The night before the start of each Hunger Games, Caesar Flickerman hosts an interview with each of the tributes. The tributes dress up so as to cause an impression on the Capitol. Caesar dressed with a suit, hair, lips, and eye color all the same color. Caesar wears a different color wig every hunger games. In the 74th, it was blue, in the 73rd, it was crimson. Caesar asks them about their life back home, their time in the Capitol so far, their training score, and the reaping. He is noted to try to help all the tributes through their interview. The interviews are in order of districts with the female preceding the male tribute. Each interview is allotted three minutes per tribute. The main purpose of the interviews is to show the rest of the Capitol a little about each tribute to help them choose their favorite. There is always an interview with the tributes before each Hunger Games begins, and another with the victor after the Games are over.
10th Hunger Games
The interviews were introduced in the 10th Hunger Games as The Hunger Games: A Night of Interviews, hosted by Lucretius Flickerman, a colorful weatherman from Capitol TV. It was held before a live audience at the Academy and broadcast throughout Panem. At the time of these Games, the Games were not generally popular with citizens of the Capitol and these interviews were an attempt to change that, along with the introduction of the mentorship program, as well as sponsorships and betting on the tributes. It was hoped that by getting to know the tributes better, the audience would become more interested in their fates. The mentors also appeared alongside their tributes for these interviews, due to the newness of the mentorship program, which for these games featured top-performing students from the Academy.
Before the interviews were even held, a number of tributes had already died, many of them in an explosion during a tour of the Capitol Arena. Thus, there were only a limited number of interviews and each tribute and mentor pair were given a maximum of ten minutes. Lysistrata Vickers had her tribute, Jessup Diggs, lift her over his head to demonstrate his strength. Io Jasper's tribute, Circ, revealed that he could start a fire with his glasses and Io suggested angles and times of day that would be conducive to this. Juno Phipps admitted that she was at first disappointed to get the male tribute from District 8, Bobbin, until he told her that he knew five different ways to kill someone with a sewing needle. The girl from District 4, Coral, put on a show with a broomstick to demonstrate how she might kill using a trident. Domitia Whimsiwick engaged the interest of the crowd by having her tribute, Tanner, talk bout his experience in slaughterhouse techniques.
The highlight of the evening, however, was Coriolanus Snow with Lucy Gray Baird. The two appeared together, Coriolanus in a neatly pressed uniform and Lucy Gray Baird in her rainbow dress which had been expertly repaired and spiffed up by Coriolanus's cousin, Tigris. Lucy Gray Baird than sang a song she had composed herself, words set to an old tune, called "The Ballad of Lucy Gray Baird." By the time she was down, one could hear a pin drop in the auditorium. Coriolanus knew that the song would make sponsor gifts pour in for her, but the song also made him deeply jealous, due to its reference to a lost lover.
74th Hunger Games
Each of the 24 contestants in the 74th Hunger Games were given an interview. Some of the noted ones were:
- The girl from District 1, Glimmer, was described as very beautiful and sexy. Katniss also notes that her mentor probably didn't have much trouble thinking of an angle of approach to make herself seem a good bet. She wore a translucent gold silk dress in the book, though in the film she wore a short pink dress. In the movie, when asked if she was prepared, she responded, "Yes, Caesar, I am very prepared."
- The boy from District 1, Marvel showed confidence and made jokes during his interview. He was said to not be the sharpest tool in the shed in the Tribute Guide. He wore a light blue suit & tie.
- The girl from District 2, Clove, was arrogant and sarcastic, but also sweet. She wore a pretty orange dress.
- The boy from District 2, Cato, was noted as a monstrous, ruthless killing-machine. He said he was determined to win for his district. He wore a black suit.
- The District 3 male's interview was said to be nothing special. In the film, you can see him waiting in line wearing a yellow suit.
- The girl from District 5, nicknamed Foxface, was sly and elusive. She spoke very little but when she did Katniss noted that she was quiet. In the film, it was shown that she talked fast and used many intelligent words, such as "evaluate" and "conclude". Her outfit was a strapless blue dress. She said; "I find that if I can apply myself to the situation present, I will be able to figure it out." Fans speculate that if you listen carefully at the end of her interview you can hear Caesar say Finch, which could possibly be her name. It is also possible because on the map, the area where five is full of finches.
- The girl from District 11, Rue, was not very shy, saying her best strategy is her speed, saying "If they can't catch me, they can't kill me. So don't count me out." She was dressed in a gossamer gown complete with wings making the audience in awe of her (in the book). In the movie she wore a short blue dress.
- The boy from District 11, Thresh, was very huge and attempted to answer the questions with single yes or no answers. Katniss thinks that if she had any money, she would bet on him.
- Katniss Everdeen, the female tribute from District 12, was very nervous and couldn't think straight during her interview. Her stylist, Cinna, told her to be honest and pretend like the interview questions are coming from him to calm her down and throughout the interview, Katniss reminded herself to be honest. She won the Capitol over by showing off her outfit and twirling around, making her look beautiful. She said that her favorite thing about the Capitol was the lamb stew and that she would be trying to win the Hunger Games for her little sister, Prim. She had a dress in which the bottom was fabricated and made her look like she was on fire when she twirled.
- Peeta Mellark, the male tribute from District 12, won the Capitol over with his looks and sense of humor. He joked and asked Caesar Flickerman if he smelled like roses. He makes a joke about the showers in the capitol, and Caesar states that Peeta is "charming and has a wonderful sense of humor." He also revealed that he has had a crush on Katniss, his female counterpart, for a long time, which started the star crossed lovers from district twelve story.
After the 74th Hunger Games
Peeta and Katniss both appear for the post-Games interview. Katniss is told by Haymitch Abernathy that they must act as though they are madly in love and that she would rather have died than to lose Peeta. Due to their heroic "berry scene," President Snow is not very happy with them for showing them up. Their stylists (Cinna for Katniss and Portia for Peeta), prep teams (for Katniss: Venia, Octavia, and Flavius), escort (Effie Trinket) and mentor (Haymitch Abernathy) are all introduced. Katniss is dressed as an innocent young girl in a yellow dress that resembles candlelight to draw attention away from her rebellious actions. They show highlights of the whole Hunger Games and it is especially hard for Katniss to re-live. When President Snow gives the crown to Katniss, he gives her a venomous look and she knows that he will get revenge on her.
To wrap up the Victory Tour, there is an interview with Caesar. During, he asks how the victor is doing. During the interview in Catching Fire, Peeta proposes to Katniss. This was Katniss' idea and was the signal for a planned uprising in District 8.
75th Hunger Games
Each victor reaped for the 75th Hunger Games participated in an interview with Caesar as is customary, a process not new to any of them. Most complained or showed sadness of the fact that they would have to participate in yet another games, while some, mainly the careers, boasted of their fame or showed the same bloodlust as before. Some notable interviews include:
- Cashmere makes a speech about how she could not stop crying when she thinks of how the residents of the Capitol must be suffering with the thought of the loss of 23 victors. In the film, both she and Gloss go up at the same time, probably due to them being siblings. During the interview, Caesar states that both she and Gloss turned the Hunger Games into a family affair and became "everyone's brother and sister". In addition, Cashmere speaks after Gloss does.
- Gloss thanked the Capitol for their kindness to him and his sister, said that the Capitol people were his family, and that he was not dying by choice. In the film, both he and Cashmere go up at the same time, probably due to them being siblings. During the interview, Caesar states that both he and Cashmere turned the Hunger Games into a family affair and became "everyone's brother and sister". In addition, Gloss speaks before Cashmere does, telling the audience that he and Cashmere "are not going in by choice. You are our family. I don't see how anyone else could love us more."
- Beetee questioned the legality of the third Quarter Quell. In the film, Caesar states how he has contributed so much to Panem over the years and he does not know what will be missed more: "you or your brain?" Beetee then says that since the Quarter Quell was written into law by man, it can be unwritten as well.
- Finnick Odair read a love note to "his one true lover in the Capitol". According to Katniss, almost all the women fainted, thinking that they were the subject of his poem, which was indeed, Annie Cresta, his one true love.
- Johanna Mason asked if it really is impossible to do something about the situation of the Quell, seeing as when the twist was first written, it was not taken into account the bond that would inevitably form between the victors and the Capitol. In the film, she instead expresses her anger at being forced to fight in the games again. She even says "F**k everyone that had anything to do with this", but it was bleeped out.
- Seeder quietly pondered about how the people of District 11 all think of President Snow as being an all-powerful leader and asked, "If he is so powerful why doesn't he just change the Quell?"
- Chaff helped spark the rebellion by stating that President Snow could change the Quell at any moment if he had wanted to.
- Katniss Everdeen unexpectedly put on a show to spark a rebellion. Her wedding dress surprisingly turned into a mockingjay at the end of the interview as designed by Cinna. This lead to Cinna's death the next day. Prior to her interview, Cashmere made fun of the dress. In the film, it was Johanna who made fun of the dress. However, when she learns that President Snow forced Katniss to wear it, she says "Make him pay".
- Peeta Mellark had the same enjoyable back-and-forth with Caesar as the year before. He talked of his secret marriage with Katniss back in District 12 and revealed her pregnancy, both fake, but the latter being in order to get the audience's sympathy to keep their faith in the couple.
At the close of the interviews, Peeta and Katniss led the victors in a spontaneous show of unity by holding hands. Some, mostly the career victors, are reluctant at first, but eventually all the tributes joined in to form an unbroken line, sending the crowd into a chaotic uproar. The chain of hands, though seen to some as a symbol of the victors' friendship and the first public show of unity among the districts since the Dark Days, was meant as a symbol of rebellion, saying that even the dreadfulness of the games couldn't sever the bond the victors had formed nor destroy the united strength they held. Nonetheless, this did not stop the tributes from battling to the death once the Games began the following day.
The 50th Hunger Games
During these interviews, as Katniss and Peeta watched them on the train, Katniss noted it as being overwhelming due to the high number of tributes. When Haymitch was interviewed, Caesar asked Haymitch, "So, Haymitch, what do you think about the Hunger Games having 100% more competitors than usual?" Haymitch responded, "Well, they'll still be 100% stupid as usual, so I figured that my odds will be roughly the same," making the audience laugh.
- The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, Chapter 11