Gleeks, get ready to welcome Adam Lambert! The American Idol alum — who is so much more than just that nowadays, laying down a track on Avicii’s new album and headlining the iHeart Radio festival with Queen — joins the cast of Glee in season five, and he’s about to throw down with your boy Kurt!
Lambert will appear in multiple episodes (starting Thursday) as a Jersey performer named Elliott “Starchild” Gilbert, who initially clashes with Chris Colfer’s character during auditions for a Madonna cover band. “He’s a singer and he’s looking for any way to break into the business, and he’s trying to immerse himself in everything,” says Lambert of Starchild, who will make his debut singing Lady Gaga’s “Marry the Night” while swinging from a chandelier. “That was one of my choices. I saw the set and I said, ‘Can I jump on this?’ Of course, by take 14 I was like, ‘Okay, here we go again.’
Lambert’s first episode “A Katy or a Gaga” marks Glee’s return after a month-long hiatus (following the show’s farewell episode to Cory Monteith), and it finds the New Directions bickering about their favorite pop queens. “It’s a really interesting episode that explores the balance between being an artist and [having] that type of integrity, and also being a business person and being commercial,” says Lambert. “I’ve been in the music business now after Idol, and gone through the process of putting out songs and working with the radio, so I have a lot of experience with that juggling act.”
Though Lambert got his start in musical theater, the singer hasn’t acted on screen since his first credit: 2006’s The Ten Commandments: The Musical, which was a filmed version of a stage show (starring Val Kilmer!). Glee is Lambert’s major TV acting debut.
“It’s been a minute since I’ve picked up a script, but it was definitely like getting back on a bicycle. I’m excited to play a character and take a little departure from me and have a little fun,” gushes Lambert, adding that he hopes Glee will lead to more acting down the road. “I’ve always loved Jesus Christ Superstar. I want to do a film remake when they decide to get that going.”
As for his music, Lambert is hard at work on his third studio album—he left RCA in July but is in talks with a handful of other labels for a record that could be completed as soon as next year. He also teased the possibility of reuniting with Queen for another go-round in the States. “It just feels like people are really thirsty for it,” he says. “I’m trying to stay busy on a lot of different projects. There’s room for everything, nothing’s exclusive. I’m juggling!”
Lambert’s first episode of Glee premieres on FOX on Thursday, Nov. 7 at 9 p.m. ET.