Believe it or not, an Archuleta has gotten the Idol boot this week. No, not our producer-pimped Idol-to-be, silly. (Hell is still pretty hot, from what I hear.) It’s Jeff Archuleta — a.k.a. David Archuleta’s dad — who’s been sent packing from backstage of Fox’s juggernaut.
According to reports, ArchuDad was told he would be banned from rehearsals after insisting that the show allow David to combine Ben E. King’s "Stand by Me" with lyrics from"Beautiful Girls" — Sean Kingston’s recent hit that borrows riffs from King’s classic. Not terribly reprehensible, until you consider that such an alteration forced Idol to pay an extra song clearance fee. (ArchuDad’s rumored creepy, overbearing behavior, apparently, was acceptable to Fox. But his demands that they shill out extra green for his son? Guess the show only has so many surfaces it can plaster with Coke ads before it runs out of cash.)
Now, it’s no secret that ArchuDad has been at the forefront of his son’s Idol journey — EW’s own Jessica Shaw witnessed him taking the reins during David’s rehearsals for Neil Diamond week — and rumblings that he psyched out his son’s Star Search competitors years ago certainly doesn’t help support denials that David has been a passive agent when it comes to song choice and arrangement throughout the competition. In fact, the ArchuDad ban is leaving most fans wondering: will the nearly unstoppable power vocalist falter this week without his father to guide him to heaping panel praise? That is, can David go it alone?
I, for one, am hoping that the squinting, seemingly ever-tensecontestant will finally loosen up without the parental judgment loomingover his shoulder. (I’ve always suspected there’s more to David’snerves than just performing in front of the live audience and panel.)And who knows what kind of arrangements this kid could whip out withouthis father encouraging him to reject songs with less-than-G-ratedlyrics? But even still, I’ve never been a proponent of having 16- and17-year-olds battle it out for the Idol victory — heck, even at23, I don’t think I could handle the emotional pressure of the show —and all the news about ArchuDad’s presence makes me hope even more thatthe show one day ups the bottom age range a few ticks to avoid parentalinvolvement altogether.
So what do you think, Idol fans? Will David pull out another"Stand By Me" or will he go the way of "We Can Work It Out" withoutArchuDad? Do you think contestants’ parents should be allowedbackstage, or that minors should be allowed to compete at all?