While he may have appeared calm during his three performances on Tuesday night’s “American Idol,” David Archuleta has reportedly found himself in the middle of a growing backstage war between his father and the show’s producers.
The first salvos were fired Monday, when news broke that “Idol” had banned Archuleta’s father, Jeff — who, according to some, is a domineering, career-minded stage dad — from being backstage with his son as he prepares for the show. The order came after Jeff reportedly ordered David to insert Sean Kingston lyrics into a version of Ben E. King’s “Stand by Me,” a move that cost the show additional song-clearance fees.
As that story began to gain traction, both David and “Idol” producers went into damage control. “[My dad has] given me a lot of good advice and helped me from making any dumb decisions,” Arch telling TV Guide. And “Idol” executive producer Nigel Lythgoe confirmed to Entertainment Weekly that while Jeff “has been asked not to participate in the choice of music with David,” the reports of his bad behavior have been blown out of proportion.
“[Jeff] is fine to be in the studio — nothing wrong with that. We just want David to be free like everybody else to get on and do what they want to do,” Lythgoe said. “This is more of just the fact of ‘Let’s take some pressure away here,’ you know? It’s like anybody appearing in front of their mom and dad. Let’s just open up the pressure cooker, release the pressure, and, you just get on and do what you gotta do.”
But on Tuesday night’s episode of “Idol,” Jeff was apparently not in the mood for pressure-cooker analogies, making his displeasure with Lythgoe known to anyone who was in the studio.
According to TMZ.com, the elder Archuleta “stared [Lythgoe] down” during commercial breaks, and was “enraged as he watched the executive producer visibly excited as David Cook performed.” He was reportedly also “chummy” with judges Randy Jackson and Paula Abdul, but had “no interaction at all” with Simon Cowell.
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