Queen star Brian May is convinced his late bandmate Freddie Mercury would have loved the band's current frontman Adam Lambert.
The former American Idol star stepped up to replace rock veteran Paul Rodgers as Queen's guest frontman in 2011, and on the eve of the band's upcoming Las Vegas residency, which begins on Saturday (01Sep18), guitarist May has heaped praise on the singer.
He insists Freddie would have been a fan, as he is, but he would also have been jealous of the gay rocker's talents.
"Freddie would love and hate him, because Adam has a real gift from God," May tells Yahoo. "It’s a voice in a billion. Nobody has that range, nobody that I've ever worked with; not just the range but the quality throughout the range. I’ve seen Adam develop just like I watched Freddie develop."
And May admits he's often floored by his frontman during shows.
"Sometimes I stop playing because I think, 'What did he just do?'" he laughs. "He’s so free with his interpretations and it’s just spine-chilling. The sound he makes and the way he interprets a song (is amazing).
"In no way does he imitate Freddie but he provides that piece of the jigsaw puzzle. It’s stupendous. We would never be doing this now if it weren’t for Adam."
Rodgers exited as Queen's regular guest frontman in 2009, after five years with the band. Lambert was recruited after performing with May and drummer Roger Taylor during the season eight American Idol finals. The rocker came in second behind winner Kris Allen.
"There was something about Adam, this chemistry was instant and it was like we were already in a band with him," May recalls.