If Jason Castro looked relieved when he was ousted from American Idol's seventh season during last night's results show, that's because he was.

"My natural reaction, I just really felt relieved that the pressure was off," Castro told reporters during a Thursday conference call.  "I loved my time on there and I would have liked to go farther, but I don't think I could handle it. So I'm content."

The 20-year-old from Rockwall, TX was ousted from Idol's seventh season after "nearly 51 million" home viewer votes were cast immediately following Tuesday night's live performance broadcast that saw the Top 4 finalists each singing two songs from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

"I've been telling people I was as happy last night as I was when I made the Top 24," Castro told reporters. 

"This whole time I've had a blast, and I was trying.  But it's just really been hard, and last night I remember -- before we found out the results -- I was just really starting to fear the week ahead if I made it. 'How am I gonna do three songs?  I can't even do two right.' With the hometown visit it was just going to be a lot of work, even though it would have been so much fun.  I was just freaking out about it.  That was all building up, so I was ready to go."

However Castro claims it's not as though he already had both feet out the door prior to Tuesday night's performances, and he specifically referenced an interview in Entertainment Weekly's May 9 issue in which he was quoted as saying he was "kind of ready to go home."

"I think this week everyone kind of had the idea I was ready to go.  That wasn't my mind set at all," he told reporters. 

"But every week has its ups and downs, and going into that morning when I had that interview I was kind of frustrated with a lot of things -- my music, the way it was coming along, we were selecting songs. There was a lot going on that morning, and I think that came across wrong.  Just with the way I was on the show, I guess people were thinking I didn't want to be there.  That was never my mind set."

Regardless of his mind set, it seemed like Castro's time as an Idol seventh-season finalist was coming to a close -- a fact that became evident once his workload was increased by having to perform two songs each week instead of one.

"I think what it came down to was my inexperience and once we doubled-up on songs I wasn't really able to focus on both my songs," he explained.  "My mind was just split and I just couldn't deliver either or.  I think that's what it came down to."

Castro said he only started playing guitar his freshman year of college and began singing "shortly thereafter," with almost zero experience performing for an audience.

"After my [Idol seventh-season] audition, I did a few more shows.  Probably 10 to 12 through Christmas time from my original audition [last summer]," he said.  "But the longest gig I did was a 30-minute set."
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In addition, Castro said he can't argue with Idol judges Simon Cowell and Randy Jackson's comments that it felt like they weren't watching the same Castro that they put into the competition,.

"I was feeling the same thing," Castro told reporters.  "I was just feeling me losing that power just because I couldn't connect with the songs.  I really had a hard time when we picked it up to two songs.  I wasn't committing to either one and I couldn't connect.  You need time for that."

While he might have lacked the previous professional experience when compared to some of his seventh-season competition, Castro said he thinks it was that "potential" that the judges saw in him that helped him make it as far as he did.

"Just because I was so new at it and what I had done so far, I think I just showed enough potential that I could potentially be somebody," he explained.  "Plus I think I'm very much what the show was originally about.  I'm kind of as raw as it gets."

Check back with Reality TV World for more from Castro's exit interview, including what happened when he forgot some of the lyrics during Tuesday night's performance episode; if he's really as mellow and goofy as he came across on the show; how he's been caught off-guard by his instant stardom; his reaction to Paula Abdul's confusing comments last week; and what's next for him.