We said it first back in March, but the Daily Beast agrees, American Idol 2013 finalist Lazaro Arbos is pretty much the new Sanjaya Malakar of Season 12. Lazaro perfectly embodies the controversy of the emotional backstories that the show has battled for years. Some like to hear the so-called “sob stories,” while others prefer to know the contestants based on their singing alone. If American Idol was really just about who is the best singer, Lazaro never would have made the Top 10 this year.
During his audition, Lazaro Arbos blew the American Idol judges and viewers alike away with the story of the stutter he has had since he was six years old. When the Cuban-born but Miami-raised singer opened his mouth to sing at his initial audition and there was no sign of the stutter, the judges were nearly speechless. Even back then, however, it was obvious Lazaro was not a truly outstanding singer. He had practiced a few songs really, really well. But as he's proven all season long, if you give him a new song he hasn't done a million times, he just can't handle it.
Fast forward to this week and we are down to the American Idol 2013 Top 6 and, despite several very poor performances, Lazaro is still in the competition. And he brings with him a constant series of excuses. As he told Hollywood.com after his Beatles performance, “But the thing was that wasn't the song that I picked." He went on to say, “I had never heard that song, 'In My Life,' because I am from Cuba and they don't let you. I didn't grow up with it.’” But, as the hard-nosed mentor Jimmy Iovine pointed out, these hopefuls are all up against the same factors. Every week Lazaro seems to sing the same tune over and over about not knowing the songs because he was "born in Cuba" — even though he moved to the U.S. when he was kid and has been in the U.S. for quite a few years now...
If it isn't that he's never heard the song, it's some other kind of reason why he failed that doesn't seem to have anything to do with a lack of talent. The next excuse? It was all those internet trolls. "I think that when you become known there's a lot of people that talk bad, and I think that we have been letting those bad comments get to us," Lazaro said. "That's kind of messing me up with my confidence. I saw a thing last night that totally messed me up. I just walked out there so nervous and upset."
This week before his American Idol performances in the Top 6, Lazaro told us in an exclusive interview he knew both his songs "really well" for once. However, that didn't seem to help him at all because both of them were terrible. In fact, judge Randy Jackson pretty much told him that he had given one of the worst performances in American Idol history.
Here’s the kicker. Not only does he have a legion of fans who don't seem to care if he can sing or not, he's also become the object of affection for Vote for the Worst. As the controversial site puts it, “people continue to vote for our pick despite being BY FAR the worst singer on this show (maybe the worst since Sanjaya!) only because of his sob story.”
Lazaro says he’s not disheartened by the criticism and, instead, will come back week after week and “just pretend I am on my couch, and I'm going to sing and rage on and get wild!" Uh, we’re excited to see that? (Yes, that question mark was on purpose.)