July 08, 2008 12:00 AM

American Idol‘s top 10 finalists hit the road July 1, heading to Brooke White‘s hometown of Glendale, Ariz., the first stop on the Pop Tarts Presents American Idols Live! Tour 2008, which will make over 50 stops across the country this summer. So how is life on the road? “So far so good,” season 7 winner David Cook tells PEOPLE, before performing at L.A.’s Staples Center Monday. “We’re getting our feet wet a little bit and the crowds have been amazing!”

Added runner-up, David Archuleta: “It’s been great at every city so far and so much fun … to watch other perform and see how the audiences react to them.”

The Idols will travel from show to show on luxury buses (one for the women and one for the men) equipped with Internet, TV, food, music, and beds. “When we’re on the bus, we’re asleep or eating a bowl of Lucky Charms,” says White, who has trouble sleeping on the bus.

But there’s more to do than snooze and eat cereal. “In the front half of the bus, if we want to wind down after the show, watch TV or just have a beer or do whatever, that’s fine,” Michael Johns explains. “Then there’s a middle section where everyone sleeps, and then there’s a back section if you ever want to work on the computers or read books.”

Syesha Mercado is one Idol who takes advantage of the computers. “I just love writing about the experience,” she says. “That kind of helps me pass time.”

“The bus life is nice. It’s kind of like sharing a larger room with each other,” says Archuleta, whose dad Jeff is along for the ride. “You get used to it pretty quick … Everyone is respectful of each other.”

The other Idols may not have family with them but, according to Carly Smithson, that brings them closer together. “We’re all really supportive because it’s kind of hard for our beloved other ones to understand what we’re going through,” says the Irish native. “Our husbands are trying to be understanding but it’s hard. You can’t call them all day, and then when you get time you want to save your voice.”

Johns, who is also married, sees his wife as much as possible. “She’s coming tonight and she went to Phoenix. She’s going to go to New York and Miami and Dallas,” he says. “The touch of a woman is never too far away.”

The final stop on the tour is on Sept. 13 in Tulsa, Okla., which still seems like a long ways off. “We’ve only been on the bus for like three or four nights so far,” Johns explains, “but now we’re going out for a month straight. After a week, we’re all going to be a little bit crazy to be honest.”

David Cook, who found out on tour that he’s a snorer, is staying focused. “It’s a learning experience,” he says, “to try and make the concert as intimate for the person in the back row as it is for the person in the front row. It’s the biggest thing I’ve tried to grasp. So, hopefully when I get home to my hometown of Kansas City in August to play, we’ll have that all mapped out.” –Jed DrebenMichael Caulfield/WireImage

You May Like

EDIT POST