Adam Lambert on Idol, Freddie Mercury and His New Album

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Matt Sayles / AP

Musician Adam Lambert

It’s been two and a half years since Adam Lambert dropped his last album. Why? “I just wanted to get this one right!” he says of Trespassing, out May 15, which is “funkier and more soulful” than its predecessor. Here, American Idol’s wildest runner-up—who counts Prince, Michael Jackson and Madonna among his musical influences—lets loose with Time.

You’ve called this album “existential pop.” What does that mean?

Well, there’s definitely something existential about my first single, “Better Than I Know Myself,and especially the music video. There are two of me. It’s my Waiting for Godot moment.

Yeah, every pop star needs one of those.

Of course!

(MORE: American Idol vs. The Voice)

Do you watch any of the singing-competition shows?

Here and there, yeah. I’m not, like, glued to the TV, since I’ve been on the road promoting stuff. But when I flip by ’em, I watch.

So are you Team Idol or Team The Voice?

I’m Team Everything.

That’s very diplomatic.

I mean, really, I’m Team Give a Good Singer a Good Shot. The music industry is so hard to break into, and these shows provide an incredible p.r. platform.

Lots of reports suggest Britney Spears will join the X-Factor panel next season. Would you have wanted her judging you?

I don’t know. [laughs] I was on Idol, so I don’t know!

So who’s on your iPod right now?

Hang on, lemme check. [long pause] I’m using iCloud, which is kind of awkward.

Oh, I use Spotify.

Us artists don’t get so much money from that.

Ha, sorry. Maybe I’ll send you a check or someth—

But I hope you like it!

I do!

So I’m really into this new artist, Alex Clare. He has a song called “Too Close.” It’s a really interesting mash-up of, like, dubstep and soul. And I like the new Nelly Furtado song, “Big Hoops.”

Really? That wasn’t a love-at-first-listen for me.

I really liked it. I think it’s a jam. I actually just bought a new sound system for my house, and I didn’t have a sub-woofer before. So when I turned it on loud the other afternoon, I was like [alters voice to mimic bass system], “JAAAAM!!!”

(READ: Adam Lambert Too—Ahem—”Controversial” for GMA)

Ha, that’s awesome.

Yeah, it’s got some bass to it. It’ll be good in the clubs. I think it’s nasty!

You’re fronting for Queen this summer. Have you picked an outfit yet?

Oh, I definitely want to wear something fierce. If Freddie [Mercury]’s smiling down from somewhere, I hope he approves of my shoes.