Rising Star: Gulf Coast grad makes American Idol Top 40

Lazaro Arbos.

Lazaro Arbos.

Video from YouTube

Collier County resident Lazaro Arbos is officially one of the Top 40 singers on "American Idol."

The 21-year-old Gulf Coast High School grad, who has garnered national attention because of his talent and compelling personal story, made it to the semi-finals of the competition after surviving the emotional Hollywood rounds.

Arbos' fans were left wondering for days if their favorite singer would continue on the show when judges revealed a twist last week that left the male singers in "American Idol" limbo.

The "guy vs. guy" competition ended with a cliffhanger when "Idol" judge Randy Jackson announced that eight of the 28 male contestants chosen in that round would have to face another cut before the semi-finals.

This week, the judges selected the 20 female semi-finalists then called the men on stage one more time.

Arbos had his arms wrapped around two of his fellow contestants as they waited to hear what the judges had to say.

The judges asked eight men to step forward. Arbos was not among those called.

"For you, the journey ends here," Nicki Minaj said.

Arbos was in tears when Minaj then said that the remaining men, including him, would move forward.

Arbos has been featured prominently on the show through the start of the season, partly because he has a noticeable speech impediment that disappears when he sings. He and the rest of the Top 40 will continue pursuing their "American Idol" dreams in Las Vegas next week.

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