They Are the Champions: A Queen + Adam Lambert Timeline - Rolling Stone
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They Are the Champions: A Queen + Adam Lambert Timeline

Rolling Stone

Adam Lambert is joining Queen on the road this summer, and while it’s one of the most anticipated tours of 2014, this trek has been a long time coming. Truly, from the moment Adam first entered America’s living rooms and the American Idol audition room five (yes, FIVE) years ago, he seemed fit for a Queen and destined to one day front the legendary glam-rock group.

[Related: Adam Lambert Admits He Discovered Queen Through ‘Wayne’s World’]

As we prepare for Queen + Adam Lambert’s tour starting June 19, let’s take a look back at all the (platform-booted) steps along Adam and Queen’s majestic journey.

Jan. 20, 2009: Adam auditions for Idol with “Bohemian Rhapsody”

On the San Francisco auditions episode of Season 8, Adam looked uncharacteristically casual with his hoodie and fresh-scrubbed face, but he sounded like a total glitter-rock showman when he magnificently belted out Queen’s most iconic multi-octave anthem. Adam actually tried out with Michael Jackson’s “Rock With You” at first, but that footage didn’t air until much later in the season; instead, it was his Queen audition that memorably introduced him to the world. And exactly three months later, he was introduced to Queen’s Brian May and Roger Taylor…

May 20, 2009: Adam performs with Queen on the Idol finale

Adam may not have won Idol Season 8, but he was undoubtedly the superstar of that season’s splashy finale. Along with his phenomenal collaboration with KISS on that historic night, he also joined eventual Season 8 winner Kris Allen and Queen for a spectacular performance of the fittingly titled “We Are the Champions”; this still stands as one of the best Idol moments ever, in all 13 seasons. Kris held his own that evening, but it was clear from the look on guitarist Brian May’s face that he was especially amazed by Adam’s rock chops. Soon rumors were swirling that Queen had actually invited the Glamerican Idol to join the band permanently, although all involved parties denied such gossip at the time. It would be more than two years before they’d share a stage again…

Nov. 6, 2011: Adam teams with Queen at the MTV Europe Music Awards

When the 2011 EMAs ended with a salute to Freddie Mercury (as Queen were honored with the Global Icon Award), Brian May and Roger Taylor reunited with a special surprise guest: yes, Adam Lambert, doing Freddie proud and delivering one of the best vocals of his career. Adam and Queen blasted through a medley of “The Show Must Go On,” “We Will Rock You,” and “We Are the Champions”… and it was a performance of champions, indeed. Many European viewers were unfamiliar with the American Idol alum, but were understandably wowed and eager to see more. Suddenly and unsurprisingly, there was demand for a new Queen world tour…

June 30, 2012: Queen + Adam Lambert play their first full concert

“Queenbert,” as they were jokingly nicknamed by fans, made their full concert debut at Kiev’s 140,000-capacity Independence Square, at a joint show with Elton John for the Elena Pinchuk ANTIAIDS Foundation. Fans excitedly uploaded all two hours of the televised event to YouTube, and as more gigs followed in Russia, Eastern Europe, and England (where the supergroup played a sold-out, three-night stint at London’s world-famous Hammersmith Apollo), diehard American fans started to wonder when they’d finally get to witness this remarkable show, too. But another year would pass before they would get that chance…

Sept. 20, 2013: Queen + Adam Lambert perform at Las Vegas’s iHeartRadio Festival

Finally Queen + Adam Lambert played the States, headlining night one of a star-studded fest livestreamed on Yahoo and featuring a cameo by another clearly Freddie-influenced frontman, fun.’s Nate Ruess. While some American fans had been surprisingly unaware of “Queenbert’s” overseas shows, feedback for the iHeartRadio performance was so overwhelmingly positive, it was clear that this should not be a one-off. It was only a matter of time before there’d be a full U.S. tour.

And now, this summer, they will, they will…rock you..

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