'American Idol' eliminates Ashthon Jones, determines Top 12 finalists
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 03/11/2011
American Idol eliminated Ashthon Jones and revealed "The Judges' Save" will return for this season's finals during Thursday night's live results show broadcast on Fox.
Jones -- a 24-year-old from Valdosta, GA who currently resides in Nashville, TN -- became the first finalist sent home from American Idol's tenth season after she received the fewest home viewer votes following Wednesday night's performance show, which featured the Top 13 finalists performing songs inspired by their own personal idols.
"Okay... thank you," Jones said after American Idoljudge Jennifer Lopez announced the show's judges had unanimously decided not to use the save to prevent her elimination.
"You know I was rooting for you, baby," Lopez added.
American Idol host Ryan Seacrest announced the return of "The Judges' Save" -- which Lopez and fellow judges Steven Tyler and Randy Jackson can use once during the finals to prevent the elimination of a finalist who receives the fewest home viewer votes during a weekly performance round -- at the beginning of the results show broadcast.
"It can be used one time on one person until the Top 5. And it has to be unanimous with our judges," Seacrest said of the save, which American Idolfirst introduced during its eighth season in 2008.
Seacrest also announced Casey Abrams, a 20-year-old who currently resides in Idyllwild, CA, was not able to attend the live results show because he had been hospitalized due to illness, however no additional details regarding his condition were released.
Abrams was hospitalized prior to last week's semifinals performance show with what were reportedly severe stomach pains that had required blood transfusions, but had downplayed his illness when Seacrest raised the issue.
"My stomach kind of just wasn't in the right place," he said at the time.
Jones -- whom the judges had selected as a "Wild Card" finalist last week -- had received positive feedback from all three judges following her performance of Diana Ross' "When You Tell Me That You Love Me" on Wednesday's performance show.
"I was a little worried seeing the song that you were doing... but I gotta tell you what, it sounded like it was a little bit of a safe move, but you know what, I actually liked it because I actually saw you grow a little bit more as a singer," Jackson said.
"I agree with Randy, I think there's a lot more in there than you're showing us and that you're going to [in the future]," Tyler told Jones. "I've got confidence in you."
"You're so elegant up there, and we are seeing what a professional you are already," Lopez added. "There [were] moments where it was kind of getting away from you and you pulled it back in and you kept your composure and you did it."
Prior to Jones' elimination, Karen Rodriguez, a 21-year-old from New York, NY, and Haley Reinhart, a 20-year-old from Wheeling, IL, were revealed to be the other members of this week's bottom three vote-getters.
"This has changed my life because as a little girl, I was raised in church and was used to singing in the choir. Now, I'm starting to see myself being a star," Jones said during a video montage of her American Idol journey that followed her ouster.
"I had a great experience, it's been beautiful. And I just want to say thank you America."