Idol's Lazaro Arbos on Sassing the Judges, Smuggled Whitney CDs, and 'Courage' Critiques! Plus: 'No Way 5 Guys Could've Left in a Row'

Lazaro Arbos decided after Top 9 week on American Idol that he wasn’t going to let the judges’ critiques make him cry again — even if he had to adopt a dismissive attitude to stop any percolating waterworks.

The Season 12 sixth-place finisher stopped by Idology HQ for a candid, sometimes eyebrow-raising chat about his memorable audition to “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” his feelings about Mariah Carey praising his “courage” while failing to discuss his actual singing, and a couple of high-profile on-stage snafus (the botched lyrics in his Top 8 Week trio, and what he says was a very last-minute key change that he whiffed on “Close to You”).

RELATED | American Idol Top 5 Performance Recap: Divas’ Advocates

Lazaro also offers some controversial opinions about the all-female Top 5, the collected works of the show’s four panelists, and the artists he wished he could’ve covered during his time on the show.

RELATED | Idol‘s Burnell Taylor Talks Trio Trainwreck, Motown ‘Mmms’ and His Almost Audition Song

So press play below for the full interview, and for all my Idol news, interviews, videos and recaps, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. twnkltoze says:

    I’m thinking this is going to be a rough Summer for Lazaro after that interview. He barely took responsibility for any of his own shortcomings and blunders. He continually blames everybody but himself even after he himself is proven a liar and a whiner. He pretty much said he didn’t like any of the judges once they told him anything negative. God help those who have to share a bus with him all Summer. Nobody threw him under the bus. He threw himself under the bus. He tried out because he wanted to meet Mariah? I guess the joke was on him. Sorry if you weren’t prepared for working hard and being expected to behave like the professional singer you aspire to be. That’s your bad if you couldn’t hack it. Everybody else there was prepared, no matter their background. Get over yourself Lazaro. Only when you begin to grow up and accept that people outside of your family will have expecations of you will you be able to function as an adult and a professional.

  2. idek says:

    Five mediocre guys left in a row? Impossible! I wonder if he thinks season 10 (when five girls left in a row and one of them was probably the best singer of the whole bunch) was manipulated too.

    • cmcm says:

      OMG! I was beginning to think I was the only one who remembered this! Lazaro and others insinuating that there is a conspiracy to have a female win this year and five guys being sent home in a row as proof. If that is the case than season 10 was a manipulation and the last five guys in a row winning AI must have been a manipulation as well. Thanks idek for your voice of reason.

  3. Rik says:

    He was absolutely correct in that the AI producers rigged the show to guarantee a female winner. One only has to look at the males that made the top 10 to see that they were the complete opposite of the kinds of males that have won the last five years while being exactly like the kind of cannon fodder males of this same time period. It would not surprise me at all if they did even further behind the scenes manipulations to sabotage the males. Its why whichever female does win will get an asterisk next to her name in the minds of many since she only truly had to beat four others rather than nine.

    • Owen says:

      Yes, but does he know that he was part of the problem? That they picked five mediocre guys to get that result thusly he was, at the very least, mediocre?

  4. AlyB says:

    He doesn’t seem to comprehend the concept of his being a contestant and the judges judging his performance. I’m a little stunned that he tried to justify his catty attitude toward the judges when they finally started being honest about his bad performances. They weren’t being mean to him. He was awful.

  5. Beau says:

    Somehow, I missed the “2001” comment the first time I watched this. Upon second viewing, it’s not that he said it, but HOW he said it. That was totally uncalled for and I honestly don’t think Lazaro realizes how he comes off in conversation. Mariah has not been the greatest judge ever but again, totally uncalled for. I find it very suspect that Laz went from a near breakdown when first meeting Mariah to how he discusses her in this interview. Anyway, perception is everything and a 6th place finisher on American Idol has no business critiquing Keith, Nicki, Mariah, or even Randy.

    • Tahoe Mike says:

      You watched this twice?? Are you a masochist or what??

      • Beau says:

        I guess you couldn’t call it a full second viewing. I skipped through to where he started getting catty about the judges. It’s really disheartening that these are the people who make it on American Idol. That’s one of the main reasons I’ve always loved Kelly Clarkson. She has always been real. From the first audition to now, the way she has handled herself is to be admired. These diva antics from the contestants now are ridiculous.

  6. Adam Fachry says:

    Mariah has made several questionable career choices, indeed. She’s also come off as trying too hard to sex herself up with her recent records, but that doesn’t mean her talent is comparable to this douche’s! Mariah’s superb vocals will sheeet on Lazaro’s anytime! Lazaro, if you read this, the only entertainment career you’d have is gay porn.

  7. Sarah says:

    Lazaro doesn’t seem to grasp the fact that when Mariah had her “off” period in 2001, she was already an established international superstar, with over a dozen number 1 singles and millions upon millions of record sales. Messing up after a decade in the spotlight is different than messing up after a few weeks in the spotlight.

  8. LOLOL says:

    Boy, is he hot.

  9. Tahoe Mike says:

    This was every bit as uncomfortable as I imagined it would be. M. Slezak, you are a pro. The only thing I can imagine being more uncomfortable would be Michael interviewing Randy.
    I just wonder what Kristen with Glasses would have had to say about this tool.

  10. Brandon says:

    Wow. Just…wow.

  11. steven39934 says:

    So Lazaro, arguably the worst singer in the top 10 of idol history, has the front to criticize Mariah? Oh, and he also said something about one of the 5 girls being crazy? Talk about burning your bridges. This just makes him look pathetic and selfish. The reason America kept him around for so long is because they liked his feel-good story and thought he was a great guy. Now he ruins that with a few ill-conceived comments. Finally, he shows his true colors. Well, he deserves whatever he gets, that is all I can say.

  12. WDDB says:

    Latino only-son with a beautiful face and a disability = Prince of the City. Always excused, never developed serious ambitions (22 and no college?), just a dreamer. Hits the wall of American Idol and cannot deal with it without defensiveness. Someone (his parents are clearly not candidates; maybe his blunt-talk sister?) needs to tell him about discipline, tact, and what side his bread is buttered on.

  13. julia says:

    referring to his comment in another interview about calling another female contestant crazy (most people think he meant angie, i think the two of them had some kind of falling off because they used to be supposive bffs) i just can’t believe how utterly tactless and rude that is regardless who it is. and if it is angie, after she stood up for him after he completely forgot his lyrics to their duet top 7 night, and was really supportive of him and didn’t publicaly blame him at all, for him to then go out and publicly atttack her, is just unbelievable.

  14. RedInDenver says:

    Lazaro should keep in mind that TALENT is what is supposed to ensure you remain on AI. There is no gender quota.

  15. Yolonda says:

    Lazaro has been doing a lot of interviews and, maybe I’ve missed something, but I have yet to hear him thank anyone connected to Idol for anything! I can’t think of a single eliminated contestant who did not express their gratitude to the show for giving them the opportunity to be seen by the millions of people who still watch the show. He’s in his own little world. It’s sad.

  16. RW says:

    Well this sure is an interesting one, to say the least. I see where he comes off as arrogant but unless you know someone well it’s hard to judge. I can’t imagine what it was like for him with the speech issue. People must have poked fun at him his whole life. I can’t blame him for his actions when being criticized since it probably happens to him EVERY day of his life. I have no problem with him criticizing the judges for their lack of meaningful feedback, lets face it they are horrible except for Keith. Lazaro has no business talking about their careers, that is when he crossed the line but it’s impossible to judge and be to harsh on that behavior because of what he’s been through. He is in serious need of professional guidance if he expects to have a career. Regarding his Talent, yes he had a good voice at times and the back story Idol loves but they should never put through someone with that little experience. One thing I dislike about the comments on this board is people think learning a song in a few days is easy, well it’s not! It takes a heck of a lot of training for most people; yes there are some that are naturals but those tend to be the musicians and song writers not just a singer.

  17. lala says:

    i remember Mariah’s last critique to Lazaro about the key change. It’s as if she scolded Lazaro on national TV. it’s like she turned 180 degrees from praising his courage to scolding him about the singing101. I bet he never expected that’s gonna happen. I actually felt bad for Lazaro that moment (well, Mariah’s behavior at that time is another issue about being double standard). On a bigger picture, the scenario is a perfect manifestation of “What comes around goes around”. The show has used Lazaro for the ratings or whatever. Surprisingly, Lazaro’s speech impediment did not stop him from exposing the bad things offstage despite the fact that he got the attention and “supposedly” platform from IDOL. (supposedly because that attitude will not take him any further).
    it’s a backfire.

    Too bad for Amber, she is associated with Lazaro. I hope it doesn’t affect her reputation. I’m wondering how can she stand that guy friend who’s never said anything truthful.

    oh.. heal the world.

  18. You don't Need to Know says:

    LOL I love how “Girl Power” is pretending to be a contestant and caused so much drama ? well theres already drama now so here i go.
    I think what no one understands is how HARD we all work for this and then lazaro gets away with silly stuff just because of his story. and if you disagree with me, i guess youre not trying to be in the music business. its hard to stomach someone who dismisses forgetting lyrics in a group performance, where two other people are counting on you. people just dont realize and ALSO no one can change their key five minutes before the show. when laz tried giving ray directions on live tv he got in a lot of trouble. Just full of excuses. but on the other hand, ive seen first hand how he struggles harder than anyone to just get out a simple sentence- communicating arrangements, interviews, issues, its all harder for him. and we try to help him but he wont let us, which makes me really sad. and THERE is your “inside scoop”

  19. Lark says:

    I like this kid more than I thought I would. He speaks his truth, as he sees it, doesn’t grovel and points out some of the manipulation. Too bad it exposes Idol’s fakery, just too bad.

  20. darcy's evil twin says:

    Wow, people here are HARSH. I’m lovin’ it, LOL.
    I’m know others mentioned this, but let’s be honest – he should have been cut during Hollywood Week.
    that said, Mr. Slezak you are a true pro. I can’t believe you made it through that interview. That was painful but interesting all at the same time.

  21. jane says:

    Wow! These comments are way worse than anything he said! Some of the things he said could have been interpreted as diva-ish, but I felt it was more a lack of not being able to explain himself well. He can barley get through a simple sentence. This is really the judges fault and the american Idol machine who put him through all the way to the end. I’ve said this before, he doesn’t have a horrible voice. Given the right song, he sounds pretty good which is better than half of the top 40 acts out there right now. He’s young. I give him the benefit of the doubt for his appearing arrogant.

  22. Tom says:

    Lazaro was the worst singer in this top 10 and what makes me more angry: he has a bad attitude. If i was him, I would be so embarassed and shut the mouth closed for the God sake. He must be grateful for doing so long in the competition.

  23. Fef says:

    Amazing. With all the arrogant, diva behavior he exudes post exit, I don’t even notice the stuttering. What’s the important lesson here?

  24. Fef says:

    But like others, I have to give credit to the interviewer. He gave Lazaro the opportunity to step away from the microphone gracefully on more than one occasion.

  25. Joan says:

    I would imagine Lazaro has had to adopt a defensive stances from the time he entered grade 1. Maybe before that. It’s survival mode. I don’t doubt for a minute that he’s suffered a lot of bullying in his life. Some success in his career and kindness will make a difference.

  26. nokuzola holomisa says:

    you know Its true that God doesn’t give us everything..see he made him to stutter but gave him a talent of singing***Love his Voice**
    Really wish I was there when he needed a friend because he Deserves Better Wishing him all the Best and God Bles Him!!! *Muck Love**