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‘Idol’ dropout signs record contract

Rumors swirled around Mario Vazquez’s departure
/ Source: The Associated Press

Mario Vazquez didn’t need to win “American Idol” to get the record contract — the “Idol” dropout has signed a deal with J Records, home of previous winners Fantasia and Ruben Studdard.

“It’s just so exciting to see that my dreams are coming to fruition,” Vazquez told The Associated Press in an interview Thursday.

“Mario Vazquez is a multitalented, young Hispanic singer with the voice and charisma that we’ve been trying to find for a long time. His live audition for us was truly special,” Clive Davis, chairman of U.S. BMG, said in a statement.

Vazquez is best known for his brief stint on the Fox talent competition last season. Though he was considered a huge fan favorite, he dropped out of the show in the early rounds. Rumors swirled about why he left, but Vazquez says he just felt “Idol” wasn’t the right vehicle for him, though it boosted his confidence as a performer.

“I’ve been wanting to do this big, since the age of 12, 13. I’ve been struggling to get myself out there,” he said. “I felt like especially with this newfound confidence, why don’t I take a risk and see if I can do this on my own?”

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Bo Bice and Carrie Underwood were the show’s two finalists, and Underwood won the contest. Vazquez said he sometimes thinks about what might have been, but has “no regrets whatsoever.”

“I don’t know how far I would have gone (in the competition),” he said.

The 27-year-old Bronx, N.Y., native says his upcoming album should be out in the spring, and will reflect a variety of genres.

“It’s going to be a fusion of everything I’ve grown up with in New York City,” he said, from R&B to alternative music to pop.

Vazquez said he’s especially excited to let his “Idol” fans in on what he’s been working on.

“I really want to just hit them with a great record and a real representation of what I love.”