Lazaro Arbos is a Cuban American who came to the U.S. as a child. He has a severe stuttering condition, but when he sings, boy can he sing. A great story of a young Cuban American overcoming obstacles and touching the hearts of millions.
‘American Idol’ Season 12, Episode 2: Chicago Hope
On Wednesday’s Season 12 “American Idol” premiere, the family-friendly feelgood show sort of lost its way and lost its heart, focusing on the judging-table diva drama between mortal frenemies Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj–at the expense of any contestant unfortunate enough to have auditioned on this season’s first troubled day of taping. And when Season 12’s second episode, featuring the Chicago auditions, aired this Thursday, it looked like weary viewers were going to get more of the same, or worse of the same, so to speak: feuding, more feuding, and worse feuding, for two tedious hours.
But just when it seemed like Mariah and Nicki were about to brawl like a couple of scorned women on a particularly heated love-triangular episode of “The Jerry Springer Show,” a memorable, bow-tied contestant came along to turn the show around and remind viewers (and hopefully the judges) what “Idol” is supposed to be all about: giving kids a much-needed break and making talented people’s dreams come true. Yes, it was sappy and manipulative (cue violins here), but it was just the sort of sap and manipulation the show dearly needed
The contestant’s name was Lazaro Arbos, one of Season 12’s most moving sob stories so far, and already one of the season’s standout stars. A Cuban immigrant with a severe lifelong stutter, whose speech problems became even more pronounced after he moved to the States at age 10, the shy, sweet 21-year-old struggled to make it through even a few syllables of his nervous introductory conversation with the judges. But once he began singing “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” he wasn’t troubled at all: He warbled the Clay Aiken-popularized Simon & Garfunkel classic with nary a trace of speech impediment. It was impossible not to root for the guy, and impossible to not be impressed by his brave performance.
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