Stephen M. Silverman
March 23, 2005 08:30 AM

The rumblings are growing even louder that American Idol early retiree Mario Vazquez has a newer, better recording contract in his back pocket – placed there by music mogul Sean “P. Diddy” Combs.

“I can’t discuss that right now,” Combs, clearly not denying the prospect, tells the New York Post, adding: “We’re hopefully about to announce our plans for our next era.”

Bronx crooner Vazquez, 27, is being typically quiet. When he withdrew from the FOX talent hunt earlier this month, he blamed unspecified “personal reasons.” Conventional wisdom, however, speculated that he did not wish to be tied to the restrictive Idol recording contract with RCA.

As it is, Vazquez is bound to AI until the May season finale is aired.

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