There is plenty for “American Idol” Season 10 contestant Ashthon Jones to be proud of despite being the first singer eliminated from the final group of 13 last week. Jones, 24, received the least amount of votes from TV viewers and was subsequently sent home March 10 after her rendition of Diana Ross’ “When You Tell Me That You Love Me.”

Still, Jones has faith in her abilities as a singer and performer and is looking forward to a career she hopes will be as successful as other “American Idol” finalists who also didn’t end up winning the show, including Chris Daughtry, Jennifer Hudson, and Clay Aiken.

During an interview last week, Jones, who is from Goodlettsville, Tenn., spoke to me about what it will take for her to achieve her goals after “American Idol” and how she handled the stress of staring on a reality show seen by millions of people each week.

As everyone knows from past seasons of “American Idol,” winning the show doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to have a flourishing career. It’s always interesting to me to see who goes far and who doesn’t. Does that give you hope now that your time on “American Idol” is over?

That’s an interesting question because when I got on the show I always had to remind myself that some of the greatest [contestants] that didn’t even win are doing well and are very comfortable in their careers. That’s kept me sane. I’m not on the show anymore, but I’m still driven because I know that. I have a wonderful feeling that there’s something – and I don’t care if it’s one thing or ten things – but there’s going to be an opportunity there for me.

What would you say your goals are now that this part of your life is over?

I want to buy my mom a house. I want my family to never have to worry about anything. I just want to have an amazing career in music because I love to do it. I don’t want to go back to working jobs that I don’t want to work. I don’t want to struggle anymore. I don’t want to feel pain anymore. I just want to show the world who I am and spread the love and the faith.

During last week’s elimination show, contestant Casey Abrams was unable to attend for health reasons caused by stress. Was being on a show like “American Idol” stressful for you? If so, how were you able to overcome those demands to get as far as you did?

It can be stressful if you make it stressful. You have to stay grounded, and that’s why I believe in God and believe in faith so much because if it wasn’t for Him, I would have been crushed. I probably wouldn’t have been able to talk to you right now. You have to do whatever you need to do because it can really stress you out. It’s fast paced and sometimes you don’t have time to think. But even when you have those down times, you have to go to a place in your spiritual world and you have to stop and think about what you’ve accomplished already. So when elimination comes, nothing can stop you from being the best that you can be.

What do you want your fans to say about you as you move on to the next stage of your life?

I want people to see me and say, “Hey, she’s my idol anyway.” That’s the biggest thing. It’s not about winning. You have to feel like you’re already a winner.

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