Shades of Mel Tillis. On Thursday night's "American Idol," Lazaro Arbos, a 21-year-old Naples, Florida native wowed the judges. He has a severe stutter, and earlier in the day he had been teased as this season's "American Idol" version of Susan Boyle.
Much as was the case with country legend Mel Tillis, Arbos has a severe stutter. The only time the stutter leaves him is when he sings. He told the panel:
Speaking with a stutter is really hard, the things that normal people would think would be so easy become so hard for me.
We don’t know where my stuttering came from. It’s just something that goes on and no one really knows why.
The 21-year-old said that his stuttering seemed to intensify when his family moved to Florida from Cuba when he was 10. He added that living with such a severe case of stuttering is “like a roller coaster.”
Arbos said. Arbos told the panel his stuttering dramatically intensified when he moved with his family to the Unites States at age 10.
In a manner similar to how "Britain's Got Talent" judges reacted to Susan Boyle, the "American Idol" judges were all shocked -- in a good way -- by Arbos' performance (embedded below).
After Arbos sang “Simon and Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” Mariah Carey said:
I think you have a beautiful voice.
Nicki Minaj, for once agreed with her rival Carey, praising Arbos for his inspirational story:
Your story is very, very inspiring. I think you brought a very great vibe into the room.
Veteran "Idol" judge Randy Jackson, said Arbos’ singing was simply “amazing,” while country music star Keith Urban said that Arbos should “just sing all the time.”
I love your tone. I love the way you sing. I love that you did that song. It’s one of my all-time favorite songs. It just elicits so much emotion.
It's unclear yet -- officially -- how far Arbos will go, but it's been leaked already that he has made it through the Las Vegas round.
Mel Tillis, for those unaware, is a country legend who also suffered from stuttering. He reportedly gained his stutter after a childhood bout with malaria. His autobiography was named "Stutterin' Boy."