Oscars 2019: Queen, Adam Lambert rev up ceremony with ‘We Will Rock You’

Queen guitarist Brian May, left, and singer Adam Lambert perform at the Oscars.
(Valerie Macon / AFP/Getty Images)

It is the real life, after all.

Legendary rock band Queen and singer Adam Lambert opened the 91st Academy Awards on Sunday with a brief, yet rousing performance of “We Will Rock You” and “We Are the Champions” that had the audience on its feet from the start.

“American Idol” veteran Lambert stepped in for late Queen frontman Freddie Mercury, who was portrayed by lead actor nominee Rami Malek in the musical film.

“Welcome to the Oscars!” Lambert shouted as images of Mercury lit up behind him.


The opening number was the first in a series of live performances slated for the show. Four of the five best-song nominees are expected to be performed throughout the telecast.

He and the band took the stage at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood for a sing-along medley that was followed by a video montage of the nominated films and a bit by Maya Rudolph, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. The trio insisted that they’re not this year’s show hosts but planned to stand onstage long enough so that USA Today readers on Monday would think they were.

FULL COVERAGE: 2019 Oscars »


Meanwhile, Queen kicked off the ABC broadcast in lieu of a film montage or the traditional host monologue after comedian Kevin Hart stepped down from hosting duties in December amid a backlash about his past homophobic jokes and tweets.

“How did we come to that decision? Well, you have to look at the fact that this is a movie [“Bohemian Rhapsody”] that has done in excess of $800 million worldwide business. Japan alone is $100 million,” producer Donna Gigliotti told The Times last week.

“Just opening the show with that kind of energy and known music and excitement allows us to start this in a different way, and we think it’s really good to just jump right in,” added co-producer and director Glenn Weiss.

2019 Oscars: See the full list of nominees »


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