American Idol 2013 Hopeful Lazaro Arbos Called Amazing by National Stuttering Association
One of the most memorable contestants in the first week of auditions for American Idol 2013 was Lazaro Arbos, a handsome 21-year-old ice cream scooper. Wearing an adorable purple bowtie, Lazaro absolutely wowed the judges with a beautiful rendition of “Bridge Over Troubled Water” by Simon & Garfunkel. The most amazing thing about Lazaro’s audition wasn’t his stellar singing voice however, it was his extreme difficulty in speaking even a single word without a near-incapacitating stutter. Apparently he was stricken with the speech impediment at the age of six. When his family moved to Cuba from the U.S., Lazaro’s stutter only grew increasingly worse. Bullied by his peers, he turned to singing as a way to escape the hardships in his life. When Lazaro sings, his intense stutter vanishes completely, melting away into a pure, sweet voice without a single stammer. The American Idol 2013 judges were blown away after listening to Lazaro Arbos work his way through his introduction with painful deliberation, then turn suddenly into one of the most vocally eloquent contestants so far this season. This is the first time in the show’s long history that American Idol has featured a contestant who openly stutters, according to The National Stuttering Association. The organization has high praise for the show in giving Lazaros a chance to audition. The highest accolades, however, are for Lazaros Arbos himself. "We are beyond thrilled to have this young man representing those who stutter in a national forum like Idol, showing a world that knows little about stuttering, that it does not have to dictate who you are. It is not how you speak that matters, but what you have to say, and the NSA stands behind that message wholeheartedly," says NSA Executive Director, Tammy Flores.
According to the NSA, stuttering is a neurophysiological speech disorder affecting more than 3 million in the U.S. alone. Symptoms include repetitious speech, prolonged sounds, missig sounds and physical movements like rapid blinking, gesturing or facial tics used to “break free” from a stuck segment of speech.
"The fact that the Lazaro Arbos has theopportunity to showcase his talent while generating opportunities for stuttering education and awareness is amazing,” says NSA Board Member Samantha Gennuso.
Want to know more on Lazaro Arbos? Check out our American Idol 2013 bio for this inspirational young man. Plus, if you want to delve into some American Idol spoilers, you can find out how far he has gone in the competition here!