Ashthon Jones is what you might call a glass-half-full kind of gal. Whereas some might consider being a wild-card pick and then the first finalist eliminated on season 10 of "American Idol" a bummer, the 25-year-old Nashville native said Friday (March 11) that she's choosing to see this as an opportunity to get her career started in earnest.
After winning the judges over early with her diva style and voluminous hair, Jones stumbled on Wednesday night with a weak version of the somewhat obscure Diana Ross song "When You Tell Me That You Love Me," which she sang only marginally better on Thursday's show in her last-ditch effort to stay in the running.
But what's done is done, and now the former teenage runaway said she's eager to leave her hardscrabble life (and retail job) behind and get on to the next thing.
Q: Are you going back to your store job in Nashville?
A: No, I'm not! I left it there, and I left it there to stay. I've worked and worked all my life, and now it's time for me to be the artist and the performer that God put in me a long time ago ... and hopefully opportunities are there for me.
Q: What do you think America was missing about you during that top 24 round?
A: I don't know! I was thinking the same thing. I just wanted people to see my personality, and I don't think the show showed my personality as much as I wanted it to. ... I'm kind of glad that the judges saw that personality of a diva, but I didn't want the world to see me as diva-like, like I'm all that. ... I have faith and confidence in myself. I've never been timid onstage.
Q: A lot was made of your song choice, but it was not as obscure as some of the other songs the contestants chose. If you could go back now, would you have chosen a different Diana Ross song?
A: As I look back at it now ... I chose that song for a reason. I listened to all the Diana Ross songs, and that one, for some reason, spoke to me. ... I related it to my life and my experiences and my faith and the love that I have around me. As I was singing that song, the lyrics is what spoke to me.
Q: What was the best piece of advice you received from one of the judges?
A: Steven and Randy told me some great things, but Jennifer always had something real to say that came straight from her spirit. ... She always told me, "You're amazing, you're gonna go far ... I see it, I see it, I see it." And last night she told me, "It's all about the songs in the music business." Even when you get that first record, make sure it's a hit before you put it out, because that's what America will remember, those great songs, and they're never gonna go away.
Q: If you could describe Steven Tyler in one word, what would it be?
A: Fabulous. He was fabulous. From his clothes to his shoes [to] what he said. He didn't care what people thought and said exactly what he felt. And behind the scenes, he was the most humble and sweet person.
Q: You looked like you were in such pain when you found out that you were going home. What was going on with you at that moment?
A: It really was not pain. It was more so leaving the stage and my friends that I had made. I just had to let it out. I always hold stuff in, I'm a very, very strong person ... [but] sometimes you have to let it out, you have to show your emotion.
Q: What about the fact that you were the first person voted off? Is there any stigma to that?
A: I think it's not always a bad thing to be the first person. It can be a good thing. Everything that I went through on the show, now I'm going to take it and put it to work in my career.
Q: Where do you yourself in two to five years?
A: I really see myself performing. I see myself going overseas performing. I see myself helping my mom out with her businesses that she wants to do. I see myself continuing to be a songwriter and a motivator.
Q: Do you see yourself winning a Grammy, being a big, big artist?
A: It's possible. You can't really say, "I'm going to do that." But I'm a firm believer in speaking everything into existence. ... Yes, I believe that I'm going to have a Grammy, I believe that something great is going to come out of this experience.
Were you sad to see Ashthon go? Let us know in the comments!
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