Mario Adrian Vazquez (born June 15, 1977) is a Puerto Rican-American singer from The Bronx, New York. He competed on American Idol's fourth season which aired on the FOX network in early 2005.
Vazquez is an alumnus of Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts . He was also involved in the City Kids Repertoire Company in New York City, which enabled him to travel the country and perform in front of the President and at major charitable functions and shelters.
After making it into the final round of twelve contestants Vazquez suddenly dropped out of the competition for "family reasons" a few days before the finals started. When the press contacted his mother regarding his decision, she wasn't aware that he had made it to the finals. Vazquez was replaced by Nikko Smith who had previously been voted out.
Some believed that Vazquez quit the show in order to avoid the highly restrictive contracts that the final twelve must sign. Vazquez, however, appeared the next morning on "Good Day New York" on WNYW FOX5, and squashed rumors of a feud with "American Idol" producers or any of his competitors. "American Idol was only positive. They were only wonderful to me, from the beginning through the middle, to the end," he told the show. "It had nothing to do with the contract or anything signed with J Records." J Records is the same company that manages Idol winners Ruben Studdard and Fantasia Barrino.
In August of 2005, it was reported that Vazquez had signed with record executive Clive Davis and Davis' Arista Records. Vazquez's manager is Arnold Steifel, of Rod Stewart fame. He is also reportedly set to work with Houston rapper Mike Jones. Other co-producers include Ne-Yo, Soulshock and Karlin, Lester Mendez, Scott Storch and Luny Tunes.
His first single "Gallery" written by Ne-Yo who also co-produced the vocals on the track, was one of the most added records at Rhythm radio stations across the country its first week out. The track was sent out to Top 40 radio on April 17, 2006 and was made available through all digital retailers as a single release on May 2, 2006. Both English and Spanglish versions of "Gallery" are currently on radio and are released digitally. Vazquez's self-titled album was released September 26, 2006 by Arista Records. The album debuted at #80 with 12,000 sold, falling out of the Top 200 within two weeks. Vazquez attributed his departure from American Idol due to his need to control the "sound" that he has worked on since he was 13 years old. He felt that American Idol wasn’t going to give him that. In an interview about American Idol Season 5, Vazquez also attributed his early departure from American Idol as a way to prevent himself from being labeled as a top 12 contestant – he did not want a "number", felt that since he was now known worldwide as a semi-finalist (which was better than not being known at all), he could end the competition and go solo. He believed that his musical success would not make a difference whether he quit as a semi-finalist or participated in the finals round. Unfortunately for Vasquez, this success has not come in the form of CD sales as he stands as the third lowest selling American Idol contestant, in front of Corey Clark who was disquallified and Ayla Brown who did not make it to the finals, and behind even William Hung. Later that year, Vazquez performed on the Cartoon Network Friday block on August 25, 2006.
A second single "One Shot" was released to radio in February 2007 after 10 months of relying only on the first single to promote the album. It began receiving moderate airplay and by early March was hovering around #58 on Mediabase 24/7's CHR/Pop chart when scandal broke.