John Wilkes Booth conspirator’s relative threatens American Idol’s judges

In a strange segment, a man whose great-great-great-great-grandfather (or maybe just three greats) was jailed for helping John Wilkes Booth after Booth assassinated Lincoln showed up to audition for American Idol and ended up threatening the show’s four judges.

Mark Mudd is related to Samuel Mudd, the physician and convicted Lincoln conspirator who is literally responsible for the phrase “your name is mud” because he treated Booth’s broken leg. Ryan helpfully explained that to us in a mini-history lesson that was complete with illustrations.

Mark, who initially told us “I’ve almost died five times,” mangled a song in his audition, and then as he was leaving, turned and said, “Ya’ll take careful and be careful. … I’m just sayin’, be careful in whatever you do.”

Paula Abdul seemed most freaked out, saying, “That’s not a normal thing to say,” although she then told him to be careful. Then she said, “I don’t know about you, but I’m flying out tonight.”

Also last night, an auditioner took Paula’s Coca-Cola cup and drank from it, prompting her to whisper to the producers, “he’s sipping through my straw!” After he left, she pushed it away and asked for a new cup.

And in a moment of frustration, Kara crawled underneath the desk, prompting Randy Jackson to start freaking out because of the possible sexual connotation, which Kara quickly validated by telling Paula, “let’s both go down.”

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.