Jeff Archuleta banned from American Idol rehearsals

Jeff Archuleta, who was banned from the Star Search set when his son David performed on that show, has now been banned from some of American Idol‘s backstage areas.

Jeff, a notorious stage dad who has reportedly made David cry this season, has “been banned from rehearsals. … Jeff Archuleta was told this week by producers that he can no longer join his 17-year-old son David as he prepares for the show,” the AP reported, confirming an initial TMZ report.

The reason for the rehearsal ban is Jeff’s insistence that David change the lyrics to “Stand By Me” last week even though producers said no, and when David did that during the live show, it cost producers money. “Jeff Archuleta insisted on altering ‘Stand by Me,’ one of two songs his son sang on the show Tuesday. By adding a verse from Sean Kingston’s ‘Beautiful Girls,’ the father incurred additional costs for ‘American Idol,'” the AP reported, citing an anonymous source associated with the production.

However, Dean Kaelin, David’s vocal coach, defended Jeff to People and said that he “is just not allowed to go into the arranging sessions with David. It is more of a fairness issue than anything else, since the other two contestants don’t have people on site to help with their arrangements. It is not a punishment. … David’s dad is just a caring, concerned parent that fortunately has some musical expertise, and some people fear that because of this David receives an unfair advantage.”

Earlier, Jeff Archuleta defended his behavior. “I’m definitely involved with my son, and I encourage him, but I think that’s a lot different from forcing and threatening and all that stuff. There was absolutely no truth in any of the stories about me yelling at David, making him cry, or withholding water from him. That was crazy!” he told Us Weekly. “Because I’m also a musician, I’m probably a little bit more involved. I kind of look at it like, ‘I’m David’s music consultant,’ someone he can bounce ideas off, who can help him because I do have a lot of experience.”

But he comes across as overbearing even while he says he’s not overbearing. “When we have a chance to sit down and talk — which is usually at night or in the morning — we’ll discuss the songs and the choices he has. He’ll ask me what I think, and I’ll ask him what he feels good about, and we’ll arrive at a consensus. Sometimes he’ll call his mom up and get her in-put. We have a family team that tries to help David feel good about his song choices,” he said.

Jeff also calls his 17-year-old son “a reluctant singer,” but doesn’t seem to think that’s a good enough reason to leave him the hell alone.

‘Idol’ bans Archuleta’s dad from rehearsals [AP]
Archuleta’s Dad Banished from “Idol” [TMZ]
Family Friends Defend David Archuleta’s Dad [People]
David Archuleta’s Father: I’m No ‘Stage Dad’ [Us Weekly]

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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.