By Michael Slezak
Updated April 14, 2010 at 08:36 PM EDT

Hot on the heels of last week’s sensational “Jealous Guy” cover, Casey James seemingly took a step backward in momentum on last night’s Elvis Presley-themed American Idol telecast. Simon Cowell declared the performance a “wasted opportunity,” while Kara DioGuardi argued it fell short of Casey’s capabilities.

We caught up with the contestant himself after the show and asked why he selected “Lawdy Miss Clawdy,” one of Elvis’ lesser-known jams: “That’s pretty much exactly why I picked it,” said Casey, explaining that Elvis’ more iconic numbers are too infused with the King’s personality. “I wanted to pick one that I didn’t really know so that I [wouldn’t] have [Elvis] singing it in my head as I’m doing it. That was my thought.”

As for his decision to descend into the Swaybot Pit for his performance,that was more a technical choice than an emotional one. “I was going to sit, originally,” he said. “But the stools are too tall for me to kick my foot; so I wanted a chair, and they said it would look weird because I was too low. So they put me on that [platform], which was totally cool. I haven’t seen it yet, but I hope it looked cool. –Reporting by Adam B. Vary