Now that former “American Idol” contestant Adam Lambert has settled into his new role as frontman for legendary rock band Queen, what would the band’s original singer have thought about his replacement?

That’s the question that was posed to Queen guitarist Brian May, who formed the band with the late Freddie Mercury in 1970, during an interview with Yahoo.

According to May, Mercury — who died of AIDS in 1991 — would probably be both jealous of and awed by his successor.

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“Freddie would love and hate him, yeah; I mean, you know, he’d be like, ‘You bastard!’” May joked. “Because, I mean, Adam has a real gift from God. That voice is a voice in a billion, and nobody has that range, nobody that I’ve ever worked with. And not just the range but the quality throughout the range and the passion to use that instrument.”

He added: “And I’ve seen Adam develop, just like I watched Freddie develop… He was great to start with, but now, we’re doing something like ‘Who Wants to Live Forever’ onstage, and sometimes I almost stop playing because I think, ‘What did he just do?’ He’s so free with his interpretations, and it’s spine-chilling, just the sound he makes and the way he interprets a song.”

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With the band in the midst of a residency in Las Vegas — which kicked off on Sept. 1 — May recalled how Lambert immediately meshed with the band.

“This chemistry was instant, and it was like we were already kind of in a band with him,” said May of the first time Lambert sang with the band. “It’s quite strange. [He didn’t join Queen] for a little while afterwards, because [he] couldn’t. He was under contract to the ‘American Idol’ people. But when we had the opportunity to work with him, we did three songs in Ireland for an awards show [the 2011 MTV Europe Awards]. 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.’”

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In fact, May credits Lambert for allowing Queen to write a new new chapter.

“[Lambert] provides that piece of the jigsaw puzzle, which is, I mean, stupendous. We would never be doing this now it it weren’t for Adam,” he explained.

“It’s an incredible life. I feel so grateful that [Queen] had it. And we still have it.”

Check out this fan-shot video of Queen’s opening number at the first performance of their three-week, 10-show “Crown Jewels” Vegas residency. Watch:

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