Mark Mudd, American Idol

American Idol has issued a mea culpa to the audition city of Louisville, Ky., days after Paula Abdul accused a singer of threatening the judges with bodily harm when they vetoed his trip to Hollywood.

After failing to zap Simon & Co. with his take on "White Lightning," 25-year-old Mark Mudd muttered, "All right. Take care and be careful" as he began to exit the room. Paula Abdul, unfamiliar with the regional expression "Be careful," exclaimed from the dais, "What? Was that a threat? That was a threat."

When Mudd tried to educate Abdul on the saying, she maintained, "That's not a normal thing to say to people." And thus concluded the fleeting, awkward moment. That is, until Idol producers revived it with an apology.

"We apologize to any viewers who were offended by the misinterpretation of [Mudd's] comment to 'Be careful,'" reads their note posted to AmericanIdol.com on Thursday. "Our visits to audition cities are relatively brief and sometimes regional greetings and salutations are lost in translation.

"We now know better," concluded the message, "and look forward to visiting Louisville again someday."

What's your take? Was Paula's reaction a bit off the hook? Or is it understandable given the recent tragedy in which a onetime Idol wannabe took her life outside Abdul's home?