Nigel Lythgoe on Jeff Archuleta: It's about taking "some pressure away here"

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American Idol executive producer Nigel Lythgoe (top right) spoke with EW.com today about the recent reports that Jeff Archuleta (bottom left, with David and mother Lupe), the father of 17-year-old Idol contestant David Archuleta, has been barred from participating in his son’s preparations for the show. Here’s what Lythgoe had to say:

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: There have been reports that Jeff Archuleta was banished from backstage, but then David’s vocal coach gave a radio interview in which he said that wasn’t the case. What light can you shed on this?
NIGEL LYTHGOE: “Banished” is a terrible word, isn’t it? It sounds like we’re in some far-off kingdom. He 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.

Does that have anything to do with the lyric change during David A.’s performance of “Stand By Me?”
There was a lyric change that happened that was a total misunderstanding. Just another, um, step along the way of us saying, “Okay, this is what we want to happen from now on.”

The vocal coach had said Jeff being asked not to participate backstage was more of an issue of fairness, essentially that David Cook and Syesha Mercado don’t have anyone helping them out choosing songs or making arrangements.
No, no, no. 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.

The rap on the father is that he’s a bit of a stage dad.
And what is a stage dad, or a stage mom? It’s someone who’s protective. That’s all.


(Click here for EW.com’s latest episode of Idolatry, focusing on dream song choices for the final 3.)

Comments (174 total) Add your comment
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  • wontonjon

    well if it’s not obvious that archie is the favorite to win, then i don’t know what is

  • heatheronthehill

    Archie is a 1 trick pony. David Cook is the REAL DEAL!!!

  • Kris

    I don’t see Archie as the favorite anymore at all. Whenever Ryan asks him a question he can never come up with anything to say. I think his Dad is probably more to do with his success than anything. I think you take that away and America will see what I’ve seen all along. He’s got a great voice, but he’s boring and a total ballad singer of songs that are way too old for him. He’s not current, he’s not fun, he never looks happy, and he lacks charisma. The only thing getting him through this competition has been the incredible amounts of young women voting for him. If he wins mark my words that his album will not sell as well as Cook’s and he will fade away like the Taylor’s and Sanjaya’s.

  • Kat

    Archuleta doesn’t have any other style besides performing ballads. What did he do for rock night? Another ballad. He sings well, but he really bores me.

  • Kacey

    I call BS. Like I said before, I think it really stinks that Idol producers are pulling the “equal opportunity” card this late in the game. The dad should have been “asked not to participate” from the beginning if that is the case. They had to know that this drama would be a distraction to little David, not to mention a huge embarrassment for him. As if he really needs this right before the finals.I believe Idol producers are trying to throw David Archuletta’s game off by not allowing his father to be involved now because they obviously want David Cook to win.

  • Loop

    I am so over this show… but this kid’s dad sounds like Kit Culkin Version 2.0

  • Kacey

    I call BS. Like I said before, I think it really stinks that Idol producers are pulling the “equal opportunity” card this late in the game. The dad should have been “asked not to participate” from the beginning if that is the case. They had to know that this drama would be a distraction to little David, not to mention a huge embarrassment for him. As if he really needs this right before the finals.I believe Idol producers are trying to throw David Archuletta’s game off by not allowing his father to be involved now because they obviously want David Cook to win.

  • DW.

    This bit from Time.com is particularly interesting:
    > Despite a warning, 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 person said.
    That about says it all. “We don’t care about fairness, choice, the dad being a pain, whatever. But when you start costing us money, that’s the last straw.”

  • Jamsa

    In a way, I think it is good for David and the crew. They can move freely without the dad watching every move. Good point, just taking the the pressure a little bit. Archuleta for the win!!!!!!!

  • Anonymous

    Actually he’ll be singing a VERY current song tonight. As in released in 2007

  • Suzanne

    Actually, I’m kind of impressed with this answer, and I’m glad he made clear that it’s not about Stand By Me. I guess they thought that David needed some space, so okay.

  • nick

    i think what we have here between the two davids is very similar to clay vs ruben. one is the better singer and one is a very good singer but a little more of a ‘star’. i voted for ruben back then cause i thought the better singer should win. i now think the ‘star’ should win, cause thats more idol.

  • John

    I never get bored at his ballads as well as his non-ballad songs. His pop music will be sold way more than rock songs. By the time he reaches at 25, his name will be well known worldwide.

  • REPORT THIS GUY

    I’m concerned Nigel is stickin it to this kid.

  • REPORT THIS GUY

    I’m concerned Nigel is stickin it to this kid.

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