Andrew Garcia, American Idol

It was tough for Andrew Garcia to overcome mixed criticism from the American Idol judging panel, the recently eliminated contestant says.

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Although Garcia wowed the judges during Hollywood Week with an acoustic cover of Paula Abdul's "Straight Up," he never seemed to find that same spark in his subsequent performances. Garcia says the advice of the judges — who seemed to always compare everything to the Abdul cover — wasn't making it any easier.

"I was just confused," Garcia tells TVGuide.com. "I was like, 'I'm doing what I've been doing and what I love doing,' and they keep saying there wasn't enough swagger. I was like, 'That's bull crap. I felt it; I got into it.' I didn't know what they wanted from me."

The mixed signals also made it difficult to choose a song during Elvis Week, Garcia says.

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"I've never heard anybody switch it up; I've just heard them cover it," he says, referring to his heavily panned version of "Hound Dog." "So I didn't know what I wanted to do, but I found how I wanted it to sound. And I loved it. I was a little nervous because Elvis is a legend. You can't really wow anybody because they already know what Elvis is like and what he's done."

For more of what Garcia said about letting go of "Straight Up," watch our video Q&A below: