‘Idol’ Axes David Archuleta’s Stage Dad

American Idol’s resident Papa Bear has growled one too many times. After refuting repeated labelings as David Archuleta’s “stage dad from hell,” Jeff Archuleta has been banished from all Idol rehearsals. He is permitted to attend show tapings but forbidden from being near any discussions of song selection or presentation.

Seventeen-year-old David, a Mormon who hails from Murray, Utah, has long been considered a front-runner. His performances have been criticized for not being choices he would have made, with Simon Cowell one time telling him on camera, “I don’t think that is you at all, and I’d be amazed if you chose the song yourself.”

In this latest incident, TMZ has learned, Jeff wanted David to insert a verse from Sean Kingston’s “Beautiful Girls” into his rendition of “Stand by Me.” Producers nixed the idea and were shocked to see it done Daddy’s way in the live performance. The result was a costly make-good by Idol…and a sit-down for Jeff with AI lawyers.

“It’s Idol’s position,” TMZ said, “since David is 17, he does not need a guardian—just a teacher. Jeff will be allowed to sit in the audience during the live show, but he’s 86’d from anything backstage.”

Friends have stepped up in support of Jeff, telling People, “It is completely unfair that he be taking the brunt of this.”

The too-hands-on pop must be fuming. But the heat is on for the Idol final three; so let’s hope David can bid Daddy dearest adieu long enough to set his eyes on the prize…and avoid his whuppin’.