'Idol' Quitter Vazquez Explains, 'Us New Yorkers Are Crazy'

Frontrunner thanks show, says he'll miss fellow contestants.

After shocking "American Idol" fans this weekend by suddenly dropping out of the competition, Mario Vazquez offered fans little more explanation than "family reasons." On Monday he was a little more forthcoming — but not much.

"This is just something I felt personally wasn't right for me," the former "Idol" frontrunner told MTV News. "It just wasn't the greatest timing. I'm just very grateful and blessed that [the fans] really support me. I am so glad they have enjoyed my performances and what I do. I just wanted to sing from my heart and do my music. I am sorry if you are disappointed, and I hope you can understand it's something I want to deal with. I want to keep the little privacy I have private, and I want people to respect that."

Vazquez said he has no regrets about pulling out of the "American Idol" race, because "I just had to follow my intuition. It was a very hard decision for me to make." But he also vowed it wouldn't be the last time you see him. (Do you think we'll be hearing from Mario again? Vote in our poll.)

When asked whether that meant he'd signed a deal with a major label, Vazquez at first said he hadn't, but then when asked for clarification about his contractual status he refused to discuss the situation further.


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The possibility that the New Yorker felt uncomfortable signing a long-term contract with the "American Idol" camp has been a subject of much speculation. Asked about that, he demurred, saying, "There's lots of speculation out there."

He did thank the show's producers for exposing him to the show's millions of viewers, saying, "I will always be in debt to them." Vazquez also thanked his fans for their support and asked for their understanding and respect while he deals with a personal issue — one that has nothing to do with his immediate family, he said, dispelling some of the rumors surrounding his departure.

Leaving the other contestants behind, people he called "friends," was "very hard, because we all bonded," he added. "It just isn't the right time for me now. It was all with timing on my part and where I was with my head. It was something I was contemplating throughout. Us New Yorkers are crazy. It's just unexplainable. I just follow my heart and intuition. ... My intuition is very strong, and something I have always followed in my heart. I will always follow it."

With Vazquez out, Nikko Smith, who was ousted last week, was invited to rejoin the "American Idol" cast ... at least until the next vote (see "Mario Vazquez Quits 'Idol' — 'It Wasn't Right For Me'").

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