American Idol | Lazaro Arbos | Music | News

Adorable Stuttering Contestant Wows 'American Idol' Judges: VIDEO

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Lazaro Arbos's story is the kind these shows were made for. A speech impediment that for years caused him to hardly be able to speak and made him an outcast at school is overcome when it's time to sing.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

(via dlisted)

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  1. This kid legit made me cry last night. And I am usually so ABOVE the schmaltz factor on AI.

    Posted by: AJ | Jan 18, 2013 10:22:28 AM


  2. I have watched all 12 seasons of Idol (and yes, endured the scorn of my friends for doing so!) but I don't ever remember tearing up at a story like I did watching this last night. Very touching.

    Posted by: ATLJason | Jan 18, 2013 10:33:22 AM


  3. uh...okay.

    at the risk of sounding like a heartless s.o.b....he wasn't that good.

    even if he came in and didn't have a stutter, i'd say the same thing. he's cute, though.

    Posted by: KDNA | Jan 18, 2013 10:41:28 AM


  4. He-he-he's g-g-g-g-g-going to Hollywo-wo-wo-wood!

    Posted by: Billy | Jan 18, 2013 10:45:49 AM


  5. He's totes adorbs and has a pretty good voice. BUT... stutterers lose the stutter when they sing. Country singer Mel Tillis has (had - is he still alive?) a stutter. Music is evidently controlled by another part of the brain. On a similar note, Nick van Bloss, a (hot and gay) British concert pianist known for his Bach interpretations, has Tourette's Syndrome - and a pretty severe case of it.

    Posted by: Tessie Tura | Jan 18, 2013 10:50:57 AM


  6. Growing up I had a terrible stutter, and it's something I was picked on for a much greater degree than being gay or my weight (gosh, I sound like a winner right now…)

    It is such a weird affliction. I could tell when I was going to do it, and once I started it was like hitting a wall. It's not like I didn't know what to say, or even that I was nervous -- though I'd often get nervous once the stuttering began -- it was just like I could not physically make the words.

    I still deal with it now, but it's almost imperceptible to everyone I know. Basically I've learned through years of practice to think my sentences through about five words ahead, consider (given my current state of mind, confidence, etc.) whether all of those words are pronouncable in the moment, and then use the intervening words to try and reword my sentences if they aren't. This can make on-the-fly conversation fairly exhausting, and it's all but useless when drinking, but it does work.

    Posted by: Jason | Jan 18, 2013 10:54:59 AM


  7. Wow, love this guy and his courage. I really hope he can handle Hollywood week and make the top 24.

    Posted by: RONTEX | Jan 18, 2013 10:55:44 AM


  8. tears here too, which is so unlike me since i have so few emotions. the voice isn't phenomenal but i hope he goes far because, as a human being, he deserves it.

    i know that he's young enough to be my son but he sure is easy on the eyes. if music doesn't work out for him, he should think about modeling!

    Posted by: joe | Jan 18, 2013 10:55:46 AM


  9. As compelling as his story is -- and it is compelling, as a professional musician, I have to say that his performance was OK for an amateur, but not really above average in any discernible way. It was a parroting of some currently-popular stylistic 'quirks' and his voice has a nice quality, but overall, his performance is quite average. IDK -- is this supposed to be judged on his gifts and talent or on how compelling his story is? I fear that once his story is known, the novelty will wear-off and if he hasn't the skills or talent to support it, he will not have a successful time of it.

    Posted by: Alex Parrish | Jan 18, 2013 10:56:31 AM


  10. @KDNA: you're not risking sounding like a heartless jerk, you sound exactly like one. His voice is better than Art Garfunkel's there. I've been accused of having a heart of stone, but he did great.

    There is advanced treatment for stuttering. If his didn't start until he was 6, it seems like a behavioral issue. His father doesn't seem all that sweet, for starters.

    Posted by: Paul R | Jan 18, 2013 10:57:39 AM


  11. Gareth Gates, who won one of the early seasons of Pop Idol/X Factor in the UK also had a very bad stutter when he won. Over the years since it has improved dramatically.

    Posted by: aron | Jan 18, 2013 10:59:45 AM


  12. @Billy--I have a friend who stutters and another with Tourette's. I get that it can be important to be able to bring humor to an unpleasant situation, but there's a difference between laughing with someone and laughing at them. I'd like to see you live their lives for a while and then still joke about it.

    Posted by: Stefan | Jan 18, 2013 11:03:30 AM


  13. @Alex--From one professional musician to another, you're right about his voice. I'd bet that if you sample 100 people in the population (who aren't tone deaf and can at least carry a tune) he would probably rank in the top 30 or 40. Good, but nothing remarkable. But he doesn't need to be remarkable to be a pop singer. For example, Elvis was unique but not that great. Same with the Beatles. Even early Frank Sinatra would still need years of intense training to become regarded as good. And with modern technology a lot of very mediocre singers are now considered "good".

    AI is about packaging a pop singer who people will want to see on television every week. For example, if the kid was less attractive I doubt his story would have received air time.

    Posted by: Stefan | Jan 18, 2013 11:16:04 AM


  14. I saw that. I wanted so much to just give him a big hug. What a doll, I'd be proud to be his friend.

    Posted by: Bill Michael | Jan 18, 2013 11:53:48 AM


  15. @BILLY: Making fun of stutterers? Really? Didn't we all learn this lesson from Laura and Nellie on the prairie back in the day?

    NELLIE: Chickens can squawk and butterflies can flutter, but Anna can't talk all she can do is stu-stu-stu-stu-stu-stutter.

    Posted by: AJ | Jan 18, 2013 12:01:07 PM


  16. Legit adorbs.

    Posted by: Paul Bunion | Jan 18, 2013 12:23:00 PM


  17. Wow. Whoever said he was better than Art Garfunkel is insane. Call me heartless, but this was a dreadful case of melisma gone into overdrive.

    Posted by: Joseph | Jan 18, 2013 12:44:27 PM


  18. Pedant's corner - Gareth Gates came second. Will Young won

    Posted by: hulio | Jan 18, 2013 1:49:53 PM


  19. This is dishonest bullsh5t. I don't believe he has a stutter the same way I didn't believe the UK's Gareth Gates had a stutter. These attention-seeking kids are just so desperate to win they will say anything or do anything to get themselves more sympathy from the judges.

    A new rule should also be that if a competitor cries they are automatically out of the contest. I hate all that dishonest bulls$it.

    Posted by: Icebloo | Jan 18, 2013 2:28:36 PM


  20. ugh, he's too freakin' adorable for words.

    *swoon*

    his voice is nice. he's nervous, he's not sure what quite to do with it just yet, but the instrument is there, that's undeniable.

    best of luck, sexypants.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Jan 18, 2013 3:07:23 PM


  21. Oh my God. Jason, this is the first comment you've posted that makes you come across as a thoughtful human being...with a heart and a sense of humor.

    Maybe it's a different "Jason".

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Jan 18, 2013 3:17:15 PM


  22. This is actually not unusual. There was a famous country singer in the 1970s who stuttered when he spoke but had no problem getting out the words when he was signing. I'm sure people have studied this. It's a nice voice. He may get better in the competition (I've seen that happen) or crack under the pressure (seen that happen too), but he deserves to move to another level AND for a show that seems to relish in holding up untalented people to ridicule this was a nice heartwarming story.

    Posted by: Houndentenor | Jan 18, 2013 3:52:31 PM


  23. Cute boy, inspiring story, hope he makes it to the next level.

    Posted by: jaragon | Jan 18, 2013 4:40:11 PM


  24. ICEBLOO: what is it about you that you are such a prick all the time? You were probably the kid on the playground who would bully a kid like this or anybody not like you. You are a hateful human being.

    Posted by: BETTY | Jan 18, 2013 5:27:33 PM


  25. I still stutter at 55. It sucks, but so do a lot of things. If I could choose between stuttering and having a full head of hair, I'd buy a comb.

    Posted by: parkrunner | Jan 18, 2013 6:09:48 PM


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