Ledet said afterwards that he hadn't planned on crying but became overwhelmed when judge Jennifer Lopez and others came up to hug him after the results were announced.
"I felt good about the whole situation, but when people come up to you and try to comfort you and hug you, then the tears start coming, and then a whole bunch of other stuff," said Ledet, who also pulled his mother on stage at the end of the show. "So just getting their support, it kind of took over, and I kind of lost it a little."
Ledet said his happiness for Phillip Phillips and Jessica Sanchez, who will compete in next week's finale, also contributed to his emotional state.
"I'm not gonna say I was surprised, because Phillip and Jessica are great, and they have huge fan bases," Ledet told PEOPLE. "They deserve it just like anyone else."
"I was super excited for Phillip and Jessica," he added. "I was trying to hold a smile up, and I was definitely not upset. I felt relieved. A lot of pressure was off of me, and I feel really good."
Though Ledet says he doesn't have any concrete plans for the future, he's already received encouragement from his Idol mentors.
"Jennifer [Lopez] told me to keep my head up and my career was only going to go further from here," he said.
Added Ledet: "I’m just gonna miss the whole environment. Everyone here is amazing. It’s like a family."
And, next week: the season finale.