CREATED Jan. 23, 2013 - UPDATED: Jan. 23, 2013
NAPLES, Fla. - If you've been watching American Idol, then you probably know one of the most moving stories this season comes courtesy of a young man from Naples.
His name is Lazaro Arbos and he's been talking exlusively with 4 In Your Corner about his amazing journey to national prominence.
"I started to stutter when I was six," says Lazaro.
As Lazaro was growing up in his native country of Cuba, his stuttering initially seemed minor
"It started really slow and it got really bad," he says.
His stuttering became more severe when his family moved to Southwest Florida, and he struggled to express himself in a second language.
"No one wanted to hang out with me at school," he says.
"I had no friends to go out with, so I would be home and.."
He voice trails off as his eyes well up with tears.
After graduating from Gulf Coast High School in Collier county, Lazaro seemed to be destined for big things.
And his big shot at being seen by America came as he audioned for American Idol.
" What are you going to sing for us?" asked Maria Carey during the show.
Lazaro went with a song suggested by his vocal coach back home.
"She really liked that song for me and I said sure," he says.
"And it's a song that talks about going through tough times too."
The American Idol judges melted as Lazaro sang "Bridge Over Troubled Water."
You brought a great vibe into the room," said judge Nicki Minaj.
All four judges voted to send him to the next rount on the show - in Hollywood.
"The fact they loved that, I wasn't expecting that," says Lazaro who points out he hasn't been singing that long.
"I never really got enough feedback to raise up my self confidence that much."
He hopes being on national television will inspire those who stutter and others dealing with their own struggles to keep at it.
"It's not just to to inspire people with my speech, but anyone that's going through a hard time," he says.
"It's amazing the stammer doesn't happen when you sing," judge Randy Jackson told Lazaro on the show.
Lazaro tells 4 In Your Corner many speech pathologists believe he can sing without stuttering because a different part of his brain is used.
And it doesn't hurt that his beautiful voice comes from his brain AND his heart.
"I also think you love to sing, then I think you'll always do good at what you love," says Lazaro.