Adam Lambert has confirmed that he will perform with the legendary rock band Queen, while its guitarist, Brian May, said he is sure Freddie Mercury would approve of the decision.
Lambert, a glam rocker and "American Idol" finalist, is a longtime fan of the British group and of Mercury, its late flamboyant frontman. He is set to sing on stage in July with May, 64, and drummer Roger Taylor, 62, during the second day of the 2012 Sonisphere touring hard rock festival at Knebworth Park in Stevenage, located north of London. A UK tabloid had said earlier this month that Lambert would perform there with the band.
"As many suspected, I can finally confirm: I have been invited by Queen to sing one very special concert! Sonisphere at Knebworth July 7th!" Lambert, 30, said on his Twitter page late on Monday. "Sorry to be coy about the details the past few weeks, but I made a promise to keep it under wraps as best I could. Gonna be a surreal night!"
"Judging by my incoming mail, this decision will make a lot of people very happy," May said in a statement, posted on the event's website. "It's a worthy challenge for us, and I'm sure Adam would meet with Freddie's approval! And what better place to revisit, and walk those emotional paths than Knebworth? It will be a rush."
Earlier this month, the UK tabloid The Daily Star had said that Lambert would perform with the remaining band members at the festival, which takes place in the UK between July 6 and July 8. Mercury's final concert with Queen also took place there, in August 1986. At the time, Lambert said he had not confirmed any guest appearances.
The tabloid report was published on the same day that Lambert's new music video, "Better Than I Know Myself," was released (watch it here). The song is featured on Lambert's second studio album, "Trespassing," which is set to hit stores on March 20.
Lambert sang a Queen medley with May and Taylor at the MTV Europe Music Awards in Northern Ireland on Nov. 6, 2011. He wore a long, black, leather jacket with slightly pointed shoulders. He wears what appears to be an identical one in his new music video. (See above) His spokesperson had no immediate comment as to whether it is the same jacket.
ADAM LAMBERT: 'EXTRAORDINARY SINGER'
Taylor said in a telephone interview that aired on BBC Radio's Chris Evans Breakfast Show" on Tuesday, February 21 that Lambert was an "extraordinary" singer "with the best range I've ever heard from any singer." He also hinted that other music artists could join Queen on stage at Knebworth.
"We love a guest star and I certainly hope there will be guest stars," he said. "But Brian and myself, we'll be doing quite a lot of singing. So we will be covering a lot of it but Adam will be our principal lead singer and I guess we will have some interesting guest stars here as well."
"We still play very well and we still play great, actually," Taylor said. "We're older meat now. When Brian and I get together, the chemstry's still there. It's a real challenge for us. It will be a full set. We're going to prepare well for it, hopefully. Should be quite a night, just to revisit Freddie's last stand, really."
Taylor also said: "We certainly might just nip over to Moscow and do a gig or two there. Wouldn't want to go onto the stage at Knebworth absolutely cold." He did not specify whether or not Lambert would join the group in Russia.
Lambert, a former musical theatre performer who is known for his wild outfits, had performed Queen's iconic 1975 song "Bohemian Rhapsody" at his first on-air "American Idol" audition, which aired in January 2009. He placed second during the eighth season and performed with May at the finale, which raised speculation that he would become Queen's new frontman.
When asked about the rumors, May told Rolling Stone: "It's not like we, as Queen, would rush into coalescing with another singer just like that. It isn't that easy. But I'd certainly like to work with Adam. That is one amazing instrument he has there."
Mercury, who died at age 45 from complications of AIDS in 1991, was known for his elaborate stage performances and costumes. He and his fellow band members dressed as women, channeling female characters from the UK series "Coronation Street," in the 1984 Queen music video "I Want To Break Free."
[Mercury] was completely over the top in the best possible way," Lambert told NPR in 2010. "Music, most of the time, is about sexuality, whether you are straight, gay or in between. It's about love and sex. That's rock 'n' roll."
Lambert is openly gay and came out publicly via a Rolling Stone cover that was published just after his run on "American Idol." Mercury was reported to have been bisexual but did not speak about his sexual orientation publicly.
Lambert told NPR he owes a debt to Mercury's flamboyance, saying: "There's definitely something missing in today's music scene. We don't have a lot of men on stage doing flamboyant or theatrical. We have a lot of female pop stars doing it, but where are the guys? Where's the classic pop-rock showman?"
'WE WILL ROCK YOU'
During Lambert's first on-air "American Idol" audition, then-judge Simon Cowell told him he was "theatrical." The singer, who was raised in southern California, has performed in musicals such as "Wicked" and "Hair," although not on Broadway, and at various other stage shows, often in flashy costumes.
Queen's songs are featured in the hit musical "We Will Rock You," which was written by Ben Elton in collaboration with May and Taylor. The characters are fictional. Lambert, who once starred in "Wicked" in Los Angeles, has never appeared in the show, which opened in London's West End in 2002. The musical has been performed in places such as Las Vegas, Germany and Russia but not on Broadway.
The show is about a group of rockers living in a futuristic world where musical instruments are banned and everyone else behaves the same way and consumes the same, generic products. Its title was named after the band's 1977 rock anthem that has been for decades been played at stadiums during sporting events.
Tony Vincent, who played the lead in "We Will Rock You" in London and is features on its original cast recording album, made his debut as a contestant on the NBC show "The Voice" on Monday's episode.
May told BBC News in 2009 that a film based on the show was in the works, added that he has read a script and that the proposed movie's story is "grittier.""We have a script. We have Robert De Niro in our family. He's part of our initial thrust. So they've been interested in doing this for a while. And of course the medium of film gives you the opportunity to say a lot more. I've read the script."
Meanwhile, Mercury is also coming to the big screen. British actor Sacha Baron Cohen, known for his alter egos Borat and Ali G, is set to portray the rocker in a biopic tentatively set for release in 2014.