Mario Vazquez
Credit: Mario Vasquez: Kevin Winter/Getty

Mario Vazquez could be the smartest person ever to appear on American Idol (including Simon Cowell). Seems he’s making good on his promise to, after his mysterious departure from the competition in March, that ”just because I left American Idol doesn’t mean it’s the last you’ve heard of Mario Vazquez.”

If this report from Fox News gossip columnist Roger Friedman is true, Vazquez has made a deft end-run around the process, signing a record deal with Clive Davis (the mogul who’s signed the other major Idol singers) without having to withstand the rigors of the contest or, more importantly, without having to sign an onerous contract with Simon Fuller’s 19 Management. (Vazquez is represented by the same lawyer who helped Clay Aiken get out of his 19 contract.)

Of course, if the fedora-sporting crooner is going to put out a record, he’d better do it soon. His 15 minutes of fame avoidance are about to run out.

addCredit(“Mario Vasquez: Kevin Winter/Getty”)