If there's one thing Ashthon Jones learned from her brief-but-memorable journey on "American Idol," it's that America does not take kindly to the word "diva."
"Idol" judge Jennifer Lopez called Ashthon the "D" word while raving about her semifinal performance, Monica's "Love All Over Me," but the Nashville native quickly realized that the term carries some negative connotations.
"When J.Lo said it, I understood what she was talking about. You know how Patti LaBelle, Diana Ross, Whitney were divas but they were divas in a positive way? They were sweet and humble backstage, but when they got on the stage, they [showed] the world that they could do it," Jones told MTV News on Monday (March 14). "America didn't think that," she laughed before sassily snapping her fingers. " 'Diva! Diva alert! ... She thinks she's all that!' I was like, 'Noooo!' Nobody ever got to know the real me."
Ironically, Ashthon first made an impression on "Idol" for being anything but a diva. Jones lent her support to Hollywood Week group member Ashley Sullivan, who cracked under the pressure and threatened to walk off the show. In fact, Jones' patience and positivity in Hollywood was in sharp contrast to other "Idol" singers' backstabbing and whining.
"That's how we were. We prayed together. We grabbed each other, 'Come on let's pray.' I'm a firm believer of spirituality and faith, and that's how I live my life," she said.
Apparently, "Idol" fans have a very short memory. Jones acknowledges that picking a lesser-known Diana Ross song didn't do her any favors, but she suggested the diva label may have been the big thing that kept viewers from getting to know the real Ashthon Jones With a Silent H (which might as well stand for "humble").
"When I get on the stage, I have to ask God for confidence," she admitted. "You can't be timid on 'American Idol,' because you're gonna go home. I went home, but I went home top 13," she said, proud of her accomplishments.
Jones is champing at the bit to put more music out and hopes the connections made on "Idol" won't go to waste. "Oh my goodness, if [Jimmy Iovine's producers] call me? I can't wait to see who I'm going to work with. I don't know what the opportunities are, but I have a good feeling in my spirit that something's gonna happen. This can't be it."
Catch more of Ashthon's interview with MTV News "American Idol" expert Jim Cantiello on "Idol Party Live," following Thursday's results show on MTV.com!
Don't miss "Idol Party Live" every Thursday on MTV.com, following the "American Idol" results show, for analysis, celebrity guests and even some karaoke — get in the conversation by tweeting with the hashtag #idolparty! In the meantime, get your "Idol" fix on MTV News' "American Idol" page, where you'll find all the latest news, interviews and opinions.