Brian May and Adam Lambert’s take on Queen ‘affair’ unearthed: ‘Could have gone different’

Adam Lambert sings Bohemian Rhapsody with Queen in Sydney

Olly Murs welcomes back the six heat winners for the grand final of ITV show ‘Starstruck’ tonight. Each contestant will transform into their musical icon for one last time in a bid to win the coveted £50,000 prize. Freddie Mercury, Cher, Tina Turner and Billie Eilish impersonators will take to the stage hoping to impress the judges and, crucially, the audience that decides the winner. The judges for the series have been Adam Lambert — lead vocalist for Queen since 2011 — alongside Sheridan Smith, Jason Manford and Beverley Knight.

The live final gets underway at 8:30pm tonight on ITV.

Upon the show’s culmination, Adam will undoubtedly be returning to his Queen bandmates in preparation for this summer’s 36-date European tour, including a staggering 10 nights at London’s O2 Arena.

Adam has collaborated with Queen for 11 years now, embarking on world tours with Brian May and Co since 2014.

Brian and Adam gave an honest assessment of how things work between the bandmates in a 2014 interview at the Classic Rock Roll of Honour Awards.

Brian said: “We’re a proper band, people regard us that way and I’m very happy that they do.

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Brian May and Adam Lambert

Adam Lambert first collaborated with Queen in 2011. (Image: GETTY)

Brian May and Adam Lambert

The band embark on an enormous European tour later this year. (Image: GETTY)

“It’s a great arrangement. I don’t know if it’s a marriage, but it’s a very good affair.”

Following in Freddie Mercury’s footsteps was an impossible task for anyone, and Adam was asked how he puts his own stamp on the iconic songs.

He said: “That was the biggest challenge, finding that middle ground, the balance between paying respect and not straying too far from these iconic recordings and Freddie’s amazing vocals on these originals, not going too far from them but not imitating them either.

“It’s been difficult, it’s been trial and error in some respects.”

He added: “You can feel [the audience] when they’re with you, when they’re not with you.”

Brian May and Adam Lambert

Adam opened up on the ‘challenge’ of following in Freddie Mercury’s footsteps. (Image: GETTY)

The band’s first international album ‘Live Around the World’ was released in October 2020, and topped the album charts in the UK and Australia.

Their ongoing success, Adam said, is down to the openness of the original band members.

He explained: “It wouldn’t be what it was if they weren’t so warm and inviting and open to things, it’s been a full collaboration.

“It could have gone a very different way and been a terrifying experience for me.

“Brian and Roger and the rest of the crew have made me feel so welcome.”

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Freddie Mercury

Both Adam and the original band members make it clear he is not replacing the late great Freddie. (Image: GETTY)

Brian added that Adam has tried to put his own stamp on the band, without trying to merely be a Freddie Mercury impersonator.

Like the previous project with Paul Rodgers, the band made clear that Adam would not be replacing the legendary Freddie, but instead he would feature alongside the band’s active members.

Brian said: “He’s never arrogant, he’s always respectful. He’s always looking for the right way to do things.

“He doesn’t need to pretend to be Freddie in any sense, but there are a lot of parallels between the two guys.”

He added: “Adam’s interactive in every way. When we started putting the setlist together, Adam came in and said, ‘I need to do this and this and this’, and ‘Let’s look at this’.

Queen and Adam Lambert’s band perform special live cover

“It was very interactive from the beginning, and we’re very respectful of him.

“He is a phenomenal artist, so I feel very, very lucky.”

Despite the success, the band have faced some setbacks, particularly when considering writing new music.

In a recent interview with Mojo magazine, the band’s drummer Roger Taylor said: “We started it in Nashville, when we were all quite tired.

“We couldn’t decide on a title and the lyrics felt a little too negative for Queen, maybe.”

Roger added: “Brian suddenly lost interest and I don’t really know why.

“It was a song that we’d tried to adapt that had come from a friend.

“It had the makings of being a great song, but we couldn’t crack it… We couldn’t get there.”

Starstruck airs on ITV at 8:30pm tonight.