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Jason Castro: "It's Nice To Be Doing Something Different"

May 14, 2008 5:25 PM ET

Last week's American Idol castoff Jason Castro stopped by our office to chat about his time on the show, the upcoming Idol tour and his plans for an album. He also offered an explanation for his "Mr. Tambourine Man" lyric fumble during last week's broadcast: "I think I learn slower than others," he laughs. "I usually just take my time, spending a week learning an song and connecting with it. I like the connection in music, and I didn't have time to make that connection last week."

"At this point, the competition is dependent on who goes home," Castro adds. "Even if someone messed up before, their performance was still better than another singer. Now everyone is really good and really talented, so it's like, 'Who's going to mess up?'"

While he was admittedly still tired from his post-show media blitz, Castro was also visibly relieved to not be singing three songs tonight. "It's nice to be doing something different, and not stressing," he says. "My biggest worry now is that I'll say something stupid."

Not that he'll necessarily be stress-free in the near future; after a cameo in the audience during tonight's results show, Castro begins rehearsals for the finale tomorrow and starts tour rehearsals on June 1st. "They're letting us have more input," he says of the tour, adding each performer will get to sing three songs each. Castro says he's considering Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy" (his audition song at home and during Hollywood week) and his ukulele rendition of "Over the Rainbow."

After the tour, Castro says he wants to take some time off and create material for an upcoming album. No deals have been confirmed, but Castro says he's been taking a look at producers of people he likes, including Ray Lamontagne and Ben Harper. "But I don't even know how you get in touch with those people," he laughs. "We'll see if they want to work."

Though Castro says he didn't walk away from Idol with a best friend, he certainly acquired a legion of devoted fans, the Dreadheads. "My fans came up with the idea to send me postcards, and I'd get at least 50 a day from all over the world," he says. "I also got 150 balloons whenever I was sick, and a life size stuffed black panther. Everyone who sees it gets scared — it was sitting on the floor when David Archuleta opened the door and he jumped!"

One thing not on his horizon is school — Castro's newfound fame has finally given him the chance to put it off for a while, something he says his parents are okay with. "I think what American Idol does is let people know who you are," he says. "And now that people have heard who Jason Castro is, maybe they'll take a listen. That's all I want."

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Song Stories

“Bird on a Wire”

Leonard Cohen | 1969

While living on the Greek island of Hydra, Cohen was battling a lingering depression when his girlfriend handed him a guitar and suggested he play something. After spotting a bird on a telephone wire, Cohen wrote this prayer-like song of guilt. First recorded by Judy Collins, it would be performed numerous times by artists incuding Johnny Cash, Joe Cocker and Rita Coolidge. "I'm always knocked out when I hear my songs covered or used in some situation," Cohen told Rolling Stone. "I've never gotten over the fact that people out there like my music."

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