04/16/2013 at 07:00 PM EDT
Five ladies under one roof is a lot of estrogen, but apparently not too much for American Idol
's season 12 finalists
, who seem more like a sisterhood than competitors.
PEOPLE caught up with each woman – Amber Holcomb, Kree Harrison, Janelle Arthur, Angie Miller and Candice Glover – on Tuesday in L.A., where they gave us a behind-the-scenes look at their lives vying for one of the biggest honors on TV ... while still remaining best friends.
Read on to find out five things about this season's Idol
finalists that you won't learn from watching the show: 1. Candice is surprisingly the jokester of the bunch
On TV, Glover "looks mean and gets attacked all the time," her pal Holcomb says, but what the cameras don't show is that "Candice is really funny. She's a really nice person. She's so sweet. She's like the sweetest person ever."
Fellow housemate Harrison agrees. "Candice is so witty. A lot of people don't see that. Behind closed doors, she's hilarious. She makes me laugh so hard. Her accent, too, I love."
2. Everyone looks to Kree as a mother figure
"Everyone's close to Kree," Glover says. "Kree's like the mother. We can go to her and talk to her about anything."
Adds Harrison's roommate, Miller, "I've become so close with Kree. I can't imagine being in this competition without her. She takes care of us all. She is definitely the mom. The other day, I woke up and she said, 'Angie, I have tea for you. Do you want me to order you breakfast?' She already said she can't wait to make us all breakfast in the morning when we're on tour. I love having her as a roommate."
Even the so-called matriarch, herself, acknowledges her special role in the house.
"I've learned how mothering I am," Harrison says. "They all call me mama."
3. Not everyone in the house keeps things spotless
"Angie's my roommate, but also like my little sister," Harrison says. "I'm very neat and she's not. But that's okay, because I love to take care of people. I like cleaning. It makes me happy. So whenever she comes in and her shoes are in order in the closet, rather than on the floor, it makes me happy and she's happy."
Miller doesn't admit she keeps things cluttered, but instead jokingly points the finger at Holcomb.
"I could throw someone under the bus," Miller said with a laugh. "Amber, come on, girl. Clean up your stuff, girl."
4. Being so busy with all things Idol puts the girls in a "bubble"
"[After the competition], I literally just want to go to my aunt and uncle's house and just sit at the house," Arthur says. "We're always on the go. But it's a once in a lifetime thing, so it's all worth it."
Adds Harrison, "We live in a bubble here, which is bittersweet. For example, all this crap that's going on in Boston
is just terrible, and we just recently found out about that. It's so sad. You're in this little world of Idol
and you kind of want to step away from it and pray or send good thoughts."
The singer also says that once she's back to the real world, "I'm really excited to catch up with my friends and family, to be honest. I'm excited to soak up the sun. I need some vitamin D in my life. I feel like a vampire."
Glover, who says they haven't had a day off since Easter, adds, "When we get a chance to go to dinner, it's really late. And you come home and just crash. We're never sleeping."
5. Producers at least make time for them to get pampered
"Yesterday, we went to dinner together and then got our nails done together," Glover says, adding that last week, the gang got facials and full body massages. "You do expect to make friends on this show, but I don't think we expect to get as close as we did. All of us do things together. There's no singling out."
Adds Miller, "We are together all the time. We do everything together."