The American Idol wheels keep turning in unexpected ways as Mario Vazquez, who “withdrew from the competition for personal reasons” just before the ’05 finals began in March, has remained within the Idol family, at least according to them.
Yesterday, Idol guru Simon Fuller’s 19 Entertainment Limited announced that Vazquez has entered into a recording agreement with J Records, a division of SonyBMG Music Entertainment, and an exclusive management agreement with Stiefel Entertainment. The company confirmed that work has begun on Vazquez’s new album, which is expected to be released in spring 2006.
Now, why 19 made the announcement is something of a mystery since Vazquez is rumored to have left the show at the urging of one Jess L. Rosen — the attorney who helped extricate Clay Aiken from his management contract with 19 — specifically to avoid an onerous contractual arrangement with 19. Vazquez signed with Arnold Stiefel (who oddly enough produced the Midnight In the Garden of Good and Evil film) for management, and signed with J Records for recording – where does 19 fit into the picture?
Fuller commented, “This demonstrates again the ability of American Idol both to spot new young talent and to bring that talent to the attention of the American public. We continue to enjoy a professional relationship with Mario Vazquez and of course are pleased that SonyBMG, which has been the record company of American Idol, will be Mario’s label and that Arnold Stiefel, a close business associate and good personal friend of our senior management, will be guiding Mario’s career.”
What, exactly, is that professional relationship, one wonders. I don’t see Jess Rosen mentioned in there anywhere. We may need Sticker to help us figure this all out.
Another bit of Mario intrigue revolves around his three-song (“Save The World,” “EveryTime,” “God Is Like A Mirror”) guest appearance on the album Worlds of Change by Argentine flamenco/R&B/pop guitarist Cesar, which was coincidentally released last February, just before Vazquez quit Idol.
Cesar felt compelled to explain the situation in a March 28 statement. “There have been many inaccuracies in the media since Mario left the show,” says Cesar. “My album was released a month before his departure, and it was recorded in 2003 and 2004, long before he was on American Idol. The timing of its release and Mario being chosen as a finalist is purely coincidental. My friendship with Mario began through mutual friends here in Los Angeles in 1998,” he adds. “I greatly admired his talent, I hired him to sing on those three vocal tracks, and he did a wonderful job. His many fans who were disappointed with him leaving the show will enjoy his great voice on Worlds of Change.”