Sometimes with reality competition shows, you get an image of one of the contestants and then when you hear from them after they’re eliminated, you realize that’s not at all who they were. And you realize if you had known that before, you would’ve supported the person more when they were in the competition.
That’s kind of how I feel now about Ashthon Jones. Granted, I was a supporter of hers, and even named her as my top-ranked girl before the Top 24, but now I feel bad that I didn’t lobby for her a little harder because I think America got the wrong idea about her. The judges built her up as a cocky diva when her confidence actually comes from her faith. And unfortunately for her, there wasn’t really anything she could do to change America’s minds.
Here is some of what Ashthon had to say during her media conference call with us Friday…
On her backstory: “My father passed away when I was 14. I left home. I was gone for over two and a half years. When I got back here, I became a Christian. I turned my life around and started doing much more positive things.”
On her feelings when she was eliminated: “I left it there and left it there to stay. It’s time to be the artist and performer God put in me. I’m very excited about what’s to come.”
On America’s opinion of her: “I just wanted people to see my personality. I don’t think it showed as much as I wanted it to. It’s okay because everything happens for a reason…I wanted them to see my confidence came from God. I feel like America’s going to see that now.”
On her song choice: “I chose that song for a reason. That one spoke to me. I related it to my life and the love that I have around me…I didn’t understand why it wasn’t a bigger hit. America really didn’t feel it like I did. Hopefully it will begin to touch them now [through iTunes]. Ashthon said it gave her the same feeling Mariah Carey’s “Hero” gives people.
On the best advice she got from the judges: “Jennifer Lopez always had something real to say straight from her spirit. Last night she told me it’s all about the songs. Make sure it’s a hit before you put it out.”
On how she would describe Steven Tyler: “Fabulous. He said exactly what he felt. Backstage he’s the most humble and sweet person.”
On the friendships she’s formed: “I’m gonna stay in contact with them. I never thought I could have so many best friends.”
On what advice she would give the other contestants: “Never look at the blogs. They’re just gonna discourage you.”
On her breakdown after she was eliminated: “It really was not pain. It was more on leaving the stage and leaving my friends…I’m a very, very strong person. Sometimes you have to let it out. I cried because of all of the things that I went through on the show.”
On being the first finalist eliminated: “It’s not always a bad thing to be the first person. I don’t think anything is going to stop me. God has something better for me.”
On non-winners being successful: “ I constantly had to remind myself that. I’m still driven because I know that. There’s an opportunity that’s going to be there for me…I want to let everybody know, don’t stop. You have to feel like you’re already a winner…When elimination comes, nothing can keep you from being the best that you can be.”
On Casey Abrams and the stresses of the show: “My prayers go out to him. I’m not sure what’s going on. It can be stressful if you make it stressful.”
On where she sees herself in five years: “I really see myself performing. And as someone who has grown in her faith. I’m a firm believer in speaking everything into existence. If I speak that in my spirit, it’s going to happen.”
On the strength she showed Thursday night to hold herself together: “It comes from God. A lot of people don’t believe and don’t understand. No way I could be saying these things [without God]. I left my tears on that stage. I picked myself up and said on to the next.”
On whether she was surprised to be eliminated: “It wasn’t a surprise. I had a feeling. But I was still a part of these people. It didn’t crush me at all. I was honored to be on the show with superstars.”
On whether she thought she had a shot at the Judges’ Save: “I felt it in my spirit that it was time to go. I thought I’m gonna go out with a bang. I had a wonderful, wonderful time.”
On her performance: “I gave it my best. I gave it my all. I picked the right song. It ministered to me. Rodney Jerkins and Jimmy Iovine made it a current R&B song. I felt like I gave it more of an edge…You have to grow. The show helped to make me grow.”
On the Top 12: “I predict all of them are going to go far in their careers.”
On her TV persona: “I can only be myself. I’m not going to be different for TV. In the end, being myself is going to win.”
On what she would’ve sung for next week’s “Songs From the Year You Were Born”: Ashthon said she probably would’ve gone with Whitney Houston or Janet Jackson or possibly another Diana Ross song. “I would’ve chosen the absolute hit…I don’t want to look at the past. Now is the time to move forward.”
On the future: “This is not the end. There’s no way I can end it here. I have to continue to move on. I can’t live off that for the rest of my life…It made me stronger than I thought I was…If I don’t get to do anything more, I’m so honored I got to perform in front of [the judges]. But I hope and pray it doesn’t end here.”Photo Credit: Mark Davis/PictureGroup for FOX