‘American Idol’ Predictions: Ashthon Jones Could Be First Top 13 Casualty

It’s that time again. After holding our tongues for weeks (OK, months), we are finally ready to roll out the first of what will be a weekly slate of predictions of likely “American Idol” eliminations.

While it gets much harder to predict as the number of seats on the IdolDome stage dwindle through April, at this beginning point in the competition, it’s usually pretty easy to pick off the weakest members of the pack. Which is why we had an almost unanimous call from our panel of “Idol” experts on who is likely to leave the baker’s dozen of finalists and get booted from the swanky finalists’ mansion after Wednesday night’s show. In other words: It will be a girl.

Popdust columnist Maura Johnston was not impressed with teen Thia Megia’s “smiley version of the sad-sack classic ‘Smile,’ ” which she thought should send her home, just on principle, but she suspected that Karen Rodriguez’s pageant-y cover of Selena’s “I Could Fall in Love” punched her ticket home. “Given that Jennifer Lopez — who hasn’t seemed to be at a loss for positive reinforcement for most of the season so far — had to go the Paula Abdul route of complimenting Karen’s eye-catching appearance before mentioning anything about her singing, I suspect that she’s marked for the first exit of season 10.”

MTV’s own “Idol” expert Jim Cantiello said it’s no contest. “If Ashthon [Jones] doesn’t go home after her generic Diana Ross moment, I’ll be shocked,” he said of Jones’ limp cover of “When You Tell Me That You Love Me.”

“Remember, she didn’t make the top 10 based on audience vote. She squeaked in with a wild-card spot. If the majority of viewers weren’t feeling her last week, they’ll be just as disinterested this week.” As for who else might be in danger, Cantiello suspected other wild-carders such as Stefano Langone and Naima Adedapo could be OK, but Haley Reinhart might have come up too short with her sleepy, yodel-y cover of LeAnn Rimes’ “Blue.”

“But I think her pouty performing face could save her,” Jim noted.

Another of our favorite “Idol” bloggers, MJ Santilli, agreed that Jones is probably done after picking an obscure Ross song. “It didn’t help that her performance was a real snooze,” she said. “Neither revealing anything new about her nor the song. As a wild-card pick, Ashthon may not have much of a fanbase to help her through these early weeks of competition. And with so little screen time before the ‘live’ shows, she really needed to come out of the barn with killer performances. So far, she has not.”

Santilli also said Rodriguez is on the bubble due to her vocal issues and an uninspired performance. “She’s got a good voice, but she’s not as rock-solid as that other belter, Pia Toscano, and she doesn’t have the personality of Lauren Alaina,” Santilli said. “But the judges clearly love Karen, and her performance spot near the end of the show could have helped her.”

I think there’s no doubt Jones will be gone this week.

My bottom three: Jones, Rodriguez and Reinhart.

Check back Friday to see how we did.

Don’t miss “Idol Party Live” at 9 p.m. tonight 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!