Ain’t nothing — not even being booted from American Idol less than three weeks before its grand finale — gonna hold Jacob Lusk down. At least that’s the message the glowing 23-year-old Compton, Calif., native was sending out about an hour after Idol host Ryan Seacrest broke the news to him that he was the music juggernaut’s latest cast-off. “I feel good,” Lusk told EW in a backstage interview shortly after the Top 5 results show was over. “I feel so good. I can’t complain. I was in a group of amazingly talented people, and I made the Top 5 in all of America — 120,000 people auditioned, 327 in Hollywood Week, and I’m thankful.” But the upbeat Lusk did admit that, at first, his elimination was a blow: “It kind of hit me differently than I thought it would. I didn’t think I’d be so emotional.”

The question that’s burning in any Idol fan’s mind for Jacob is probably: Would you have changed anything? Especially the seemingly dubious choice to sing Jordin Sparks’ and Chris Brown’s duet “No Air” on this week’s performance episode? “Um, I probably would have changed songs maybe,” Lusk reveals. “Can I say that? I might have sang different songs. I might not have sang ‘Love Hurts.’ There were a lot of things I may have done differently, but there’s a lot of shoulda-coulda-wouldas in life. Shoulda coulda woulda! But, um, everything happens in life for a reason. And I believe in a greater power, and I believe he has a plan.”

Check out the full interview below, which finds Lusk discussing his post-Idol plans and his favorite moment of his Idol experience:

For more contestant videos, photos, and Idol news, check out the series’ website.

Tanner on Twitter: @EWTanStransky

Read more: