For night two of the American Idol Season 12 premiere, the show moved to Chicago for auditions. The potential contestants included a martial arts/ninja enthusiast (dismissed), a "fire performer"-slash-balloon animal artist (sent on) ... and Lazaro Arbos.
Crippled by a stutter that he developed at age 6, Arbos struggled to even give the most rudimentary greeting to the judges. "The things that normal people would think would be so easy become so hard for me," he explained about his speech patterns. (Really puts Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey's shallow sniping in perspective, no?) Shunned by his peers at school because of his odd speaking style, Arbos said he spent a lot of time alone and turned to music for solace. "Ever since I was small, I've always wanted to sing," he said.
The members of the panel smiled politely but were obviously dreading having to hear him try to sing. But then Arbos launched into a near-perfect rendition of Simon & Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Water."
"Just sing all the time," Keith Urban told him, and the rest of the judges agreed, giving a tearful Arbos four yeses and sending him on to Hollywood.
Though Arbos was one of several diamonds in the rough, quite a "rough" time it was— enough to warrant a Les Miserables-parodying, ear-splitting montage of American Idol presents "The Miserables."
Check out Arbos' audition below. Who was your favorite hopeful from Thursday night ?
American Idol returns Wednesday, Jan. 23 at 8/7c with auditions in Charlotte, N.C.