The 12 Best Latino 'American Idol' Auditions Ever! (VIDEO)

This season of American Idol is only a few weeks old, but Fox’s reality singing competition has already registered some oh-so-impressive auditions from Latino Idol hopefuls like Lazaro Arbos and Isabel Gonzalez. Their tantalizing try-outs are the latest of a long list of notable golden-ticket earning performances in the show’s 12 seasons. Here’s a look at the 12 Best Latino auditions on American Idol.

1. Best Latino Idol Audition: David Archuleta

David Archuleta, Season 7

It should come as no surprise that Paula Abdul wanted to squish David Archuleta after his Idol audition in Season 7. The adorable then-16-year-old Honduran/Spanish-American hopeful instantly won the hearts of the judges and viewers alike with his sweet, sweet smile and endearing performance of John Mayer’s “Waiting on the World to Change.” Abdul couldn’t help but tap her feet as he sang, while Randy Jackson had to jump in to perform back-up. Archuleta’s sweetheart nature would take him all the way to the finals. And even though he lost to David Cook, the fresh-faced singer continues to make us smile.

2. Best Latino Idol Audition: Lazaro Arbos

Lazaro Arbos, Season 12

Talk about saving the best for last. During premiere week of American Idol’s 12th season, Lazaro Arbos was the final hopeful to appear before the judges at the Chicago auditions. And it looked like producers might be preparing to show one of Idol’s embarrassing auditions when the 21-year-old Cuban-born icecream scooper from Naples, Florida opened his mouth to reveal a serious stutter. But as soon as Arbos – who has had to deal with the speech impediment since he was six years old – began singing Simon & Garfunkel's “Bridge Over Troubled Waters,” we were instantly mesmerized and moved to tears. In the end, Arbos didn’t just earn a unanimous “yes” from the judges, he also cemented his place in Idol history by giving what many have dubbed “the best Idol audition ever!”

3. Best Latino Idol Audition: A.J. Gil

A.J. Gil, Season 1

During the first season of American Idol, A.J. Gil—one of the first Latinos to compete on the reality singing competiton—made us proud to be American. The then-17-year-old Mexican American singer, whose parents emigrated to the U.S. from Mexico, performed “The Star-Spangled Banner” at his audition in Seattle. Gil’s performance earned a standing ovation from Randy Jackson, as well as a coveted golden ticket. And the San Diego-native would continue to impress the judges for a good part of the season, ultimately settling for 8th place.

4. Best Latino Idol Audition: Allison Iraheta

Allison Iraheta, Season 8

It’s hard to believe Allison Iraheta was only 16 when she auditioned for American Idol in Season 8. The Salvadoran American singer showed great maturity during her performance of Aretha Franklin’s "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman," despite having a serious case of nerves. “You’ve got something about you,” declared Simon Cowell. Boy, would he be correct. Iraheta ended up being the season’s dark horse as the season progressed. And, when she was eliminated from the competition in 4th place, Guns N' Roses guitarist Slash tweeted that "Alison [sic] didn't deserve to be voted off AI so soon, she has amazing potential.”

5. Best Latino Idol Audition: Syesha Mercado

Syesha Mercado, Season 7

It’s no easy feat giving an extraordinary performance of a popular Aretha Franklin song. But that’s exactly what Syesha Mercado did in Season 7. The then-20-year-old half-Puerto Rican singer, who was celebrating her father’s graduation from a rehab program, auditioned for the judges by singing the Queen of Soul’s feminist anthem “Think.” “You cannot deny the fact that this girl can sing,” declared Paula Abdul before the judges voted to send Mercado to Hollywood. She’d end up being the only female in the Top 3 that season and was ultimately voted off before fellow contestants David Archuleta and David Cook

6. Best Latino Idol Audition: Karen Rodriguez

Karen Rodriguez, Season 10

Houston, we have a winner! Following her Myspace audition, Idol producers gave Karen Rodriguez the chance to try-out in front of her childhood idol Jennifer Lopez and the rest of the judges in Los Angeles. And, the New York native wasted no time impressing the judges with her rendition of Whitney Houston's "You Give Good Love," which  J.Lo would call “hot!” Sadly, Rodriguez, who would perform Selena’s “No me queda más" in the final round, was eliminated on March 17, 2011 and came in 12th place.

7. Best Latino Idol Audition: Jorge Nuñez

Jorge Nuñez, Season 8

During American Idol’s first-ever auditions in Puerto Rico during Season 8, Jorge Nuñez impressed the judges when he sang Frank Sinatra's "My Way" en Español, followed by a snippet of "What a Wonderful World" in English. "Dog, I loved you, man. I thought it was brilliant, man," announced Randy Jackson. But Nuñez’s biggest compliment would come from Paula Abdul, who said he had the "power of Marc Anthony." The curly-haired Puerto Rican singer made it all the way to the Final 13, but was one of the first two eliminated.

8. Best Latino Idol Audition: Isabel Gonzalez


Isabel Gonzalez - Charlotte Audition - American... by IdolxMuzic

Isabel Gonzalez, Season 12

Thank goodness for Isabel Gonzalez’s aunt Bernie Haberman, who nominated the 16-year-old Georgia high school student to audition for American Idol in Charlotte. Following Randy Jackson’s surprise visit to her school, Gonzalez – who Mariah Carey said looked like a young Phoebe Cates – wowed the judges with her inspired rendition of Sam Cooke’s ”Nothing Can Change This Love.” Nicki Minaj said “absolutely head over heels in love” with Gonzalez, just like we were!

9. Best Latino Idol Audition: Scotty McCreery

Scotty McCreery, Season 10

If Carrie Underwood is an “All-American Girl,” then American Idol’s Season 10 winner Scotty McCreery should be considered an All-American boy. During his audition, the then-16-year-old part-Puerto Rican singer with a deep voice brought a smile to Jennifer Lopez’s face with his renditions of Josh Turner’s “Your Man” and Travis Tritt’s “Put Some Drive in Your Country.” And he’d even get Steven Tyler to utter some enlightening commentary. 

10. Best Latino Idol Audition: Chris Medina

Chris Medina, Season 10

Chris Medina only made it to the Top 40 on Season 10 of American Idol, but he still managed to leave quite an indelible impression on America and the judges. During his affecting audition, the Chicago-native dedicated his touching performance of The Script’s “Breakeven (Falling to Pieces)” to his fiancé, who’d recently suffered a brain injury as the result of a car accident. Medina’s elimination made headlines when Jennifer Lopez was brought to tears while revealing his fate.

11. Best Latino Idol Audition: Andrew Garcia

Andrew Garcia, Season 9

Maroon 5’s “Sunday Morning” never sounded as good as when Andrew Garcia made it his own during his Season 9 audition on American Idol. “You gave me chills,” declared guest judge Katy Perry, while Simon Cowell told the then 23-year-old Mexican American singer that he was a “genuinely, genuinely good, good singer.” Garcia would hear Randy Jackson’s cry of “Welcome to Hollywood;” and he’d advance to the Top 12 with impressive performances, including his now-famous cover of Paula Abdul's song "Straight Up." Garcia would ultimately have to settle for ninth place.

12. Best Latino Idol Audition: Jessica Sanchez

Jessica Sanchez, Season 11

Jessica Sanchez was only 15 when she auditioned in San Diego for Season 11 of American Idol. But the half-Mexican American singer proved to have the voice of a diva, despite her small frame. During her try-out, which didn’t actually air during the show’s audition episodes, the pint-sized singer performed a sing-it-to-the-rafters rendition of Aretha Franklin’s "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" that had the judges singing right along like proud parishioners at the church. Sanchez’s big voice would take her all the way to the finals, where she’d have to settle for second place behind Phillip Phillips. But she’d leave Americans second-guessing their votes after singing "And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going" with  Jennifer Holliday on the results show, a performance that received a standing ovation from the judges.