American Idol contestant to front Queen at music festival

US talent show runner-up Adam Lambert will take the place of Freddie Mercury at Sonisphere

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Who says talent show stars aren’t taken seriously? Adam Lambert, runner-up on the 2009 series of American Idol, is to take the place of the late great Freddie Mercury when he fronts Queen at the Sonisphere Festival in Knebworth this July.

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Lambert, now a recording artist in his own right, will join guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor to headline the Saturday night of the festival.

May said: “Judging by my incoming mail, this decision will make a lot of people very happy. It’s a worthy challenge for us, and I’m sure Adam would meet with Freddie’s approval.”

Lambert, 30, has performed with Queen twice previously, once in a duet with American Idol winner Kris Allen on the show, and once at the MTV Europe Music Awards last November, but has never played a major gig with them.

The Sonisphere Festival comes to Knebworth Park in Herefordshire on the weekend of 6-8 July, with Kiss headlining on the Friday night, Queen on the Saturday and Faith No More on the Sunday. 

Evanescence, Marilyn Manson, Cypress Hill and The Blackout are among the other acts that have so far been announced.

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Freddie Mercury died in 1991. In October 2011, it was announced that Queen are to release a new album featuring lost demos of Mercury’s vocals. A series of duets that Mercury recorded with Michael Jackson are set to be released in 2012.