Paula Abdul & Simon Cowell mistake a local saying for a threat

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The judges on “American Idol” really will do just about anything to stir up a controversy and create drama. While most of the auditions bring enough interesting fodder without help from the judges, Paula, Simon, Randy, and Kara like to provoke contestants whenever they can. But it seems like they’re getting desperate this season. During their Louisville auditions, one failed singer politely told them, “take care and be careful” on his way out the door. Apparently this was immediately viewed as a threat by the judges. What a natural reaction.

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.”

[From the Huffington Post]

While I’ve never heard that particular form of goodbye, there’s nothing offensive or threatening about it. Even if I didn’t know it was a saying in Louisville, I think I’d just appreciate the thought and move on. If nothing else, it sounds like a kindness. How highly strung would you have to be to get bent out of shape by something as innocuous as “be careful.” Considering how many crazy people show up for “American Idol” auditions, you’d think the judges could be decent to the ones that are just being polite.

Images thanks to WENN.

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36 Responses to “Paula Abdul & Simon Cowell mistake a local saying for a threat”

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  1. sissoucat says:

    As in be careful… not to mix up your medication ?

  2. daisy424 says:

    Paula, you need to fire your stylist and fast. Unfortunate choice unless you’re a gladiator.

  3. Raye says:

    In Paula’s defense a former contestant who threatened to kill her did just commit suicide in front of her house. You can’t really blame her for being on edge.

  4. Orange Danish says:

    Raye: Yeah, I can understand that for Paula. But, Simon? None of his stupid antics or comments have gotten him threats, have they? Or have I been living under a rock?

  5. tigerlille says:

    I hear people say things like, “Take care,” “Be Safe,” and “Drive carefully” all the time..and all over the country.

  6. aleach says:

    yeah that was stupid, they overreacted big time and probably made that kid feel worse than he already did frm being dissed by simon…poor guy.

  7. Syko says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever heard “be careful” as a parting phrase, other than if your kid is borrowing your Corvette or someone is planning to climb a mountain – but living in the south, phrases such as “take care” seem common and even a little warmer than simply “goodbye”, it tends to imply that you mean something to the person saying it. I like it. I also like “kiss your sweet mama for me, now” and “y’all come back and see us”. I’m still a little nervous about “have a blessed day” being bestowed on me by my bus driver, though.

  8. tigerlille says:

    @ Daisy424:

    Maybe Paula thinks she’s on American Gladiator? An honest mistake, I’m sure.

  9. Celebitchy says:

    I saw that one and they played it up big time. The guy looked genuinely shocked that they were asking him to say it again as if it was something out of the ordinary.

  10. vdantev says:

    I saw an interview Paula was giving some months after her plane wreck and she was slurring and jerking her head around like someone with severe neural damage or some brain trauma, so I’m not surprised she misinterpreted something said to her. It’s not medication, she’s damaged.

  11. Ash says:

    AW man, I wish I would have seen this.

  12. rules says:

    Being in the south people say things like this all the time down here, take care, have a goodin, have a blessed and what I hear most is “be careful out there”. People say that one a lot around here. They just didnt understand southern hospitality and politeness.

  13. sucks says:

    For the love of god please someobody just kill this show already. It’s such a waste of airwaves.

  14. cc says:

    I am from Texas and I say that quite often. To me, it is a friendly way of saying you care about someone enough you think of their safety. Saying it to strangers is Southern Hospitality.

  15. cakes says:

    I grew up in Missouri and we said this all the time. No big deal

  16. aubiegirl says:

    In Alabama, you almost feel slighted if someone DOESN’T say “be careful” as a goodbye. To me, that’s the nicest thing you could say to someone. It’s like a staple saying down here.

  17. Mairead says:

    While I use “take care” all the time, I’ve never said “be careful” unless it’s relating to something specific like Syko said.

    But using pretend-paranoia to drum up a few column inches and make that poor fella feel like scum… nice one lads, that’ll totally divert everyone’s attention from the fact that people are getting bored with you now *rolleyes*

  18. Curly Fry says:

    Living in Tennessee, I’m told to be careful at least three times a day. Granted that neither Paula or Simon are Southern, and I didn’t see the episode, but I don’t understand how they could feel threatened. I doubt he used a threatening tone of voice or any type of threatening mannerisms.

  19. Diva says:

    I watched that show when it aired last week. Simon thought the guy was carrying a gun when he first came in, which may have been the stepping stone for the paranoia with the “Be careful” statement. Paula DID tell him he shouldn’t say things like that to people, but she wasn’t the one freaking out about it, she said it nicely, in more of an “advice” kinda way. The new chick was the one who called it a threat and was acting like the guy had done something awful. Kinda messed up that Paula and Simon are the ones getting called on this!

  20. Diva says:

    Btw, it wasn’t a gun, it was just something strapped to the guy’s belt… I don’t remember what. Simon just thought it was a holster when the guy first walked in.

  21. boomchakaboom says:

    I’m stunned. We say take care and be careful every day to everyone from the meter reader to our loved ones. It’s a way of expressing that you give a damn that the other person makes it through another day. Idol judges, you are officially off the list. Rest easy. Whoa there!

  22. gg says:

    I say that every day as I’m headed out from work, and whenever anybody leaves my house. You never know when you might not ever see the person again – it just shows you care and you want them to be safe.

  23. Aspen says:

    It’s a Southern thing. God. You know, I swear that Yankees know less about America all the time. You hole up in your high rises and look down on “flyover country,” and so many people I’ve met from New England and the West Coast have never even BEEN to The South. I’ve traveled all over the place and would never be so thrown by someone using a local vernacular.

    How could ANYONE misconstrue “be careful” as a threat when it’s being delivered as a parting politeness?

    She seriously scolded him for saying it?

  24. Aspen says:

    And…if you’re a bigshot from NYC going to Louisville KENTUCKY, for God’s sake…I mean, don’t they give these people culture briefings on the plane or something?

  25. Diva says:

    Paula said what she said because that Cara chick was freaking out, Aspen. She didn’t say it scoldingly, I don’t feel. It was more advice because Cara said it was a threat and Simon was following along.

    The wrong “judge” is getting the fuzzy end of this lollipop.

  26. Rio says:

    I’m in Georgia, my family is almost pure Kentuckian– and yeah, it’s *darned* impolite NOT to say something like “be careful” when you leave someone’s company. I personally say “take care” for all somewhat-formal correspondence, but I’m of the “younger generation” (early 20s) so, while we want to keep many of the traditions of our parents and grandparents, we know how insanely formal those traditions are. (For the record, my college nicknames were “Old Fashioned” and Miss Cotillion”, lol!)
    NOW, if he’d said “bless your heart” while being dismissed…WELL, all Southern ladies know *exactly* what “bless your heart* actually means 😉

  27. dahlia6 says:

    Having lived in KY most of my life, I’ve always heard this expression. Its just a way of letting people know we care and want them to be safe. What is so terrible about wishing someone well? How big of an uptight prick do you have to be to get pissed over someone wishing you well?

  28. Alecto says:

    LOL Rio!!

    Poor Paula, bless her heart, she’s just a wacked out pill popping gladiator with horrid fashion sense.

    Ya’ll take care out there.

  29. DMN says:

    “My name is hasbeenius Botoxius maximus, and i will be a celebrity, in this life or the next…”

  30. BigBluePappy says:

    Cultural briefings?
    As a lifelong KENTUCKY resident (praise God, born and reared here), fairly well educated and functional in most polite societal circumstances, since when has it been the Ney York, Cali, Eoru Elites call as to what is culture?
    After traveling to New Yawk, LA (West Coast LA for those who get it) and elsewhere for business purposes I truly believe at least some of the remaining world could stand some Southern Culture and Charm; we actually give a damn about our fellow man and (GASP!) choose to exhibit and vocalize it.
    What a kind, humanitarian concept!

    Y’all have a Blessed Day now, Y’hear?!

  31. anastasiabeaverhausen says:

    I live in Texas and take care is VERY normal. I don’t hear be careful, but it wouldn’t make me bat an eye.

  32. Mark says:

    Could somebody please tell these people that they used up their 15 minutes a LONG TIME AGO?!

  33. Keekee says:

    Paula and Simon: Dumb and Dumber Part Deux.

  34. get to the choppa says:

    Wow, that’s ridiculous. I always hear people say “be careful” or “take care”, usually when they’re about to drive somewhere though. Paula probably drank too much jesus juice

  35. Diva says:

    Yeah, I’m going to keep saying it, even though no one seems to want to hear that PAULA wasn’t the one that freaked out about this… CARA did, and to a lesser degree Simon.

    But, people just want to hear it was Crazy Paula, huh? To hell with the reality when gossip is more fun!


  36. JMC says:

    BigBlue…I don’t get what you are saying. Culture is culture–it just is. Outsiders don’t dictate what a culture consists of. They might (mis)interpret it, but they don’t decide what it is.

    Or did I misunderstand you like the Idol Judges? ha!