In the first major elimination of the season, the young woman who wanted to be American Idol's diva-in-training, Ashthon Jones, was voted out Thursday night. Ashthon, 24, who hails from Valdosta, Georgia and lives in Nashville, was chosen as one of three wild cards last week, but she was unable to persuade more than 30 million voters to keep her in the competition. After learning she was at the bottom, Ashthon sang Diana Ross' "When You Tell Me That You Love Me," hoping that the judges would use their one save of the season to keep her going. But it wasn't to be. Her role model, judge Jennifer Lopez, broke the news: "Not this time baby... I'm sorry."
TV Guide Magazine: Your favorite quotation is "Blessed to be stressed"?
Ashthon: No! It's, "Too blessed to be stressed!"
TV Guide Magazine: Were you too blessed to be stressed on American Idol?
Ashthon: Yes. I have nothing to be sad about, or stressed about. I just can't believe I made it this far and I can't wait to see what's gonna happen next. I feel in my spirit that something is gonna come out of this. It was sad for me to leave my friends, and leave the stage, but you gotta keep it moving, not look back, and strive to be the best.
TV Guide Magazine: But you just moved in to the mansion! And you looked so happy bouncing down the stairs.
Ashthon: I know! I would love to have a place like that someday, but it was almost toobig.
TV Guide Magazine: Jennifer Lopez spent a great deal of time with you on stage after the show. What did she say?
Ashthon: Jennifer, man, that's my baby. She said, "I was pulling for you. We were all pulling for you. You're a star. You've gotta keep going. I see things for you. And one of the things I want to give you is about the song choices. And that is, if you're in a competition, or if you're an artist, when you pick a single, make sure you pick a hit to be your single. Because that's what it's all about and that''s what your fans are going to remember."
TV Guide Magazine: Do you regret picking a lesser-known Diana Ross song?
Ashthon: Yes, I did at first. But I'm not gonna be down about that, because as I look back, I picked that song because it meant something to me. I loved the lyrics. "When You Tell Me That You Love Me" is such a positive and inspiring song, but it wasn't as big a hit as "I'm Coming Out" or "Missing You."
TV Guide Magazine: What did your professional life look like before, and what does it look like now?
Ashthon: I did music for a while, for about six years, and then I had to go back to working as a retail manager. I sold shoes. And then right before the auditions, my mom called me and said, "You need to go to the auditions for American Idol." And I said, "Mom, I can't get off work right now." And she was like, "Ashthon, trust me, it's your time. It's your moment. Please, just go do it." And I did. I quit my job, just to get my wristband. But at that moment I had to choose my destiny. And I did. So my job is what I'm doing now. I believe in my heart that something will be waiting for me.
TV Guide Magazine: In your after-show interview, you said that you thought the public thought you were someone else. What did you mean?
Ashthon: When I was getting comments from the judges about being a diva, I took them as compliments. I love to put eyelashes on, and do my hair, and my clothes. But I think America took it that I was overly confident in myself. But that confidence doesn't come from me. It comes from God. I'm Ashthon Jones. I'm a regular Nashville country girl raised in Georgia. I'm humble, I'm sweet, I'm not perfect, but my faith is so strong in God. But people didn't see that, and I think it hurt my votes a little bit. But now I'm not in a bubble anymore. I can show the world who I am, and still continue to be the confident diva on stage.
TV Guide Magazine: How worried are you about Casey Abrams, who was hospitalized?
Ashthon: I'm not worried at all. I have so much faith in Casey. I feel in my spirit that he is going to finish well and he's gonna have an amazing career. God is going to heal him.