Brian May says Freddie Mercury would “love and hate” new Queen singer Adam Lambert

"Sometimes I stop playing because I think 'what did he just do?'"

Queen‘s Brian May has heaped praise on the band’s current singer Adam Lambert  ahead of their upcoming Las Vegas residency, which begins tomorrow (September 1)

Lambert became the new frontman of Queen in 2011, taking the place of the legendary Freddie Mercury. May said that Lambert’s so good in the role, Mercury would have been jealous.

“Freddie would love and hate him, because Adam has a real gift from God,” May told 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.”

May waxed lyrical about how much he enjoyed playing live with the band’s new singer. “In no way does he imitate Freddie but he provides that piece of the jigsaw puzzle,” he said. “It’s stupendous, we would never be doing this now if it weren’t for Adam.

“Sometimes I stop playing because I think ‘what did he just do?’ He’s so free with his interpretations and it’s just spine-chilling. The sound he makes and the way he interprets a song.”

Paul Rodgers had previously filled their legendary original frontman’s shoes from 2004 until 2009, but Lambert was brought on board after impressing them in the final of American Idol. Lambert, who was runner-up in the show’s 8th season, sung with Queen on the season finale along with the series’ 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 remembers, and reconnected with the singer as soon as he was out of his American Idol contract.

“When we had the opportunity to work with him we did three songs in Ireland for an awards show. We did ‘The Show Must Go On’, ‘We Are the Champions’ and ‘We Will Rock You’ and everybody, including us, went ‘Oh, this works. It just has it. It just has the right ingredients.'”

Earlier this year, Lambert paid his own tribute to Mercury, speaking of the difficulty of discussing sexuality in ‘a different time’