Poor Mark Mudd. His unique performance of “White Lightning” during American Idol‘s auditions in Louisville was shot down by the judges, and though visibly crestfallen, he seemed to take it OK. We’ve certainly seen worse. However, when he was saying goodbye, he told the judges to “be careful”—which freaked out Paula Abdul, particularly after one of the guys who thought that parting statement was more “be careful and watch your back because I’m a crazy person” than “be careful out there in that crazy world of ours” said, “That’s a threat.” Understandable, I guess, given Paula’s recent troubles, but I don’t know.
Now, I’m from the South, and I’ve seen plenty of Mark Mudds in my day. I just don’t find Mark Mudd all that threatening. He might be a bit strange, but dude’s just country, through and through. He’s probably the type of guy who says “ma’am” and “sir” and stuff. And apparently, in Kentucky, people say “Be careful” as a pleasant adieu all of the time. (I’ve heard people use “be careful” in that way before, though I wouldn’t say said usage is widespread here in Georgia.) I reached out to some people from Kentucky; nobody could confirm or deny this usage with total certainty, but this comment from “ukcatnip” (that’s uk as in University of Kentucky, btw) on a Louisville Courier-Journal story last week was particularly helpful:
In regard to Mark Mudd, I felt it was unnecessary to Idol to carry on as if Mudd saying “be careful” was a threat. I know many people from this state as well as others in this region to when saying goodbye to someone says for them to “be careful.” I don’t expect Abdul to be aware of all vernaculars used across the country but for her sudden confrontation of, “You don’t tell people that!” was over the top and dramatic. To further for Idol to talk about an audition “turning ugly” in reference to Mudd was uncalled for as well. I realize as well the judges more than likely have had threats, but I don’t feel anything in Mudd’s demeanor gave way for the theatrics that followed.
Mudd handled it well, besides saying “be careful” sounds much better than “I hope no more fans kill themself outside your apartment Paula.”
Agreed. It looks like the Idol producers agreed, too, and they issued an apology to Mark Mudd with the statement: “We now know better and look forward to visiting Louisville again someday.” Although those auditioners better be careful themselves, lest they be in for a life of American idling.
“American Idol” apologizes for “be careful” misinterpretation [KVOA; HT MJ]
Ky. auditions give ‘Idol’ dramatic start [Louisville Courier-Journal]