Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Did Mario Vazquez Sexually Harass Someone?

Roger Friedman of says Mario Vazquez is a good kid and the idea that he was sexually harrassing someone goes against everything Friedman has seen and heard about him. Fair enough. But there are two other layers to this story. People claim Vazquez might have left Idol because of his behavior, but Friedman says convincingly why did everyone wait till he was virutally off the radar before filing a lawsuit? Then Friedman insists the only reason Vazquez left Idol early was because a lawyer who worked for Clay Aiken told Vazquez horror stories about how hard it is to get out of your Idol contract and he would be beholden to them for seven years. That hardly seems likely since Mario turned around and signed with Clive Davis anyway, the very label he would have been signed to if he'd won the show. Further, it seems crazily cocky and short-sighted to leave a talent show giving you worldwide massive exposure because you're worried that you'll do so well that you'll win a record deal and you don't want the hassle of working with the Idol people -- especially since that means you'll have to lay low for at least a year after the season was over before releasing anything anywhere. It certainly was the wrong decision for Mario, whose solo album has completely flopped, something Friedman is too polite to mention. He also doesn't mention the other reason people assumed Vazquez might have left the show: he was closeted and was afraid it would come out. But Friedman does refer to him as "soft-spoken," which seems like "La Confidential" code for the same thing.

UPDATE: I changed the wording above to reflect the reality that while many of the Idol artists have broken away in one way or another, they're all tied into 19 contractually in one way or another for quite a few years, even if it's only symbolically. I do have the impression with some of them (like Kelly) that 19 gets its cut but she has her own team directing her career and just deals with the financial obligation to them until the contract runs out. But of course, I'm not privvy to all the deals and how they work.


Anonymous said...

I'm glad someone else noticed this Michael.

Friedman has been particularly close to Clive Davis & Company (including being one of the very few journalists invited as a guest to Clive Davis's anual pre-grammy bash), thus it looks like Friedman is kissing up as much as possible while talking out of both sides of his mouth and being very careful not to step on any toes.

Anonymous said...

That's not true. ALL IDOLS are still tied to 19E they just got out of the management end of the business(19m). Clay's latest album still bears the 19E symbol. I believe Kelly still does too(I could be wrong though). And I do believe Simon also mentioned something that the early idols were signed for 7 years( or albums) too.

Anonymous said...

The Idol management contract is the only thing Vasquez avoided, which is a good thing for Mario because they can trash you and turn down endorsements and manipulate your schedule to their advantage, plus they take a huge cut of earnings right off the top before expenses. He signed with Clive Davis for the recording deal which is also a horror show. Clive picks the songs and that isn't a good thing for anyone who has their own idea of the kind of CD they'd like to record. Clive controls all publicity and promotion and he can either support an artist, as he is doing for Mario or trash an artist as he did for Bo, Diana, Justin, Taylor and Clay. With-holding Radio support is one way to ensure that the ones they don't want to succeed too much are held back.

Any of them that are at the mercy of AI management and Clive Davis's evil vision are lucky to get out with any semblance of a career if they don't go along with the puppet masters. Bo, Diana and Justin were dropped, Taylor and Clay are still at their mercy. Who gets the negative press? You guessed it, Taylor and Clay.

Anonymous said...

Umm, I'm not sure of the accuracy in the comment and I quote you "That hardly seems possible since most everyone has broken with the Idol label after just one album without any problems." That might need some fact checking.

Anonymous said...

Re: anonymous #3

Just out of curiosity, why would Clive Davis or any record company WANT one of their acts to fail? I'm not disputing you, I'm just asking how that would be to their advantage...

Michael in New York said...

Roger Friedman also stated a conflict of interest in his article, saying that a good friend of his knows Mario and so he's seen him on more than a few occasions.

I've considered the 19E symbol as more or less of a given for these guys for years, but I considered it more of a contractual thing (and of course they get their cut) than something that indicates significant control.

To me, the biggest need for control is in the album they create. That's why Mario's path is so confusing: he jumped ship on Idol, everyone whispered he probably had a deal with P Diddy or someone like that and then he went and signed with Clive Davis anyway, the very person you would have been working with if you'd won. So what was the point of leaving?

You're all correct that I spoke too broadly about the legal ties to 19 and Arista/RCA. These guys are locked in in one way or another for a while.

But I really have to agree with Joe. Clive Davis would be thrilled to have ALL of them be successful. Does he have favorites, people he truly believes in strongly or has a clear vision for? Of course. Do they get preferential treatment? Of course. But that's how every label works. he certainly doesn' say, 'I want Bo Bice to fail.' Though certainly anyone who is "difficult" would get the short end of the stick. Clay is certainly one that has chafed under the aritistic restraints. Kelly is one who clearly took the reins in that area but managed to do it in a way that didn't alientate anyone.

None of this explains why Mario would jump Idol because he was worried about being tied into their machine and then turn around and sign with Clive Davis anway. Perhaps he found out that Davis was powerful and would make his displeasure known if anyone else signed someone he had given such national visibility to? Not to get all Godfather on you and he certainly doesn't have any mean sof enforcing this, just the force of his personality.

Anonymous said...

I knew about Mario Vazquez since 2001. He recorded backup vocals w/ Michael Jackson. Then he did a wonderful album recording lead vocals for a guitarist/songwriter named Cesar.The CD is called "worlds of change". Next American Idol and after "quitting" all the media attention that did not help him to became a mainstream succesful artist. Now the lawsuit is going to kill him completely; remember he only sold a few thousend records having all that exposure and now this dark news aren't gonna improve any sells or make him a household name. People didn't like him much before, no reason why the whole country is gonna change now!