LOS ANGELES – The executive producer of "American Idol" is giving his side of story regarding contestant David Archuleta's father being banished from rehearsals.
Backstage meddling caught up with Jeff Archuleta, the father of the 17-year-old contestant, leading to the dad's ban from rehearsals, a person working for the TV talent contest said last Friday, according to TMZ and the Associated Press.
But "Idol" executive producer Nigel Lythgoe tells EW.com that while "'banished' is a terrible word," he and the other "Idol" producers want Archuleta "to be able to be free like everybody else" in his performances.
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," a source told the Associated Press.
Regarding "Stand by Me," Lythgoe says it was "a total misunderstanding" that led producers to say, "OK, this is what we want to happen from now on."
Archuleta defends his father in the new TV Guide, saying, "I don’t really care what people say, but I know it’s affected him and stressed him out." He adds, "I've heard some weird things that people have been saying, and it’s kind of a bummer. I think I, of all people, would know what’s going on, and he's been great."
Tuesday night, TMZ reported that Jeff Archuleta was "shooting daggers" at Lythgoe and other show staffers. Jeff Archuleta also became enraged as he watched Lythgoe get visibly excited as contestant David Cook performed, TMZ reports.
The third finalist left in competition for the "Idol" title and a record contract is Syesha Mercado. The finale is next week.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.