Archuleta family friends are speaking out to PEOPLE in support of Idol finalist David Archuleta’s father, Jeff, whose backstage privileges have been revoked until further notice, according to reports.
Jeff Archuleta was accused of interfering in the production when he wanted David, 17, to alter his “Stand By Me” performance by adding a verse from Sean Kingston’s 2007 summer hit “Beautiful Girls,” against producers’ wishes.
“I get frustrated with this because of course they never get the story the way it really is,” says Richard Parkinson, 35, of Murray, Utah, who for the last three years has been working with David Archuleta on arrangements, and has also written and performed with the young Idol star. “It is completely unfair that he be taking the brunt of this, if that’s exactly what’s going on. It’s awful … It’s really awful.”
David’s voice coach, Dean Kaelin, told PEOPLE in an email Saturday: “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 on site to help with their arrangements. It is not a punishment.”
Kaelin calls David “a good kid” and adds: “Jeff just happens to be there because David is a minor and is required by law to have a guardian with him. David’s dad is just a caring, concerned parent that fortunately has some musical expertise, and some fear that because of this David receives an unfair advantage.”
Parkinson also denies the “stage-dad” allegations. “Jeff is a great guy. He’s involved. He’s intense. I’m intense. Sometimes don’t like that. He’s raised a great kid. We absolutely love him. It’s unfair and uncalled for.”–Jed Dreben and Carolyn CampbellMicelotta/American Idol 2008/Getty