Time on ‘American Idol’ Was ‘Miserable,’ ‘Traumatic’

  • David Archuleta sat down for an interview with Variety.
  • Archuleta, 30, recalled his time as a contestant on “American Idol” season 7.
  • He said the experience was “painful”.

The alum David Archuleta on “American Idol” recalled the time he spent competing on the series as a teenager, calling it “shocking.”

In an interview with Variety’s Adam B. Vary, the 30-year-old talked about everything from his sexuality to striking stardom while being an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. At one point, Archuleta recalled his “American Idol” ride.

“I felt so disconnected from it all,” Archuleta, 30, told Variety. “Like, 13 years later, I’m putting together what was really going on. But it’s still practical because I still don’t understand why people care about it.”

He added, “I think I was on the sandbox the whole time. If anything, I was putting up a wall between myself and everyone else.”

Archuleta broke out onto the “American Idol” scene at just 16 years old and would finish second behind winner David Cook in Season 7. He told Variety that the experience was “painful” and “miserable” due to the stress, adding that most of his fellow contestants had some kind of nervous breakdown while filming.

American Idol poses with David Archuleta alongside David Cook.

David Archuleta and David Cook competed during the seventh season of “American Idol.”

GNA / Getty Images


As Variety reported, Archuleta remembered competing in the second round of the semi-finals with his John Lennon “Imagine” cover, which successfully impressed the jury.

Former American Idol judge Randy Jackson told Archuleta that he was “born to do exactly what you do,” but that all Archuleta had in his head was, “I don’t want to be here anymore.”

The outlet noted that the quirks of fame – cheering fans and thousands of “American Idol” votes each week – were confusing at the time. Archuleta said he was overwhelmed by “older male fans” speculating about his sexuality, his hectic schedule, and his confrontations with fellow contestants.

However, Archuleta struggles to blame the same TV show that promoted him as a teen idol.

He told Variety, “I’m afraid to blame things on ‘American Idol,’ because something in me is programmed to say, ‘I should be grateful, because where would I be without it? “But at the same time, I spoke to other American Idol contestants about how we deal with trust issues. Like: “You can’t trust anyone anymore, not even your family.” That’s what we were told.”

Archuleta went on to say that the process was “like some weird grooming, from the first test, and the way they were talking to us, kind of like, ‘You’re helpless little bugs. If you get out of line, you’re out of here, and you’re missing out on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. “

David Archuleta’s representatives did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Former contestant David Archuletta performs live on American Idol Season 8 Top 7 Elimination Show

David Archuleta performs live on Season 7 of ‘American Idol’.

M. Baker / American Idol 2009 / Getty Images


In a statement to Variety, former “American Idol” executive producer Nigel Lithjoy said he had a “terrific” time with Archuleta.

“I had a wonderful time working with David and was not fully aware of his grievances. I am so sorry he remembers poorly his experiences on the show. He did so well in competition, and his fight with David Cook provided a very exciting finale opportunity,” the statement read.

Archuleta went on to record his first single, “Crash” which went double platinum and appeared in teen television series such as Nickelodeon’s “I Carly”.

In June 2021, Archuleta made headlines after revealing that he is a member of the LGBTQIA+ community.

At the time, he wrote that he was unsure about his sexuality. He initially came out as gay to his family in 2014 before later deciding that he belonged to the “intersex spectrum” or possibly asexual.

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