The Maroon 5 singer, 34, was overheard muttering those words after two of his contestants, Judith Hill and Sarah Simmons, were eliminated.
Facing a backlash, he later posted definitions on Twitter for the words “misunderstand,” “lighthearted,” “humorless” and “joke.”
He also released a statement Wednesday through NBC clarifying the remark, though not apologizing for it. “I obviously love my country very much and my comments last night were made purely out of frustration,” he said.
That frustration was expressed in an interview after the show on Tuesday. “People didn’t vote for two of the best singers in the competition, and it makes me sad and little bit p–– off, to be honest with you … I believe in the talent of these singers and maybe their talent was overshadowed by some other things … To lose two at once, especially two who are so strong and beloved, doesn’t make any sense to me.”
Clearly upset, Levine’s comment came in the heat of the moment – but also on the air.