Start to get to know this year's 'Idol' class: How did they handle the pressure of the one-shot format? What did they really think of Norman Gentle and Tatiana Del Toro? Who wants a makeover? Or to break out a Bjork song? Answers here!

By Adam B. Vary
March 06, 2009 at 05:00 AM EST
Steve Granitz/WireImage

After spending an evening interviewing the newly christened American Idol Top 13 at their posh party last night at the L.A. club Area, here are a few quick observations about some of the people who will be flashing numbered hand signals to the camera over the next three months to get America to dial-and-text them to the finale: Anoop Desai is less tall than he seems on TV, while Adam Lambert is a fair shade taller. If it wasn’t for that shock of pink hair, Alexis Grace would look like she stepped out of a 1962 black-and-white movie. There may be no person in Southern California more unabashedly happy to be himself right now than Michael Sarver. And Danny Gokey isn’t quite as good a dancer as he appears to think he is.

But how do they feel about the semi-final format? Which theme nights are they most looking forward to? (Hint: Think the ”king” of ”pop.”) What instruments will they trot out to the Idol stage? And what in the world do they make of the two-ring circus that was Tatiana Del Toro and Norman Gentle? All is revealed below!

How are you feeling about semi-finals format this season, especially the fact that almost everyone just got one shot to make it to the finals?

Michael Sarver: I think the one-shot format is tough. A lot of great artists went home. But, you know, at the same time, it puts the pressure on you. So I believe if you stepped up to that moment — which was more pressure than most people are used to — and you made it through, you did a good thing, because this is no joke.

Kris Allen: You know, I think it was really tough, especially for me. I didn’t get a lot of airtime, and so I didn’t actually think I had a shot. I feel really lucky to be here.

Matt Giraud: Yeah, I’ve seen some people that I thought could go far, like Mishavonna Henson and even Nick [Mitchell]. I would have loved to have seen Norman come up one more time.

Danny Gokey: It was never harder to get into the top 12, but at the same time, it was never easier, because once you make it, you make it. But if you don’t, then your chances are really cut down to almost nothing.

Alexis Grace: I think this format is extremely difficult and it really shows the test of a true artist and singer — like, can you do it, with all the pressure? I think it’s great, and this is what I love to do, so I enjoyed it.

Adam Lambert: I think it’s actually really great because it establishes a fan base for each of us. Usually, it’s the bottom person that [sings at the end], as opposed to the top three. So it’s really exciting. It’s given us the chance to test out our sound on the American public and see what the response is.

Scott MacIntyre: At first I thought, oh, wow, why couldn’t it have been some other year? [Laughs] But obviously it drove a lot of us to do better and really step up our game. The wild card, is a little bit of a safety, but not much. I didn’t really know how much support there was out there for me until Tuesday night, when I was performing on stage, and the energy was spectacular. I kind of had an inkling that I may get through on Wednesday. I wasn’t having the sweating, nervous heart attack that you’re supposed to have when Ryan’s saying, you know, ”Dim the lights!”

NEXT PAGE: Did contestants who sang last — and had a lot of screen time — get an advantage?