If there’s a sentimental favorite early in Season 12 of American Idol, it’s Lazaro Arbos.
We were introduced to the 21-year-old from Naples, Fla., by way of Cuba, at the end of Idol’s Chicago audition episode.
His mother says he’s had lots of therapy, but it hasn’t helped. In fact, it got worse when the family moved from Cuba to the U.S. when he was 10.
Lazaro describes his struggle with stuttering as “a roller coaster.” And at times, it’s made him a loner because no one wanted to hang out with him.
For his Idol audition, Lazaro performed “A Bridge Over Troubled Waters,” and the feedback had Lazaro in tears.
Keith Urban and Mariah Carey each complimented him on a beautiful voice. Nicki Minaj said she loved the vibe he brought into the room.
Oh, as for being a loner, Lazaro can forget all about that.
There are at least three Facebook pages devoted to him; two of which have at least 3,500 fans already. His Twitter account has gone from 90 followers before his appearance on Idol to more than 17,000 as of Monday.
He told NaplesNews.com that he’s recognized whenever he goes to market, and people stop him to take photos.
Lazaro is a graduate of Gulf Coast High School and says one reason for his emotional response on the show is that he hasn’t done a lot of performing and hasn’t gotten a lot of feedback, so he was touched by the compliments from Idol’s all-star panel of judges.
“It’s part of me, and it’s part of who I am as a person … and it’s helped shape my singing voice as well,” Lazaro says in the Naples News piece. “I don’t mind when they ask me about it or when they talk about it. But I do like it when they compliment me on my voice and not just that part.”
In his Road to Hollywood video, Lazaro said the performer that inspired him to sing was Selena. He was 5 when she died and remembers singing all her songs.
He admits he’s still trying to find himself musically.
“I just try to be myself,” he says, adding he hopes to show people they can accomplish their goals regardless of their situation.
I’ve embedded Lazaro’s audition video and his performance of “Imagine” on the Spanish-speaking TV show “Aqui Todos Ganan” below.
If anyone knows of other pre-Idol video of Lazaro singing, pass the word along and I’ll add it.
“Bridge Over Troubled Water”