American Idol has seen its fair share of sob stories (and by that, I mean, personal tales that make me weep like an infant) over the years, but never before has the competition served up a story like that of Lazaro Arbos.
At first I was terrified the show was setting up this sweet kid for embarrassment (as they're prone to do) since I doubted Lazaro could overcome his significant stutter to sing like an angel. "It's like a rollercoaster," he said of his stutter. "Living with a stutter is really hard because the things that normal people would think would be so easy become so hard for me."
His mother later spoke of the intense therapy Lazaro went through as a child, but it never improved. "I had to say everything for him," she said. The tears began to work their way into my ducts as Lazaro began to talk about having no friends growing up, saying, "No one wanted to hang out with me in school. So I'd be home [alone]."
"Music is his life," Lazaro's father said. "I don't know what he would do without it."
At this point, we jumped back to the audition, and you could tell the judges shared my fears when Lazaro said he would be performing, Bridge Over Troubled Water.
And then he opened his mouth and I got full-body chills. A smile crept over Keith Urban's face and Nicki Minaj's dimples came out to play because Lazaro's voice was a buttery dream. "You should sing all the time," Urban commented.
As the compliments continued, Lazaro couldn't hold back his tears and wept along with the nation. Watching him get four "YES!" votes from the judges was not only a relief but proof that American Idol still has the ability to move us in season 12.
Who is your favorite Idol auditioner so far?
American Idol airs Wednesday and Thursday at 8 p.m. on Fox.