After contestant Jeff Gutt performed Mariah Carey's "Without You," Paulina Rubio praised the performance, but said she wanted the rocker to "show me blood" the next time. Cowell, in turn, asked: "You mean you want him to cut himself?"
That didn't sit well with some fans of fellow judge Lovato, who has admitted to struggling with cutting herself in the past. They took to Twitter to voice their displeasure.
Cowell himself likely realized his error quickly, as he repeated the remark to Gutt and changed the phrasing to "stab yourself" seconds later.
Watch a video of Gutt's performance and the judges' comments below. Do you think Cowell was being insensitive?