be careful."
Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell took that as a threat. Abdul scolded Mudd, telling him, "You don't say that to people, 'Be careful.' That's just not a normal thing to say."
It turns out that "Be careful" is a regional parting expression.
The show's producers say they had not heard that from any other contestants, so it took everyone by surprise.
A statement from "Idol" producers said: "We now know better and look forward to visiting Louisville again someday."