While American Idol winner Lee DeWyze and runner-up Crystal Bowersox bask in Season Nine’s finale afterglow, the remaining Top Eight Idols are enjoying a breather before a 51-city American Idols Live! Tour, which kicks off in Auburn Hills, Mich, July 1.
At a celebratory dinner at Gordon Ramsay at the London in West Hollywood, PEOPLE joined Didi Benami, Andrew Garcia, Katie Stevens, Tim Urban, Siobhan Magnus, Aaron Kelly, Michael Lynche and Casey James to talk about the three-month road trip.
“Seeing America is going to be amazing,” says Lynche. “It’s going to be cool to see everybody’s hometown and I hope we have a chance to go see somebody’s haunts.” Adds Benami, “And seeing all of the who have been supporting us the whole time. I am really looking forward to playing for all the fans that voted and getting the reaction we didn’t get in the studio.”
On a technical point, James says, “I’m looking forward to playing full songs! That’s really exciting for me because chopping songs into one and a half minutes takes the soul out of the songs.”
As for how they will occupy their downtime while on the road, Stevens says, “I offer Mad Libs!” Magnus has a bunch of DVDs, including the Are You Afraid of the Dark? series, one that she and Garcia bonded over. Benami will bring along her notebook and James will try to pare down the nine guitars he used throughout the Idol series to perhaps “six or seven” for the road.
Kelly says he will offer “Yoda wisdom,” but Lynche jokes, “Now that’s the Red Bull talking!” Lynche says, “I love to play road trip games like Six Degrees of Separation, naming all the states.” Benami asks how Six Degrees is played, and Lynche explains how you can take the names of two within a genre, like movies, and then try to connect them within six places.
On the spot, James says, “Let’s do it!” And Lynche says, “Tom Cruise and Susan Sarandon, six steps or less.” Magnus says, “Well, Susan Sarandon was in Stepmom with Julia Roberts, and Julia Roberts has been in so much.” Lynche says, “Well Tom Cruise, what’s a big one he’s been in,” and Stevens says, “Jerry Maguire.” Lynche goes, “So who else is in that? Renee Zellweger. Renee ” And Magnus picks it up from there, “Renee Zellweger was in Bridget Jones’ Diary with Hugh Grant, who was in Notting Hill with Julia Roberts. Done!”
With recreation in hand, the next thing to settle are sleeping arrangements. “I’m looking forward to not listening to Big Mike snore on the bus,” Magnus says. James notes mock-solemnly, “That’s an issue.” The room erupts into laughter as Lynche blames congestion he got early on in the Top 24 to his fellow Idols’ penchants for setting the air conditioner at a really cold temperature. Then Garcia reveals that the first time he met James, who had gotten to the hotel room before Garcia, “he was just in a robe, and that was it. I thought, what is going on? I see this blond, golden hair ” James plays along. “I had the lighting just right!” Garcia volleys with, “A movie was playing ”
By this point, tears are streaming around the table and the laughter is contagious. “Oh, boy,” Lynche says. “This will be fun!” — Cynthia Wang
Tell us: Who are you looking forward to seeing most on the tour?