On Thursday (February 20) night, as soon as I finished recapping the "American Idol" Top 13 results, I rushed up to Fig & Olive in Beverly Hills for the season's Top 13 party.
 
On the traditional blue carpet, I talked with all 13 of the finalists, 12 of the 13 in 1-on-1 interviews, about they challenges they're going to face this season and the challenges they've already faced. [Special kudos to Team HitFix's daring cameraman for braving the blue carpet's strange and erratic lighting system.]
 
In addition, many of the show's decision-making bigwigs came and talked to reporters in groups of four or five. We got host Ryan Seacrest, who I asked about the season's more substantive judging panel, and mentor Randy Jackson, who I asked about the itch of watching "Idol" performances without judging for the first time. We also got Harry Connick Jr., who I asked about raising the level of the discourse on the judging panel. [Keith Urban's few minutes fell victim to the problematic lighting, while Jennifer Lopez whizzed by my side of the carpet like she was a speed skater.]
 
Check out highlights from those three interviews above.
 
Stay tuned for my Top 13 interviews before next Wednesday's show!