LOS ANGELES – The answer to the trivia question, whatever happened to Mario, the dropout from "American Idol," has an answer. Mario Vazquez — who, even in the early stages of last season's edition of "Idol," was considered a favorite to win — has his first single coming out this week.
Mario mysteriously quit the megahit show last spring after making it into the finals, but swore it wouldn't be the last anyone heard from him.
Turns out, he may be right.
His new single, "Gallery," produced by Clive Davis' J Records was shipped to radio stations this week, in two versions — one in English and another in Spanish.
"I don't want to give too much away, but lyrically it's just longing love, lost love, wanting love," Bronx-born Mario told MTV.com.
His still-untitled album is currently in production but will not hit stores until at least the end of the summer, according to industry sources.
J Records, which has typically only signed the winners and runners-up of the Fox talent show, locked up Vazquez last August after months of speculation about why Vazquez left "Idol."
At the time he stunned everyone, including his mother, when he abruptly left the show for "personal reasons" after making it into the final 12.
He is the only contestant in all five seasons of the show so far to make it nearly to the end and then quit.
Shortly after his departure, rumors began to surface that the then-28-year-old had been approached by hip-hop impresario Sean "Diddy" Combs with a deal to appear on his label, Bad Boy Records.
In interviews last year, Combs declined to comment, but it was understood that Vazquez had become a hot property when his commitment to "Idol" expired after last May's season finale.
"Basically, it comes down to my intuition," Vazquez told E! at the time. "It wasn't time for me to do this now. There were certain aspects of my life that I needed to take care of first."
Late last summer, Davis unexpectedly announced his deal with the young singer.
Davis has called Vazquez "a multitalented, young, American-born, Hispanic singer with the voice and charisma that we've been trying to find for a long time."