Lazaro Arbos was probably the most polarizing contestant on American Idol in a long time. His initial Season 12 audition was the most searched on YouTube, and people were blown away by his amazing backstory. Despite having a stutter since he was six years old, there was no sign of a speech impediment when he opened his mouth to sing.
As Jimmy Iovine recently pointed out, however, Lazaro hasn’t had much formal training. On top of having a stutter, he was ill-prepared on many performance nights. As the weeks wore on and he forgot his lyrics a few times, resentment began to build.
This was particularly true when we saw people who’d performed extremely well leave, while the “Lazis” voted furiously to keep the Florida ice cream scooper on the show. Even Angie Miller expressed frustration after Burnell Taylor was sent home, tweeting, “Honestly, I’m shocked with America’s votes. This competition will NOT be the same without @BurnellAI12.”
What got lost in all the strong reactions is the fact that Lazaro is a sweet, family-oriented guy with a good heart. That came through loud and clear as we spoke with him during a conference call regarding his elimination. We asked him whether the fun photos of them backstage accurately reflected the way the singers felt about one another, or was there a more competitive vibe.
While he admits there were disagreements, he said, “At the end of the day, we all got along really well.” Of all of them, he said he was closest to Amber Holcomb, who he was seen with in a TwitPic just after Wednesday’s performance show.
When he was asked what the hardest part about leaving the show was, he said he is going to miss his friends so much. As he put it, “I got to meet people I will have lifelong bonds with.” He did say, however, that he is "far from sad,” as he gets to go home and be with his family.
In his most recent online diary entry, Lazaro said his grandmother was his biggest influence in his life and that five years down the road, he hopes to be married with one child.
Interestingly enough, when we asked him what he was most looking forward to on tour, he said he can’t wait to meet the Lazis! “I’m looking forward to meeting my fans backstage and interacting with them," Lazaro said. "I am so grateful for them and their support, and I can’t wait to meet them.”
There's certainly no denything this young man has broken many barriers, and he has a heart of gold. We wish him nothing but the best.