The Queen Show Goes On Thanks to ‘Idol’ Star

The Show Must Go On: The Queen + Adam Lambert Story airs on ABC April 29. ABC of course shows American Idol, where Lambert was one of the final two contestants back in 2009. It was on Idol that Lambert first sang with the band Queen, and all parties realized they had something good going on.

Lambert lost American Idol that season to Kris Allen (currently residing in the Where are they now? file), a result that many felt short-changed Lambert. But he ended up fronting Queen, which lost its lead singer, Freddie Mercury, in 1991.

Queen is enjoying a degree of popularity it hasn’t seen in decades, thanks in large part to the film Bohemian Rhapsody. Rami Malek plays Mercury, and Lambert has a cameo, playing a trucker that Malek’s Mercury sets his eyes upon. The movie was nominated for best picture at the Academy Awards, an event that Queen + Adam Lambert opened with a rousing performance.

American Idol had its contestants sing Queen songs last night.

Malek speaks in the ABC documentary, as does Simon Cowell.

We chatted with Matt Lombardi, exec producer on The Show Must Go On, about the film. “Everybody wants a piece of Queen these days,” said Lombardi.

The Show Must Go On had begun production before the Bohemian Rhapsody film premiered. “When Bohemian Rhapsody became a hit and as we all were watching the movie and Rami Malek start ringing up award after award, we were all thinking, wow, this band is hotter than it’s ever been,” said Lombardi.

He acknowledged that there is always skepticism when a new singer steps into a band, but said Lambert’s considerable talents won over the doubters. “He has such a voice and gives such a performance,” said Lombardi. “Given his history and personality, it’s really a perfect fit. I think Queen fans feel satisfied.”

They seem to be. If you want a ticket to Queen + Adam Lambert when they play Madison Square Garden in August, it will run you close to $300 on StubHub.

Tickets to see Kris Allen are much cheaper. You can catch the Idol winner at Firefly Music Private Cabin in Blue Ridge, Georgia May 5. Tix are $65.

The Show Must Go On: The Queen + Adam Lambert Story is produced by Simon Lupton and Jim Beach for Miracle Productions, and Lombardi is executive producer for Lincoln Square Productions.

So what does Lambert bring to the band that perhaps Mercury didn’t? Youth, for starters. His American roots too, and American Idol chops. “He knows how to play to an American audience because he’s been onstage since he was so very, very young,” said Lombardi. “On American Idol, from the get-go you’re on display for millions of people. You have to win the room from day one. He certainly knew, going in, as daunting a task as [fronting Queen] was, how to play to the room.”

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.