American Idol is backpedaling after Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul confused a Kentucky contestant’s Southern goodbye as a threat on their lives.

According to TMZ, and in a statement posted on the AI website, the show says:

"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."

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