American Idol Contestant With Stutter Lazaro Arbos
Lazaro Arbos, 21, on American Idol

Ever since he was 6 years-old, Lazaro Arbos sought comfort in singing. Growing up, Lazaro has been in speech therapy to treat his stutter he developed after moving from Cuba to the United States as a child. Because of his stutter, Lazaro Arbos has always found it difficult to make friends. However, Lazaro Arbos never let his stutter get in the way from achieving his dream to become a singer.

Last Thursday, Lazaro Arbos, 21, became one step closer to achieving his dream after his emotional audition on the hit FOX show American Idol. The Florida native entered the audition overcome with nerves understandably, but once Lazaro Arbos began his rendition of “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” there was no doubt that there was something special about Lazaro.

After receiving a unanimous yes from judges Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj, and Keith Urban, fellow judge Randy Jackson brought up a point that many who aren’t family with stuttering and speech therapy don’t understand – Why did Lazaro Arbos’s stutter disappear when he started singing?

According to the “Stuttering Project” at the University of Iowa, there are two key reasons why Lazaro Arbos doesn’t stutter when he sings.

  • Onset of speech (Also known as “easy voice” or “smooth speech) – When a person with a stutter like Lazaro starts to sing, they generally use a smoother and easier voice that contrasts their speaking voice.
  • Words are prolonged when singing versus speaking – When Lazaro sings, he is less likely to stutter while doing so become words are prolonged. In addition, when a person is singing they are using the ride side of their brain instead of their left side, which controls language.

No matter what, according to the University of Iowa, when a child or adult who stutters talks differently (i.e. singing) than the way he or she usually does, he or she will be fluent.

To date, the American Idol audition of Lazaro Arbos has garnered over 1 million views on YouTube. In addition, the curiosity surrounding stuttering and speech conditions has increased as well and we hope to see this trend continue.

If you missed Lazaro Arbos on Americal Idol, we have the full video below. Let us know what you think about singing and stuttering in the comments below.

5 responses to “What We Learned About Stuttering From American Idol Contestant Lazaro Arbos

  1. I am a speech therapist serving the public school population. I am currently working with a fluency case. I am going to show him this video for inspiration. I have worked with other fluency cases in the past. I have had some successes and some not. This young man is truely an inspiration. It gives me hope to continue with this struggle of fluency.

  2. Wow. Thanks for sharing this, Harriet. I wish you all the best of luck in helping your students – It is no easy task. Thank you for all your dedication. Let us know what your students think of the video!

    – Catherine
    @PresenceLearn

  3. I’m sorry but we don’t have any contact with Lazaro – we’re just one of many sharing his inspirational story.

  4. I think Lazaro is terrific, he’s very talented. However, I am appalled that his parents don’t speak English. They have been in this country for years, plenty of time to learn the language. This is not helping his stutter.

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