The top 13 finalists of "American Idol" season 13 were revealed on Thursday and OTRC.com spoke to the contestants after the taping of the FOX show.
They revealed their strategies for winning and also shared personal stories and highlights from their time on the series so far. Check out excerpts from their interviews below and watch videos of them in full above.
1. MK Nobilette, 20, San Francisco
"I'm gonna bring it hard every week and hopefully picks songs that fit me perfectly," she said. "So far, I've been on a pretty good track with that. The judges have liked my songs so far. Hopefully, I can keep up with that streak. Yeah, I think just bring it harder every single time, get a little bit more out of my shell. That's feedback that I got at the very beginning, that I needed to work on. So hopefully, I'll get the hang of that by the end."
Nobilette also revealed a past "American Idol" moment that gave her confidence to push forward.
"There was a girl in the front row, when I first walked out to perform 'All Of Me,' and she did the little heart hands and I looked at her and I was like, 'You know what? I am supposed to be here. This is amazing. I love this. I love performing. I love being on stage,'" she told OTRC.com.
2. C.J. Harris, 23, Jasper, Alabama
"I'm blessed, man," he told OTRC.com. "I've been playing guitar for a while for about seven years. I live in a small town where you don't see a bunch of black guys play guitar. You don't see them picking up the kind of things that I do. I just kind of went my own way, wanted to do my own thing and, you know, it's paid off."
"I got made fun of by the tinges that I do and dress and everything else but I just kinda really just stuck to who I am and wanted to be my own artist instead of, you know, wanting to be somebody else," he added.
3. Majesty Rose, 21, Goldsboro, North Carolina.
"I think what I've done so far has really gotten the judges' attention and America, so I think if I can keep continuing that, you know, just being who I am and being original, then I think America will really latch on to that," she told OTRC.com.
4. Alex Preston, 20, Mont Vernon, New Hampshire
"I'm just gonna be me," he told OTRC.com. "That's like ? I can't believe the support I've been getting so far. It's been so cool. Like, the fact that I'm going into this competition completely 100 percent me, playing original songs ? like, my style's kinda unique and strange but people have been digging it and that's what I'm going to continue to do -- is just, be me."
5. Emily Piriz, 18, Orlando Florida"I'm gonna have to give it 110 percent every time," she told OTRC.com. "I mean, 110, 120, every week, outdo myself in some way. I mean, you're only as good as your last performance so I have to bring it every single week."
6. Jessica Meuse, 23, Slapout, Alabama
"I'm just gonna let my fans know how much I love and appreciate them, every single day, because they make an artist and they make you who you are and I just want to stay true to them," Meuse told OTRC.com regarding her strategy for winning.
7. Kristen O'Connor, 24, Sebastian, Florida
"I think song choice. Song choice is gonna be huge for this," O'Connor said about her strategy for winning. "I need to pick a song that I really connect to, that means something to me but also that the viewers can connect with and will get them excited, make them feel something, so I think that's gonna be really important from here on out."
8. Malaya Watson, 16, Southfield, Michigan"My strategy is to be different every week. Of course, there will be similarities, standing on stage, performing, of course, but I want to make every experience a different experience -- something they've never seen on 'American Idol' before."
9. Caleb Johnson, 22, Asheville, North Carolina
"You know, I'm just gonna stay true to who I am and just give some ? rock n' roll, over-the-top performances every week for that I'm on, you know, and just again, stay true to the music that I love and the music that I wanna make and just rocking' out and bringing the house down," he told OTRC.com.
10. Jena Irene, 17, Farmington Hills, Michigan
"[I'll] definitely pick song choices that I can connect the lyrics to," she told OTRC.com. "I mean, Harry kinda gave me that advice indirectly on my last performance with 'Paint It Black.' I didn't really know what I was singing about -- I just liked the song, so that's why I sang it. But from here on out, hopefully the judges and America will see that I do connect to the lyrics that I pick."
11. Ben Briley, 24, Gallatin, Tennessee
"My strategy is really kind of a week-to-week thing," he told OTRC.com. "I have a song that I kinda wanna do, I have two different songs that I'm kinda up in the air on and I really wanna make sure I pick the song that not only best exemplifies who I am, but it also exemplifies what kind of an artist I want to be and that's really the important thing."
"The most important thing that I ever have to do from now on and for the rest of my life is a song choice, especially in this competition, 'cause that is, that's the most important thing," he added.
12. Sam Woolf, 17, Bradenton, Florida
"I'm gonna focus on the next performance and try to give it my all and kinda switch it up a bit, I think," he told OTRC.com.
13. Dexter Roberts, 22, Fayette, Alabama
"I looked to Caleb and we're like, 'We just made it,'" Roberts told OTRC.com, recalling his time on Thursday's big top 13 finalists reveal. "A few months ago, I was sitting on a tractor, just hanging out with my friends and stuff, with my family, and now 13, top 13. It's crazy."
"I'm just going to go out there and be myself," he added. "I mean, I'm not gonna try to be nobody else. I'm gonna be myself, you know, and go out there and just sing and have a good time. It's all you can do, man."
Reporting by Jacob Burch, a producer of the nationally syndicated entertainment show "On The Red Carpet" (check for local TV listings). The series is produced by KABC Television near Los Angeles.
Watch more video interviews with the contestants below and vote in our poll -- who is your pick to win "American Idol"?