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 The Idols say that on tour there's no jealousy and, best of all, no Barry Manilow ...



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 Jasmine flirts with John, Jon geeks out, and the ladies write a song ... about eyeliner



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 Busta Rhymes disses Jennifer's pink dress, and Diana puts Cheez Wiz in her hair ...





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The other thing the Idols spend a lot of time doing is signing autographs. Just about everywhere they go, there's a line of fans cheering for them. And all 10 of the singers are good to their admirers, taking pictures, even getting on cell phones and talking to moms or wives or whoever. Fantasia draws a pair of lips with her signature, George makes a smiley face.

Then there's the official meet-and-greet in each city, where contest winners, concertgoers who purchased expensive ticket packages, and local reps for tour sponsor Pop Tarts mingle with the singers. Boxes of the breakfast snack are set out, and by the second night the Idols are munching on them.

Perhaps this explains why they're rarely seen in the catering room. Instead, the tables are often occupied by Jasmine's father, Rudy, Diana's mother, Brenda, and John's mother, Lynne, who are required to chaperone their minors on the tour.

The parents are already close friends from living together during the "Idol" season and can relate to each others' stresses. In Salt Lake City, Brenda and Lynne complain about $900 cell phone bills.

When not together, the parents are with their kids, Brenda managing Diana, Lynn mothering John (often to his embarrassment) and Rudy providing comic relief for everyone. During one of the meet-and-greets, he poses as a fan and tries to convince George he voted for him during the show.

Occasionally, the singers do grab some catering, which they seem to like. "It tastes like mo'," Jennifer says. "When I say it tastes like mo', that means you gotta get up and take some mo'."

Jennifer eats her dinner in Salt Lake City with Gary and his assistant choreographer, Karen Kittlewood. Like most of the tour's crew, they are British and their accents are often mocked by the Idols. Tonight, though, Jennifer's telling them about meeting Busta Rhymes at their hotel.

"He was like, 'Man, you ever get your wardrobe right?' " she recalls. "I was like, 'What are you talking about?' He goes, 'The pink dress?' " (Click to see the pink dress.)

"Ain't nobody remember me from nothing else," she continues, talking about a notorious outfit she wore on "Idol." "I knew I was in trouble when Randy was dogging me. Then there's a group of people who love the pink dress."

"I liked it," Gary says, hardly convincing.

At another table sits Diana, although she's too busy doing interviews, signing posters and talking business with her mom to eat. She's probably the hardest working singer on tour, although she still makes time to hang with the gang and joke around. "Doesn't this look like Cheez Wiz?" she says of some hair gel during the 30 minutes it takes to get her hair done. "It even has a top that looks like Cheez Wiz!"

By the 7 p.m. showtime, all the Idols are ready as they sit around a tiny monitor behind the stage, watching each person sing their first solo. George jumps when Jennifer hits a big note. Camile dances to JPL's "Superstition." Fantasia takes out her oft-used cell phone (she would buy a new one with unlimited minutes the next afternoon) and calls her daughter, Zion, back home.

"She keeps my spirits up," Fantasia says. And she does a good job, as Fantasia always seems happy. While shopping in Portland, she talks to everyone who stops her, and even takes time to watch the street musicians and give them money. "I'm blessing somebody," she says.

During intermission, they kill time by making each other laugh. George does a mock interview with John, who he says looks just like Prince in his overpriced suit. "More like Pee-Wee Herman," John replies.

Most of the Idols are onstage during the second act, or making lightning-fast costume changes. When the curtain comes down, the group is thrilled.

"That's how we do it!" Fantasia chants as she dances with the ladies.

"Did you see that? We just lived our dream y'all," Jennifer says.

Since JPL is from nearby Rexburg, Idaho, he's the unofficial host of the afterparty, which is packed with his family and friends. John and George show up to sign more autographs, but the women head straight for the buses, Camile carrying a bouquet of roses sent from her former IHOP co-workers back in Hawaii.

When George finally makes his way outside, he covers his mouth from the bus fumes with a scarf and spends a good 10 minutes waving to fans. Once in the bus, he finds Gary to congratulate him on putting together the show.

"Where did you find this [scarf]? 'Cause I banned this," the choreographer responds. "You look like a snowman."

Gary later pleads with George to do his Bill Cosby impression.

"You don't forget the puddin'," he responds, sounding identical to the comedian.

As time passes, George's bus fills up with Jennifer, Fantasia, JPL and a few of their managers.

So how are the singers divided among the buses?

"We're the first-class bus," Hudson deadpans.

George breaks out laughing. There's no competition on this tour.


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