While millions of girls scream in delight over David Archuleta every week on American Idol, his father has come under fire for screaming of a different kind.
Celebrity gossip site TMZ.com, for example, has reported that Jeff Archuleta - a 47-year-old small business owner in Salt Lake City - has "screamed at his son and has even withheld water during rehearsals, even bringing his son to tears."
Is Jeff truly this hard on his talented offspring? Us Weekly recently spoke with him to find out...
How would you characterize your involvement with David's career?
Because I'm also a musician, I'm probably a little bit more involved. I kind of look at it like, 'I'm David's music consultant,' someone he can bounce ideas off, who can help him because I do have a lot of experience.
How do you collaborate with David?
When we have a chance to sit down and talk - which is usually at night or in the morning - we'll discuss the songs and the choices he has. He'll ask me what I think, and I'll ask him what he feels good about, and we'll arrive at a consensus. Sometimes he'll call his mom up and get her in-put. We have a family team that tries to help David feel good about his song choices.
When did you realize he had this talent and how did you encourage him?
I first realized he had talent when he was 4 or 5, and his mom taught him to play "Little Drummer Boy" and a church song on the piano. He played very well, but he was very shy and didn't really sing much. When we moved from Florida to Utah when he was 6, we didn't have a piano. I gave him a video to listen to one day just to keep him and his little brother busy while my wife and I were unpacking.
Over the next couple of years, he got quite into musicals, like Into the Woods and Evita. He'd watch the videos and sing the songs, and I could tell he definitely had talent. When he was 10 and learning Celine Dion and some Whitney Houston songs, I started hearing that he was going after the runs and the licks that usually [only] the divas can do.
But he still didn't want to sing much, so we just had to wait until he wanted to. Then when he did, we just tried to find opportunities for him. We never were the type of parents who had him be in every talent show. He was in one talent competition when he was 10, and the next one he was in was Star Search.
He did very well. He had just turned 12 and ended up winning his particular division, Junior Singer. Obviously, he realized then that people like to hear him sing, and it gave him more confidence. The best thing was the feedback from people â€" that's been David's motivation. He thought, 'Wow, if I can make people feel good through my singing, then I feel good singing.' That's what he thrives on.
On the March 25 episode, viewers saw a glimpse of a girl. Ryan Seacrest said David was taking her to prom. True?
That wasn't accurate at all â€" that was just something Ryan said. Someone must have said something just because there was a friend of his [there] who happened to be a girl. It wasn't a girlfriend; she's more like his sister.