Jason Castro, America Idol

Frank Micelotta/FOX

Jason Castro not only didn't try to lose American Idol, the laid-back dude in dreads actually wanted to win the thing.

"Yesterday I wanted to win, and the day before [that]," Castro told reporters this morning.

The 21-year-old Texan's heretofore unexpressed ambition was thwarted by his elimination Wednesday night, his fate apparently sealed by a critically panned performance of "I Shot the Sheriff" and a lyrically challenged version of "Mr. Tambourine Man" on Tuesday.

Castro shot down theories that (1) he intentionally flubbed the words on "Tambourine Man," as alleged by judge Simon Cowell, and (2) he mouthed the plea "Don't vote" to the dialing public after one of his performances on Tuesday's show.

"I definitely did not do that on purpose," Castro said of the gaffe that led him to sheepishly substitute gibberish for Bob Dylan's "In the jingle-jangle morning I'll come following you."

"I can't believe I forgot such a popular line—something that's written on your soul...My mind was just a blur."

As for the "Don't vote" request: Read his lips better, Castro basically said. He said "Vote, vote."

"I was saying 'Vote,' [and] because I was trying to emphasize [it], I said it again because nobody heard me," he explained.

"I think people were thinking I didn't want to be there," he said, "which was never my mindset."

Castro, however, didn't deny that losing was almost an upgrade over the alternative.

"I was as happy last night as I was when I made the top 24," he said. "It's just been really hard. I was really starting to fear the week ahead."

The week ahead is Top Three week, wherein the remaining finalists cram in a hometown trip amid their other Idol responsibilities, including learning and performing three songs.

"I was ready to go either way," Castro said.

But when he was eliminated, he said, "The pressure was off. I loved my time on there. I would have loved to go farther, but I don't think I could've handled it."

Castro, who said he'd watched Idol regularly in college at Texas A&M, and really, truly wanted to win the competition, especially the longer he stayed in it, admitted his inexperience caught up with him.

Castro only started playing guitar his freshman year—or, about three years ago. "I'd learn songs, but I'd never learn them all the way through," he said. "So, trying to learn two in a week [for Idol] was tough."

When Cowell said Castro was no longer the performer that they'd granted admittance into the Top 24, Castro had to agree.

"I was just feeling me losing the power because I couldn't connect with the songs," he said. "…I really had a hard time when we kicked it up to two songs."

Though Idol voters are done with Castro, Idol isn't. He'll be back for the finale in two weeks, and then the tour, and then…

"After that," Castro said, "wherever the music leads me. I just want to play music somewhere."

Other tidbits:

  • Sometimes a yawn is just a yawn, and not a subliminal message that somebody wants off Idol. "I am a chronic yawner," said Castro, who was caught in the act on a recent results show. "I don't know where it comes from or why, but I'm always yawning."
  • Castro wasn't featured in the early episodes, he said, because the show couldn't get a clearance for his audition song, Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy."
  • While the Bob Marley enthusiast didn't dispute he's laid-back, he did dispute that he's always laid-back. "I'm not always so calm," he said. "A lot of people don't see my hyperness."
  • Seeing his rendition of "Hallelujah" help make a hit out of Jeff Buckley's version was "awesome," Castro said. "I couldn't believe it. I realized the power of American Idol."
  • As bad as Tuesday went, Castro didn't necessarily feel doomed come Wednesday. "I felt like I was the one who deserved to go," he said. "But at the same time, I knew I had some very loyal fans."
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