Since his tear-inducing audition on this season of American Idol, Lazaro Arbos has captured America’s hearts with his tender voice, dapper style and oh-so-inspiring story. The Cuban-American hopeful, who has suffered from a severe stutter since the age of six, impressed the judges and the world instantly with his perfect rendition of Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water.”
And our love for him has only grown in recent weeks. In celebration of his Idol journey thus far, here’s a look at 10 things you didn’t know about our favorite Idol hopeful!
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He’s Active in His Church
In his hometown of Naples, Florida, Arbos is an active member of Legacy Church; he even performs with the choir, as witnessed in this YouTube video taken of his duet with a fellow choir member. The church, which believes in “changing the world, one life at a time,” even holds viewing parties on the nights that Arbos performs on American Idol. And the church’s website encourages others to “continue to pray for God’s favor and protection on this wonderful young man.”
Arbos’ Television Debut Wasn’t on American Idol
Before wowing the world on American Idol, Arbos appeared on América TeVé, a Miami-based independent Spanish-language television station. The fresh-faced singer appeared on the network’s talent show Aquí todos ganan, performing a touching rendition of John Lennon’s “Imagine.”
He’s Been Singing Seriously for Less Than Five Years
While other Idol hopefuls have been “singing their whole lives,” the 21-year-old singing sensation admitted to his hometown newspaper, the Naples Daily News, that he didn’t begin taking his music seriously until he was 17. After graduating from Gulf Coast High School, Arbos even started taking lessons from a local vocal coach. “I kinda wish I would have started earlier ’cause then I would be that much better,” he said.
He’s So, So Treat…
It’s been announced all-season long that Arbos was an ice cream scooper in Naples before beginning his Idol journey. But his official title at his local Rita’s Italian Ice is Treat Team Member. "Before auditioning for American Idol Lazaro scooped Ice like the rest of our Treat Team," Jen Gibson, franchisee of Rita's Italian Ice in Naples, said in a statement. "We love having a singing star on our crew.” So what’s his favorite ice? The Strawberry Margarita Ice. But he’s also a fan of the Mango Gelati cool treat, which has become a top-seller at this local franchise.
He’s a Social Media Darling!
Talk about rallying the #Lazis… He’s only had his official American Idol-created Twitter account (@LazaroAI12) since March 1, but Lazaro has already seen his followers count swell to 8,646 (as of March 6). And he has an impressive 21,137 followers on his personal account (@lazaromusic). Meanwhile, he’s got 7,909 likes on his Facebook fan page and another 3,587 likes on his official Idol-created Facebook fan page.
He’s Gaining Idol Alum Support
The public voting round may just be getting underway, but Arbos is already getting big time support from Idols past. Season six winner Jordin Sparks recently tweeted him with the message, “rooting for you!!” And he’s apparently the online BFF of last season’s runner-up Jessica Sanchez. “She’s such a beautiful person inside and out!!” tweeted Lazaro about the pint-sized singer who’ll be appearing on Glee soon. Meanwhile, Sanchez responded: “why do I love you so much?!?! Oh yeah, cause you’re amazing Muah! x”
He Spreads Inspiration
Sure, Arbos is inspiring the world with his ability to make sweet music despite his speech impediment. But the Cuba-born singer also likes to spread other people’s inspirational words, including Walt Disney’s quote: “All of our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” Our personal favorite:
“Never let the odds keep you from doing what you know in your heart you were meant to do. ”
― H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
He’s a Good Brother
The spotlight may be shining bright on him, but Arbos isn’t afraid to share the attention with his familia. He recently introduced his Twitter followers to his hermanita by sharing a picture of the two of them together.
He Loves All Types of Music
He’s performed music by Keith Urban, Lady Gaga and Simon & Garfunkel on Idol so far this season. But what song he’ll tackle next is anybody’s guess. “I love everything,” proclaimed Arbos about his musical tastes via Twitter, adding, “but mainly pop ballads modern stuff I also like opera.” In another tweet, he says: “selena quintanilla is a big influence of mine!”
He’s a Goat AND a Horse
Since Arbos was born on December 27, 1990, he’s a Capricorn. The Zodiac sign’s traits include: ambitious, reserved, determined, relentless, practical and helpful. Meanwhile, his animal sign in Chinese Astrology is a Horse. Horses are described as friendly, vivacious, enduring, witty, cheerful, refined and independent.