So American Idol‘s juiciest controversy rumbles on: Is David Archuleta’s father an oppressive "stage dad" or just a good parent who wants the best for his son?
Frustratingly for Idol addicts, the girl involved in the most notorious of the alleged incidents said today that she can’t remember enough about it to put the matter to rest. But then, she was just 10 years old at the time.
Teen star Tiffany Evans has been at the center of the rumors since it was reported that Jeff Archuleta intimidated her while she was competing against his son on the TV talent show Star Search.
But Tiffany would only tell OK! that, while she knew there were "things was going on" surrounding Jeff during Star Search, she "doesn’t recall" much about her relationship with him.
For weeks now, gossips have been claiming that Jeff Archuleta, 46, from Murray, Utah, is a pushy "stage dad" who brought his 17-year-old son to tears by haranguing him during Idol rehearsals. And some TV insiders say such behavior would be nothing new for Jeff.
Tiffany, who is now a fully fledged artist, competed against David on Star Search. She was named the show’s Grand Champion, while David, now a favorite to win Idol, aced the Junior Singer category.
The New York Post has quoted an unnamed CBS executive who worked on the show as saying that Mr. Archuleta was banned from backstage after other parents complained that he was, "trying to subtly psyche out the other kids."
Meanwhile, the L.A. Rag Mag Web site said that Tiffany, who was 10 years old at the time, was one of the kids in question. A member of staff from the show told the site that Jeff had "cornered" Tiffany and told her that his son was going to win. The staffer said that producers took action after he called her at night in her hotel room.
But today, speaking exclusively to OK!, Tiffany said that while she was very close to David, and did spend some time around Jeff, she "doesn’t recall" much about her relationship with him.
While she said that she was aware of "things going on" surrounding Mr. Archuleta, Tiffany, 15, from the Bronx, refused to spill on the ‘what’ they might have been. She also declined to comment on the allegations that Mr. Archuleta called her at night.
Tiffany, whose self-titled debut album in due out later this month, said: "I’ve heard some things about him [in the past weeks] and I’ve heard something about this story, but I will say, at the time, I really don’t recall my relationship with [David’s] father.
"There were things going on, but I don’t recall my relationship with his father."
"It’s been so long. I [was 10] then and I’m going to be 16," she added. "I hung around [Jeff Archuleta] a couple of times, but I don’t recall the relationship."
But Tiffany clearly has nothing but affection for David himself.
"I’m proud of him. He’s grown up. And he’s very handsome too!" she said.
"Basically, me and David hung out a lot [during Star Search]. We talked about a lot of things and he’s a really sweet kid.
"He didn’t cause a lot of problems. He was drama free. He got along with everybody, he was never really competitive, he was just a really sweet kid."
Since Star Search, Tiffany herself has gone on to great things. She has appeared on Oprah twice and acted in the an episode of The District and the movie Diary of a Mad Black Woman. She has worked with Timbaland and her single Promise Ring sold over 100,000 copies and 110,000 ringtones.
The new album, Tiffany Evans, is in stores from April 22 and features collaborations with platinum artists Bow Wow and Ciara, and production by Grammy winner Narada Michael Walden.
"There’s a lot of great things happening right now — we’re getting ready for the album release. I’m very excited!" she said.