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Lazaro Arbos may have not won American Idol, but if gets his wish, he’ll be handed the best consolation prize ever. As the Florida ice cream scooper revealed to reporters on Friday’s conference call, he’s working on arranging a duet with Cher for the finale.
“Six months ago when the show came on, she saw me and she connected with me,” he said. “She followed me on Twitter, and we’ve been talking back and forth since then. I love her songs!”
Arbos admitted he wasn’t familiar with all of her songs since “she came out way before me” but he loves her hits including “If I Could Turn Back Time,” “Believe,” and her work in the film Burlesque.
Singing with the pop icon would be another dream come true in the fairytale rise of the contestant who was praised by judges Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj, Keith Urban, and Randy Jackson for his courage in the competition. If anything, Arbos said his time on Idol has been the best kind of therapy for his speech impediment.
“I think this show kind of forced me to lose my nerves,” he said. “My stuttering has definitely subsided a little bit more. I think that part of that has to do with the fact that I’ve learned to control my nerves better.” He also said he has gained confidence as well as a stronger mindset” to try things he never thought was possible–including acting. The 22-year old singer said he has his eyes on two specific shows: Glee and Modern Family.
PHOTOS: ‘American Idol’ Season 12: The Top 10 Finalists
Arbos said he “wasn’t surprised” that it was his turn to go, considering “all the guys had been going home,” but he is grateful for his time on the show, and said he “got to meet a lot of amazing people that I will have life-long bonds with” — particularly his new best friend, Amber Holcomb.
“I made such good friends with all the girls remaining so the thought that I wasn’t going to be with them anymore really got to me,” he said about his elimination on Thursday night. “That was the hardest part.”
Which isn’t to say there haven’t been tensions behind the scenes, he admitted. “We got along for the most part. … I would say it’s normal to have disagreements and kind of fight, but at the end of the day, we got along really well.”
As for regrets on the show, Arbos had a few. “Sometimes I wish I was smarter about picking my songs as I think I picked songs that weren’t the right songs every now and then.”
While he mentioned that the judge’s best advice was to steer clear of love songs, he stopped short of agreeing with Minaj’s theory that mentor Jimmy Iovine was responsible for negatively affecting his confidence each week.
“We never were in the same room [with Iovine] for more than five minutes,” he said. “He was kind of like, a mentor on the show that came in once in a while. So we never really got to rap more. The times we met he seemed really nice, so I kind of question that. But at the same time, I do think that his bad comments about me kind of got me a little bit down.”
VIDEO: ‘American Idol’: Why Sanjaya Malakar Was Better Than Lazaro Arbos
He also stands by his comments, at least in the case of his group number of “I Can’t Help Myself” with departed contestants Burnell Taylor and Devin Velez, that there wasn’t enough time to learn the lyrics. Said Arbos: “We never heard the song in our lives, while I’m not talking for them, when it comes to me, I think what went wrong was we learned them in such a fast time. And then on top of that when you add the pressure of a live show, your nerves are intensified. I think that’s not very solid in your brain. You can forget.”
He also cited his choice of Burt Bacharach/Hal David’s composition, “(They Long to Be) Close to You,” as a problem spot.
“My first song was hard,” he said. “We had a last minute key change, which was kind of rough. At the same time I think I came back on my last song, came back really well.”
That song, “Angels” by Robbie Williams, should give fans a clue as to what kind of songs he wants to record: commercial love songs with a dash of pop.
He added that he is “not sad” at all about his elimination, and is looking to the future and “what’s coming next.”
“I have always been that kind of a guy that wanted to do something big with myself,” he said. “In all honesty winning a TV show wasn’t my goal. My goal was to become known and become a performer. I’ve come closer to that.”
Twitter: @Idol_Worship; @micheleamabile
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