Cuban singer Lazaro Arbos made it through Hollywood Week Thursday night on “American Idol,” earning a coveted spot on the singing competition’s Top 20.
Arbos, who turned heads when he first auditioned because of his severe stutter, sang a rendition of Idol judge Kieth Urban’s song “Tonight I Want to Cry.”
Urban was a bit harder on Arbos than the rest of the judges, but after telling the Florida resident that he thought "that was a great song” for him, he congratulated him on his “spirit.”
“[It] burns through your vocals so beautifully,” Urban added.
“Va Va Voom” pop star Nicki Minaj greeted Arbos and then praised him inSpanish for being true to himself as an artist.
“What I love about you is that you always give us Lazaro,” Minaj said. “A lot of people came and tried to switch up stuff that we love and it’s like, 'why take that type of risk right now?'” she said.
Between stutters, Arbos told the panel of judges the he knew it wasn’t his best song, but that he did "the best he could.”
And for music executive and producer Randy Jackson, Arbos’ best was more than enough.
“Every time you hit the chorus, there is a sweet spot in your voice,” he said. “When you hit the chorus is like nobody else.”
Arbos, 21, moved to Florida from Cuba when he was 10 and says that living with such a severe case of stuttering is “like a roller coaster.”
“The things that normal people would think are so easy become so hard for me,” he told the producers of the show.
“We don’t know where my stuttering came from. It’s just something that goes on and no one really knows why.”
Since his first audition, singer Mariah Carey has been a big fan of Arbos.
“This is not easy and I am so proud of you for getting through it,” Carey told Arbos.
“There is a purity and sincerity that comes with the emotion of your struggle and what you go through and how music brings you through that. That’s one of the things I really love about you,” she added.