Mario gets a recording contract; Idol rumored to be dropping J Records

Mario Vasquez, who quit in the middle of American Idol 4, has signed a record contract with J Records.

The personal reasons excuse Mario stuck to had nothing to do with his sexual orientation or his being forced off the show, both of which were rumored. Instead, FOX 411 reports that Mario was “convinced by his lawyer — the same lawyer who represented Clay Aiken — to leave the show rather than stay and sign a management contract with the ‘Idol’ producers.”

Now, he “has signed a lucrative deal with legendary record executive Clive Davis and Davis’ J Records,” and Mario “will be managed by another legend, Arnold Steifel,” Roger Friedman reports. Laughably, Friedman also notes that “[i]f Vazquez had stayed on ‘American Idol’ and won — which he likely would have done — he would have wound up on J Records anyway.”

Mario likely would have won? Only on the planet where Anthony Federov’s singing doesn’t cause seizures and where time travelers prevented Carrie, Bo, Vonzell, and Constantine’s parents from ever meeting.

‘Idol’ Defector Mario Gets Big Deal [FOX 411]

The Sing-Off loses its star

Ben Folds

NBC's super-fun December a capella singing competition The Sing-Off is returning, but without its star judge, Ben Folds, and only as a two-hour special. Those are really depressing changes for a series that proved itself to be a super-fun show when it returned last December.


A film director talks about becoming a reality TV character

Anna Martemucci

What is it like to have your life turned into reality TV? Director Anna Martemucci, one of the two directors featured on Starz' exceptional reality series, talks about that, the competition, and her collaboration with her husband and brother-in-law.

Plus: How the show's producers tried to keep the $250,000 competition fair.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.