March 13, 2005 07:56 PM by Joe Blackmon
In the most shocking exit ever from a reality TV show, Mario Vazquez has quit American Idol 4, leaving stunned fans gasping for answers. Mario Vazquez is not the first person to quit a popular reality TV show or even the first person to quit American Idol. In the past, both Survivor and The Apprentice have had contestants quit during the middle of the competition. Earlier this season American Idol even had its first contestant quit, Marlea Stroman quit because of the stress of being away from her son. What is so shocking about Mario Vazquez quitting is that he was actually a serious contender to win the most popular reality TV show on the air. Previous exits from reality TV shows have usually occurred early in the competition by contestants who probably knew they were longshots to win anyway. Mario Vazquez on the other hand left after making it into the top 12 American Idol finalist. The official Fox press release states Mario Vazquez left for "personal reasons." Speculation of why Mario really left is running rampant on many message boards and theories range from family problems to something to do with Michael Jackson (Mario Vazquez previously sang back-up for Michael Jackson). Assuming that the press release is correct and Mario did leave for personal or family reasons, his departure is likely to shine an even bigger spotlight on whatever those personal or family reasons are. In this age of blogs and message boards, speculation will run rampant until all the details are made public.