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David Archuleta Defends Dad

"American Idol" runner-up David Archuleta says his father is a "great guy" and keeps the 17-year-old crooner grounded -- as opposed to being the overbearing, classic stage dad numerous press reports have described him as.

Reports surfaced as the "Idol" competition was drawing to a close that producers had taken away Jeff Archuleta's backstage pass to get him out of their hair.

But, on The Early Show Thursday, David told co-anchor Maggie Rodriguez his father is "a great guy. And I really appreciate his support and all my family's support. You know, he's given great advice, but he's let me do my own thing. And it's been great to have him there, just reminding me to keep grounded and remember what's important."

David impressed millions of "Idol" fans with his powerhouse, yet velvet voice, and his sweet personality.

Asked by Rodriguez what it's like being out of the " 'Idol' bubble" and experiencing the "adoration" he's felt in the real world, the Murray, Utah native said it's been "pretty weird. We're petty shut off from the world in our little 'American Idol' area, but it's great to be out and finally starting to concentrate on your own career and stuff now."

Later, he added, "I'm excited to start working on my own album -- just so excited to see how that works, because that's what I've been wishing for."

When he was shown a clip of himself on The Early Show in 2003 as he entered the "Star Search" finals in which he'd ultimately be named best junior vocalist, a chuckling Archuleta said, "I've loved music for my whole life, pretty much. ... I still love to sing. I'm glad that I've made it this far. I had no idea I'd be standing here back then."

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