David Archuleta’s father Jeff was not banned from rehearsals and other backstage areas because of David’s decision to add extra lyrics or for the sake of fairness, but to “take some pressure away,” according to American Idol 7‘s executive producer. In other words, it’s because his dad is overbearing.
Nigel Lythgoe told Entertainment Weekly that “It has nothing to do with fairness. We just want everyone to have an equal opportunity, and if that’s fairness, fine. But 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.”
While Lythgoe mostly avoids the question of whether or not Jeff Archuleta is a “stage dad” (“And what is a stage dad, or a stage mom? It’s someone who’s protective. That’s all.”), his answer basically says that David was being unnecessarily pressured by his father during rehearsals.
Lythgoe confirmed the ban by saying Jeff “has been asked not to participate in the choice of music with David or be in the room when David is working out his routines that he wants to sing. He’s fine to be in the studio — nothing wrong with that. We just want David to be able to be free like everybody else to get on and do what they want to do.”