One of the most successful alumni of “American Idol,” season 8 runner-up Adam Lambert, has been named to the judging panel for “Australian Idol,” an extension of the “Idol” franchise that was re-launched in early 2023 with celebrity judges including pop singer-songwriter Meghan Trainor and former “American Idol” judge Harry Connick Jr.
Lambert, 41, has been heavily involved in the “Idol” franchise over the past few years, including mentoring contestants and performing twice on season 21 of “American Idol” in April and May 2023, and performing on “Australian Idol” in March.
Now, according to Daily Mail Australia, he will be part of a revamped judging panel in 2024 and will be joined by another major celebrity at the table. The outlet reported that the other top celebrity will likely be Australian native Kylie Minogue, who performed on the “American Idol” finale in May and appeared with Lambert in July on Bravo’s “Watch What Happens Live.”
Here’s what you need to know:
Adam Lambert Has Lots of Experience Judging & Mentoring on ‘American Idol’
“American Idol” launched in 2002, based on a British version of the show called “Pop Idol,” which only lasted in Great Britain for two years. While “American Idol” airs in many places around the world, it has also inspired multiple versions of the show that are specific to the country in which they air, including “Idols South Africa” and “Indian Idol.”
“Australian Idol” originally ran for seven seasons, from 2003 to 2009, but was rebooted in early 2023 on a new network, Channel Seven, much like “American Idol” moved from FOX to ABC in 2018 after a one-year hiatus. Trainor and Connick Jr. starred in the reboot with popular Australian radio broadcaster Kyle Sandilands and pop singer Amy Shark, who’s had some crossover success in the U.S.
Though the Australian competition was renewed for 2024, the judging panel will change, per Daily Mail Australia, in part to give it a ratings boost and because some the 2023 judges have other priorities. Shark has stepped back due to health issues, for example, and Trainor is spending time at home with her newborn son, born on July 1. In addition, Sandilands said there was lots of tension on-set between him and Connick Jr., according to the Daily Mail.
Daily Mail Australia reported that Lambert all but confirmed the news of his “Australian Idol” hiring when he appeared on the radio show Fitzy & Wippa with Kate Ritchie on August 14.
“You know, I’m not gonna I’m not going to spoil anything,” he said, “but you definitely will see me next year in Australia on television. But that’s all I can say.”
Lambert already has plenty of experience to draw from when he sits behind the “Australian Idol” judging table. In May, when Lambert appeared for the fifth time as a mentor on “American Idol,” he received glowing reviews from fans for the advice he gave to the Top 12 contestants. He has also served as a guest judge on the show. In season 14, he filled in for Keith Urban during the New York auditions, assessing hopefuls alongside Harry Connick Jr. and Jennifer Lopez.
Adam Lambert Continues to Juggle Solo Career & Advocacy Work With Queen Tours
Lambert has been the lead singer for legendary rock group Queen since appearing with them on “American Idol” in 2009. On August 10, he shared an Instagram video that featured footage from his 2009 “American Idol” audition, singing Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” for the judges, as well as recent footage of him singing the classic song onstage with Queen.
He wrote, “Glow up ✨ Can’t wait to be on the road again with @officialqueenmusic”
But Lambert has also had success with his solo career, releasing hit songs like his Grammy-nominated first single “Whataya Want From Me,” and diving into entrepreneurial ventures. In late 2022, Yahoo estimated his net worth at $35 million, ranking him just behind fellow “Idol” alumni Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood in earnings.
Lambert has also become a vocal advocate and role model for the LGBTQ+ community, including among queer artists like Lil Nas X.
“I know Adam, we’ve met a couple of times,” Nas told Heavy in October 2022. “I did thank him in person, actually. I really appreciate all the love that he’s shown me and I definitely don’t take it for granted. And I appreciate all the doors that him and people like him opened.”
When Lambert appeared with Minogue and host Andy Cohen in July on “Watch What Happens Live,” a viewer asked what his reaction was to the rapper’s comments.
Lambert said, “That was very flattering that he even knows who I am. I think he’s such a rock star, and so bold and brave, and I love what he’s doing. So I was very flattered by that.”
In May, he told USA Today, “Queerness in my career has given me a certain amount of purpose and drive, to prove that queer people are valid and can be successful and can connect and deserve every opportunity that our straight friends get.”