Rita’s Italian Ice, the nation’s largest Italian Ice concept with over 625 outlets in 19 states, announces Lazaro Arbos, a Treat Team Member from Rita’s outlet in Naples, Florida, was chosen as a Top 20 finalist by American Idol 2013 (Season 12). Arbos earned a coveted spot on the popular singing competition’s Top 20 following the Sudden Death rounds in Las Vegas this past week. Lazaro Arbos was chosen to move on to public voting rounds. The finalists will be named on Thursday, March 7.
Arbos has touched many hearts worldwide with his ability to overcome his fears and insecurities each week on American Idol. Challenged by a speech problem, verbal communication was never easy for this 22-year-old Cuban singer. But when he sings, the world listens. Arbos, who turned heads when he first auditioned for American Idol because of his severe stutter, sang a rendition of Idol judge Keith Urban’s song “Tonight I Want to Cry,” earning him the chance to be one of the final ten male contestants.
Before his road to Hollywood and American Idol, Arbos 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.” Arbos’ mom and dad said that it has been a tough journey for their son since the stuttering became worse, “to the point where he couldn’t speak”. His love of music is the only therapy that seems to have worked.
The Treat Team Member for Rita’s Italian Ice, who now resides in Naples with his parents, sang Simon and Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water” during week one, and left the judges in absolute shock when his stuttering completely disappeared as he sang the lovely melody. Pop diva, Mariah Carey, told Arbos, “You have a beautiful voice.” She was clearly moved by his performance. Fellow pop princess Nicki Minaj agreed with Carey and praised Arbos for his courage and determination.
“Before auditioning for American Idol, Lazaro scooped ice like the rest of our Treat Team at Rita’s,” says Jen Gibson, franchisee of Rita’s Italian Ice in Naples, Florida. “We love having a singing star on our crew. Lazaro’s favorite Rita’s Italian Ice is Strawberry Margarita Ice and now his favorite Cool Treat, Mango Gelati, is the top selling menu item—it’s Mango Ice layered with creamy Frozen Custard, a super sweet combination, but so is Lazaro!”
Fans will now decide which singers will advance by voting via phone, text, online, or through the American Idol app. “We couldn’t be more proud of Lazaro and want Rita’s fans to vote for him to win,” says Jonathan Fornaci, chief executive of Rita’s Italian Ice. “All our bets are on Lazaro and wishing him all the ice, custard, happiness from Rita’s!”