I had the opportunity today to participate in a media call with Jason Castro. He seemed relieved to be off the show and shared a lot about his experience on the show. I wish him the best of luck in his future music career.
I was watching the news last night, and Simon said, ďI think he forgot the words on purpose. I think heís just ready to go home.Ē And I wanted to get your reaction to that.
J. Castro: Yeah, somebody told me that earlier. I definitely did not do that on purpose. I couldnít believe I forgot such a popular line, something thatís like written on your soul. Somehow, it slipped my mind. But I definitely didnít do that on purpose.
So you still wanted to win as of Tuesday.
J. Castro: Yesterday, I wanted to win, and the day before. And itís just Ė I think what came Ė what it came down to is just my inexperience. And I just - once we doubled up on songs, I wasnít really being able to focus. And both my songs were just Ė my mind was just split, and I just couldnít deliver either/or, and so I think thatís what it came down to.
I know that [Texas] A&M in particular, and the Aggies, have been really, really supportive with the watch parties, and they printed up T-shirts.
J. Castro: Yes.
Did you know during the show that all this was going on?
J. Castro: I did. I have a lot of friend there, as one could assume. And, yes, I actually had some friends out here this week that brought me a few of the shirts that have been made, and itís been really cool to hear from them and just see how the townís going on.
What was it like, sort of because the papers were sort of following your every move. Is it kind of surreal to know that this has all been going on while youíre out there on the show?
J. Castro: Yes, itís very Ė like every time I hear something from my mom, Iím just like, ďMan, I wish I could be there to see that,Ē but it wouldnít be going on unless I was here. And itís just really crazy, and I still canít wait to go home and see what itís like because I havenít been yet.
And you said, the last thing you said on your Idol bio that you were really influenced by a lot of Texas artists. Is there anybody in particular that you really liked, or that you drew from?
J. Castro: Yes. Iíve listened to a lot of Texas country and just being around there, and I donít know, the likes of Pat Green and stuff. Iím just a big country fan, kind of, and I just love the heart behind it.
Could you get a little more specific about your inexperience? I had read one place that you hadnít started singing in public until a year ago, and that youíd only performed five times before you tried out for Idol.
J. Castro: Yes. It goes back to Ė I started playing guitar at my freshman year of college and singing shortly thereafter. And while I was learning, I was teaching myself, and so I would learn songs, but I would never learn them all the way through. So Iíd never even learned a song all the way through, and now trying to learn two in a week has just been tough.
Okay, so just a Ė hold on, a little bit further down. Once you knew you were on Idol, did you have a chance to quick do some more concerts before it was time to go there?
J. Castro: Yes.
And also, what was the longest gig youíd done before you came on the show?
J. Castro: After my first audition, I did a few more shows, probably about like ten to twelve up and through like the Christmas time from my original audition. But the longest gig I did was like a 30-minute set at a local venue there.
So when the top 24 started, you were one of only 4 contestants who hadnít been seen at all in the audition rounds. And the other three were gone months ago almost. Why do you think you were able to stay around despite the fact that we didnít get to know you until the top 24 started?
J. Castro: Well, I think a lot of it just has to do with kind of my uniqueness in many ways and just being different from the usual thing. I at least catch the eye and the ear a little faster than anybody else, and so that was an advantage since I was disadvantaged coming in, but I guess just me was an advantage.
Well, was that something, when you watched the audition episodes and you saw that you werenít there, where you got concerned at all?
J. Castro: I was a little because I would see how people were getting excited about other people, and I was like uh-oh, like already getting fans. And I knew why they werenít airing my stuff. It didnít clear and stuff, so I was okay with it, but itís still Ė it wasnít fun.
My question for you is, now, that you are going back home, what are you most excited to get back to, like in your regular day-to-day life?
J. Castro: Well, I donít know how soon thatís happening because what Iím hearing is Iím not going to get to go home because weíre going to New York this next week, and then I have to come right back for the finale, so I donít really know when getting home will be. But when I do, I just miss home. And I love being home in the summer and just Ė I kind of miss working, working in the summers with my dad. I donít know. I donít know if itíll happen again, but yes.
And what do you do for work with your dad?
J. Castro: Well, he has a company who design and build custom swimming pools and worked with him since I was 15, and I just did drafting and did some outside work. I would survey lots and clean pools and stuff like that.
Now, on the show, you always appeared so mellow and graceful on stage, you were never talking back to the judges or anything. Are you as mellow as you kind of appeared on American Idol?
J. Castro: I am very much. Iím kind of laid back and grounded and everything, nothing really comes as a surprise if you donít expect, I think. But I donít know. I am like that. Iím not always so calm. I am kind of goofy. I think that a lot of people donít see my hyperness sometimes. I still have fun, but I am pretty relaxed about everything.
How did you feel last week when Simon said you werenít the Jason they brought into the competition?
J. Castro: Well, I was feeing the same thing, and I was just feeling me losing that power just because I couldnít connect with the songs with like the given time, and I really had a hard time when we picked it up to two songs. I just Ė like I wasnít committing to either one, and I couldnít Ė I just couldnít connect with them. I couldnít fall in love with it. You need time for that.
And whatís the most difficult aspect in your opinion of being on American Idol?
J. Castro: I think itís really Ė it has everything to do with the songs, either selecting the song, or finding the time to rehearse it. Thatís the biggest challenge. Itís all about the song. And if youíre trying to make things original, and just, as time goes on, you get less and less time to do that, and it really becomes harder. But, yes, just the day-to-day runnings of things make it hard to do that.
Do you feel like this show portrayed you how you really are because they Ė the packages make you look a little goofy. Itís really funny, but do you feel like that portrays you accurately?
J. Castro: I think it very much does. I am a goofy person. I have fun and everything. I am kind of an awkward conversationalist. Iím doing my best right now, but all my friends, they love it because what you see is what you get. I didnít change at all coming out here. And so, yes, thatís me.
After you had forgotten the lyrics that time, did you go back stage and check them, or did you remember them immediately afterwards?
J. Castro: Yes. I knew them. I just Ė I know Ė like when I got up on stage that day, it was really rushed, and like I had barely sat in my seat, and they told me to go. And so my mind was just kind of in a blur, and I just sang and got to that part, and I kind of Ė I think I kind of forgot where in the chorus I was, so I didnít know which ending I was supposed to be doing. And, yes, I donít know, but I knew that was the end of the chorus and then went on from there.
Did you remember them when youíd finished, immediately?
J. Castro: Yes. I sang the same chorus at the end, and I sang the words then. It was just Ė I donít know where it went for that second.
Some conspiracy theorists think that on Tuesday night you mouthed the words, ďDonít voteĒ after your first song while Ryan was announcing the numbers. What did you actually say? What wasÖ.
J. Castro: I was saying, ďVote.Ē And then I said it again because I was kind of trying to emphasize that but nobody heard me, and I remember going and sitting down and thinking about it, and that they kind of have the same syllables, and itís going to look like, ďDonít vote.Ē That went through my mind, and I was like, ďDang it.Ē And I consciously, the second time, I only said vote once, and they were doing the numbers because I thought of that.
And what were you thinking of singing next week if you made it in the final three? Had you actually thought about it yet?
J. Castro: Yes, a little. Usually, the songs I want to do donít clear because Iíve kind of tried to clear them a few times, but thereís a song I hadnít tried to clear yet by Cary Brothers called ďBlue Eyes.Ē And thatís one I really wanted to do next week and one I already knew and love.
What did you learn from your experience on Idol?
J. Castro: Well, Iíve learned that I can do a lot more than I thought. Before I did this, I wasnít really confident as a performer, and I wasnít doing it a whole lot. And well, now, I did it for a few months straight on TV. And so I just gained a lot of confidence and learned that I can do it, and itís cool.
What was the best piece of advice you received, and who was it from?
J. Castro: Hmm. I donít know. I usually Ė I generally think I have a good idea of music and what I think it is. And thereís always improvements I can have on the technical aspect of things, which I had on a weekly basis from my vocal coach, Burt, but as far as all the artists go, it was always like a reaffirming thing of just what I believe and just about loving the music and doing it from the heart. And I think thatís the core of music, and itís easy to forget that when youíre in something like American Idol and just having to rush and do these things. But that was always good advice.
Well, it definitely seems your interview skills have improved.
J. Castro: Well, I try to think of them more as conversations now and not so much interviews.
Well, now, can I ask something about just Simonís comments? Obviously, toward the end there, he was pretty harsh.
J. Castro: Yes.
And you were Ė you really just kind of took it, and even just now, you said, ďWell, I kind of agreed with him.Ē Where do you think that comes from that you donít get offended or kind of worked up about what he says?
J. Castro: Well, it all Ė I donít know. That night, I was having fun with my songs. He could say whatever he wanted, and I was confident what I was doing. I had nothing to be ashamed of, and so if you didnít like it, fine. If it wasnít what we needed for the competition, okay. And Ė but, usually Ė like sometimes, it affects, like if I wasnít prepared for a song, and I feel like that, like going on stage, and Iím feeling like itís not the best it could be, and then they say that too, itís kind of reaffirming my thought. But still, itís just another day, and itís just a song. I donít know. People see past that, and I see past it.
And do you have any Ė like one major regret from your time on the show at all?
J. Castro: Not at all. I think Iíve done everything as best as I can, given the circumstances.
So have you heard from any famous people, fans, who have called you or wanted to work with youÖ?
J. Castro: Actually, nothing about wanting to work with me, but Chris Sligh called me the other day. He was apparently hanging out with one of my friends thatís a guitarist whoís doing some studio work in Nashville, and they were hanging out. And I came up in conversation, and he gave him my number, and he was just extending friendship. And I havenít called him back yet, but Ė
So now what do you hope to do next? What are you immediate plans?
J. Castro: Well, after the tour, Iím looking forward to that. Thatís just going to be a blast, and then I donít know after that, wherever music leads me. I just want to play some music somewhere.
What were the songs that you sang that didnít get cleared, so we never got to see you early on?
J. Castro: Well, in the auditions, for my first two auditions, I sang ďCrazyĒ by Gnarls Barkley but Ė in the style of Ray LaMontagne, one of my favorite singer/songwriters ever. He just did a really cool version of that, and thatís what I did. And so that never cleared. And then another song I love to do is "Santeria" by Sublime, and I tried to do that in Hollywood week for my second day, and they said it cleared, but then they changed their mind or something. I donít know how it all works. And then I tried it again while we were out here, and it never cleared.
Why do you think that Ė when you look at all the other contestants, many of them who had some professional backgrounds, obviously had been performing way more than you, some of them had even done records, what was it that they saw in you of the 10,000 Ė 20,000 people that auditioned, with very little experience that made them put you through?
J. Castro: I think it was the potential and just because I was so new at it. And what I had done so far, I think it just showed enough potential that I could potentially be something. And especially, like the nature of the show, I think Iím very much what the show was originally about. I am kind of as raw as it gets. I havenít done much of anything singing-wise, and I donít know. Maybe Iíd just be good on TV. I donít know.
Well, I think the most interesting thing of hearing you talk this morning is how Ė the way you came across on the show is that Ė I mean this in a good way Ė you sort of look like the guy who wandered in, was having fun there and wasnít so concerned about winning. But you wanted to win.
J. Castro: Yes. I did come in with that attitude. And I made it farther than I ever had imagined. I didnít really consider it a real possibility that I could win until these last few weeks. And so I did kind of just wander in and see where it would go, and it started going, and then I was like, ďWell, all right, Iím here. Might as well be in it to win it.Ē And I was giving it my best. I never necessarily had the mindset in mind of wanting Ė like winning first place, but it was more of the mindset of every week, I want to give it my best, and that leads to winning it.
Were you an Idol Ė did you watch American Idol before? What got you at that audition for a guy whoíd never really performed before? Did you watch the show?
J. Castro: Yes. I actually was a fan of the show, and I forgot until last night when my brother was talking in my exit interview, but my sophomore year of college, we were living together, and I remember the last semester, we did sit down and watch American Idol every night, every week. And Iíd totally forgotten about that. Weíd come home, and weíd be cooking and watching it. And I had totally forgotten. But I love what Ė I always loved what the show was, and the challenges and stuff. I thought itíd be fun. And it was fun, and it was hard.
Two quick things Ė you really had never heard of Cats before? Had you ever heard of the show before?
J. Castro: Iíve heard of the show, but I didnít really Ė by the time I sang it in front of Andrew Lloyd Weber, of course I knew he was a cat, but when I first heard the song, I didnít even know it was from Cats. I just heard the song, and I donít know; I was just trying to find a good song.
Because the way they showed the clip it kind of looked like you didnít know it was sung by cat until you met Andrew Lloyd Weber. So actually, in real time, when you met Andrew Lloyd Weber, you knew that song was sung by a cat.
J. Castro: Probably like a few minutes before that.
J. Castro: But those interviews are after we exit, and theyíre just asking all sorts of questions. They said, ďWell,Ē like, they asked me, ďDid you know this song was from the musical Cats,Ē whatever? I actually knew it was from the musical Cats, but I didnít realize it was cat singing until that moment when the producer told me as she was interviewing me.
Wait, did you know that you kind of drove the Jeff Buckley version of ďHallelujahĒ to like the number one song?
J. Castro: Yes. That was Ė
What did you think of that?
J. Castro: That was awesome. I couldnít believe Ė like when I saw that, itís like I realized it was like the amount of Ė I donít know Ė power that American Idol has, and I could sing a song, and it pushed this song. I donít know. It was just such an honor. And how cool? If people hadnít heard that song, they should have, and Iím glad now they have.
I have to ask you a little bit more about last night. Your relief, you just seemed so relieved. Can you talk a bit about that?
J. Castro: Yes. I Ė yes, Iíve been telling people I was as happy last night as I was when I found out I made the top 24. This whole time, Iíve had a blast, and I was trying, but itís just really been hard. And that night, I remember before we found out the results, I was just thinking, I was really starting to fear the week ahead, if I made it. How am I going to do three songs? I canít even do two right, and 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, and so that was all building up, and so I was kind of Ė I was ready to go either way, whatever they gave me. When they gave me that, I just Ė my natural reaction, I just really felt relieved, like the pressure was off. I loved my time on there, and I would have liked to go farther, but I donít think I could handle it, so Iím content.
Well, what do you think happens on the show the rest of the way? Any thoughts about that?
J. Castro: I have no idea because itís Ė everybodyís pretty strong. The Davids have been strong this whole time, and Syeshaís been fighting hard all along, making it through bottom three like every week. Iím not Ė itís really anybodyís game. Weíll see how America sways.
Were you at all aware of how a lot of moves you were making were being analyzed? You yawned backstage, so people are writing that youíre bored, and you donít want to be there. Did any of that get through to you?
J. Castro: I heard about the yawn. The people that told me thought it was funny. No, Iím kidding. I didnít hear anything negative about it. I really donít read anything like everything you all are probably about to write. But, no, and I wasnít bored. I am a chronic yawner. Every week before my song, Iím yawning, and I donít know where it comes from or why, but Iím always yawning.
Does it strike you at all that every move you were making over the past few weeks almost seems to have been analyzed by somebody someplace? And how does that seem to you?
J. Castro: Yes. Well, I kind of Ė I remember before, like I donít know, the other thing going on right now, that presidential race or whatever. I always remember watching the news and them analyzing every move they made, and so it doesnít really come as a surprise when youíre trying to decide someone to vote for. You want to really know whatís going on in them, and so I think itís natural to observe everything that they do.
I wanted to say, the fans on the message boards were pretty active in what they had wanted you to sing this week and had chosen James Taylorís ďFire and RainĒ and Bob Marleyís ďNo Woman, No Cry,Ē or Princeís acoustic version of ďWhen Doves Cry.Ē Had you considered any of those choices?
J. Castro: I had not read that. I did get suggested the James Taylor one, the day of, like the day I was preparing my songs. But I donít know. I just kind of wanted to stick with what I already knew because I wasnít familiar with either of those other songs. And so, yes. I did consider the Bob Marley one, ďNo Woman, No Cry.Ē I really like that song, but I thought it needed more time than just Ė a lot of Bob Marley, just need more time. And I Ė even with the one I did, it just felt Ė it was a little awkward. Like they said, the arrangement was just awkward because it doesnít give it time to groove, but, yes.
So a lot of people kind of touched on this, but I would just maybe, from you, what do you think was the biggest misconception about you or the type person you are? I know you said youíre kind of a goofball, but besides that, something that people assumed about you that youíve heard about that is actually kind of wrong.
J. Castro: Well, I think Ė thereís an interview; it was last week. Somebody, I donít even know where it was from, but that I had said I wanted to go home or something. And I think this week, everybody kind of had the idea that I was ready to go. And that wasnít my mindset at all going in, but every week has its ups and downs, and that morning, when I had that interview, I was kind of frustrated with a lot of things, and Ė
Well, like what?
J. Castro: Just my music, the way it was coming along. And we were selecting songs, and just Ė I donít know. There was a lot going on that morning. And I donít know. So I think that kind of came across wrong, and just with the way I was on the show, I guess, people were kind of thinking that I didnít want to be there, which was never my mindset.
And then I just wanted to ask, at this point in the showís history and where you guys are, do you think it actually matters who wins, or have you guys, by this point, gotten kind of the exposure you need? I guess, yes, just ultimately, if you think it matters who wins and why.
J. Castro: I think it very much does matter who wins, or at least how far you get. I think every week youíre on gives you that much more of a chance because youíre never guaranteed anything in this business, but I think weíve all been given the opportunity to have some exposure that now at least people know who you are, maybe would take a second to listen. So I donít know. I think it matters, but we all have an opportunity.
At times, Iíve kind of got the impression that maybe youíre a bit uncomfortable with some aspects of being famous. I was wondering, have you enjoyed that experience?
J. Castro: Yes. We havenít gone out too much. I donít know. Itís kind of a weird thing. I donít really get it yet. Iíve never been a guy to be star struck or anything, so it kind of takes me off guard when people are so crazy, but itís cool. It means they like you, so itís flattering.
I heard you were kind of - you seemed a little freaked out by the people sending you hundreds of balloons when they heard you were sick, and Ė
J. Castro: Oh, no, I wasnít freaked out by that. That was nice.
Oh, okay. And had you been sick?
J. Castro: I was. That last week. What week was that? A few weeks ago. I think it was Neil Diamond week. Yes, the first week of the double Ė yes, I woke up with a terrible like Ė just everything wrong possible. I was running a fever, my nose was running, my throat was hurting. I was coughing. I was just Ė I was terrible that day. And that was on a Sunday. We were dong a music video all day, and so Monday morning I went to the doctor, and I got two shots in my rear end and then got on some antibiotics and then made it through the show the next day, but it was Ė
And by the time you got to the show it wasnít affecting you.
J. Castro: Yes. Well, it was. I was exhausted. It was the week of Andrew Lloyd Weber. Thatís when it was because I remember, my recording sounds kind of nasally because I was kind of sick. But, yes, I was still Ė I was just drained in all the rehearsals, and I was just about ready to fall asleep at any second. But, yes, we made it through, and I donít think it was so bad.
And what did you make of when Paula judged the song you hadnít sung, and how hard was it to sing it after sheíd already judged it?
J. Castro: Well, that was kind of funny. I was just kind of confused, like whatís going on? The second song, mean David, or what does that mean? But I donít know. It was an honest mistake, and I donít think it really affected my next performance, but, yes.
I was just wondering, did you actually think, after you forgot the words, that you would be going home, or do you think your fans would probably pull through for you and vote you on?
J. Castro: I was split both ways. I really didnít know what was going to happen because I kind of felt like I was the one that deserved to go. I felt like I had the weakest performances that night, and Ė but at the same time, I know I have some very loyal fans, and I was really unsure either way.
Well, I watched that footage, and you definitely said, ďVote, vote.Ē You didnít say ďDonít vote.Ē
J. Castro: Yes.
And was really pulling for you as somebody from Texas. And also, I just found you so absolutely charming on the show. You were just so funny and just so natural. I am Ė we got a little bit of a taste of how the girls felt about you. You seemed to be a favorite. And in the last show we saw, I think one grabbed you and kissed you in Vegas.
J. Castro: Yes.
How did that work when you were outside? And did you have people recognize you a lot, women, girls?
J. Castro: Well, we really donít go out at all. I never go out. Maybe once a week I go to dinner with my parents and try to be as inconspicuous as possible. But, yes that was kind of Ė one of the first times weíve actually been in public. And it was crazy.
Did you hear about the girls? And I know that they screamed a lot when you were performing.
J. Castro: Yes, thereís a lot of screaming people.
Do you have a girlfriend yourself?
J. Castro: I do right now.
J. Castro: Sheís from Texas. Sheís back in Texas now. Yes, she just finished school, headed home.
Thank you to FOX for allowing us to participate in this media call.