The surprising and unlikely "American Idol" journey of Jason Castro ended Wednesday night in a week that saw nearly 51 million votes cast on television's most popular show.
Falling just short of the final three, the soulful, dreadlocked crooner at first seemed far outside the typical "Idol" mold, but he quickly won over a large and hard-core following with an endearingly sweet, laid-back personality and a talent for offbeat comments.
Asked what his biggest challenge was Wednesday, the Texan with the piercing eyes replied, "Just the brain being dead."
David Archuleta, David Cook and Syesha Mercado remain and will compete for the crown in the Fox network's signature annual contest, which has launched lucrative singing careers for former unknowns Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood.
Earlier in his "Idol" stint, Castro scored big with his renditions of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" and "Over the Rainbow," among others. But in recent weeks he seemed to struggle as the contest entered more challenging heights, leading him to concede Wednesday that he felt his musical inexperience was showing.