Relieved Castro blames "Idol" exit on inexperience

Thu May 8, 2008 4:01pm EDT
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By Jill Serjeant

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A relieved Jason Castro on Thursday attributed his exit from "American Idol" to inexperience and the pressure of trying to learn two new songs every week for the hit television talent show.

The dreadlocked, guitar-playing Castro dismissed the notion that he had given up trying in the past couple of weeks. But he said he was "freaking out" over having to learn three new songs for next week's showdown among the last three contenders.

"I guess people were thinking I didn't want to be there, but that was never my mind-set," Castro, 20, told reporters in a conference call the morning after being voted off the show.

"It has just really been hard ... I was starting to fear the week ahead. Like, how can I do three songs?. I can't even do two ... I was freaking out about it.

"I really felt relief, like the pressure was off. I loved my time on there, and I would have liked to go farther, but I don't think I could have handled it," the Texan singer said.

Castro, whose mellow good looks won him a huge teenage girl fan base, said he only began learning guitar a couple of years ago and had played only a handful of performances before making it onto the show.

"It was just my inexperience," he said, noting the frenetic rehearsal period that led to him flubbing the lyrics on Tuesday of the Bob Dylan classic "Mr. Tambourine Man."

"I am as raw as it gets. I have not done much of anything singing-wise ... I really had a hard time when it got up to two songs a week. I wasn't connecting to either one. I couldn't fall in love with them, and you need time for that," he said.   Continued...

<p>Finalist Jason Castro from Rockwall, Texas poses at the American Idol Top 12 party honoring the finalists in the "American Idol" television reality series in Los Angeles, March 6, 2008. REUTERS/Fred Prouser</p>