It’s hard out there for an American Idol also-ran. While the show’s four champs to date have all scored platinum albums, folks like Jasmine Trias, John Stevens, and LaToya London — none of whom made it to the final two — have struggled to get airplay or score any kind of significant album sales.

But Season 4’s Mario Vazquez, who dropped out of the competition after advancing to the final 12, is hoping to buck that trend, and I think the dude might be able to pull it off. For starters, Vazquez had enough talent and charisma (remember his ”I Love Music”?) that I think he would’ve given Carrie Underwood and Bo Bice a serious challenge if he hadn’t leapt out the Idol escape hatch. What’s more, according to an interview with Vazquez, he’s lined up such A-list collaborators as Ne-Yo, Scott Storch, Kerry “Krucial” Brothers, and Soulshock and Karlin for his J Records debut, due this summer. So as long as he loses the Davy Crockett hat, I’m betting Vazquez will join Clay Aiken, Josh Gracin, and Dreamgirls‘ Jennifer Hudson in escaping the Idol losers curse.

Actually, looking at that list of success stories, maybe a better question is this: What curse?

addCredit(“Mario Vasquez: Jamie McCarthy/”)