It’s been almost seven years since Adam Lambert came in second place on American Idol, rocketing the powerful vocalist to reality show stardom. Although he lost the Idol crown to Kris Allen, Lambert’s post-Idol fame has, in many ways, eclipsed that of the winner. He earned raves touring with Queen in place of the band’s legendary frontman, Freddie Mercury, and has just dropped a new single, “Welcome to the Show.”
It is that single that will bring Lambert back to the Idol stage Thursday night, where he will join Empire stars Jussie Smollett and Bryshere “Yazz” Gray on the show as special guests. The latter will perform “Never Let it Die.” Lambert issued a statement about “Show,” which Time called “sweeping and almost dreamy.” Lambert said empowerment is at the heart of the song.
“I asked Max Martin for help and he paired me up with two great writers and producers; Ali Payami, who worked with me on ‘Ghost Town,’ and Swedish star Laleh who is also a featured vocalist on the track. I feel this song will give people strength to be exactly who they are.”
This week Laleh was actively using Twitter to promote her collaboration with Lambert and their joint Idol appearance.
— Laleh (@laleh) March 16, 2016
Laleh has previously collaborated with other stars, including Ellie Goulding, with whom she co-wrote the single “I Do What I Love.”
The fact that Lambert eventually followed up his Idol run as the frontman for Queen seems unsurprising, given his strong vocals and powerful stage presence. Out reported last year that Allen and Lambert performed “We Are The Champions” with members of Queen during the Idol finale. The band then reached out to Lambert to perform first on a 2011 awards show, then on European and world tours in 2012, 2014 and 2015.
Back in 2009, Rolling Stone wrote that Lambert’s performance value was so intense that he upstaged Kiss during the Idol finale. The magazine also reported on Lambert’s reaction when he was paired with Allen as a roommate in the Idol mansion as the men both entered the Top 13.
“Distracting! He’s the one guy that I found attractive in the whole group on the show: nice, nonchalant, pretty and totally my type – except that he has a wife.”
Now that it’s the final season of American Idol, Allen has written for Yahoo! Music about his experience on the show. He recalled his rough experience during rock week, when he was paired with Danny Gokey to perform a duet that he was told would not be judged. Infamous Idol panelist Simon Cowell, while acknowledging he wasn’t supposed to critique, went ahead and said Gokey was the superior performer. Allen also revealed Guns ‘n Roses guitarist Slash seemed less-than-impressed with his unique musical style.
But despite the bumps, Allen went on to win American Idol. Earlier this year he announced that he and his wife are expecting a new baby in June. His new album Letting You In got a strong review in Popdust, with the site saying the release “glides softly into the eardrums, and for a man now in his 30s, he displays remarkably ripened wisdom and grace.”
The 15th and and final season of American Idol will wrap up on Thursday, April 7. This week, in addition to the performance from Lambert and Laleh, the final six will be narrowed down to the top five.
American Idol airs on Fox at 8 p.m. Thursdays.
[Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images]