In stead of the typical host monologue, the 91st Academy Awards started with an iconic clap and stomp rhythm of Queen's stadium hit "We Will Rock You" and "We Are The Champions" as pop sensation Adam Lambert joined the iconic band for an energetic opener to Hollywood's biggest night. Are they sending a message that they're ready for Bohemian Rhapsody to take home some trophies? Check it out:
They brought down the house! Lead guitarist Brian May opened the performance by going out first and shredding the “We Will Rock You” tune, before Adam Lambert started belting out the track for the Oscars audience and all watching tonight. And it was awesome albeit left us wanting more. But it begs the question: why didn’t they play “Bohemian Rhapsody?”
The first performance of the night had Hollywood’s nominees such as Lady Gaga, Amy Adams and Jennifer Lopez mouthing the words and dancing along to the familiar tunes, while some got into the performance by swaying their hands together in unison as the band brought down the theater.
As Adam Lambert transitioned into “We Are the Champions”, we half expected the set to keep going with more famous melodies from the band’s impressive discography, but the performance was just under four minutes. The show must go on! Due to past complaints, the Oscars have made it their goal this year to stick to three hours, so a full-on Queen tribute to show off the band’s music at the top of the show wasn’t likely anyway.
A special moment did come at the end of the performance, when the broadcast cut to Best Actor nominee Rami Malek smiling from ear to ear, certainly proud to see his friends, the band members of Queen opening up the show. The performance concluded with a photo of Freddie Mercury in tribute before the show cut to its first commercial break.
Queen was not celebrating a Best Original Song nominee, like much of the other performers tonight such as Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga’s “Shallow” performance or Bette Midler’s rendition of Mary Poppins Returns’ “The Place Where Lost Things Go”. Considering the incredible $860 million box office success and award season prominence of Bohemian Rhapsody, despite trouble on set, director drama and early critical reviews. And their music certainly deserved to be showcased tonight. The movie is up for five awards tonight: Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Film Editing, Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing.
Adam Lambert had a brief cameo in Bohemian Rhapsody. He played a nearly recognizable bearded trucker while Queen was on the road. Lambert’s character meets eyes with Rami Malek’s Freddie Mercury for a small moment at a truck stop as he makes his way to the restroom, lightly suggesting Mercury’s flirtations with men.
The pop star has had plenty of practice playing with Queen’s Brian May and Roger Taylor, as he has been frontman to the band on tour around the world since 2014. Adam Lambert + Queen have kept the band’s greatest hits such as “Somebody to Love” and “We Will Rock You” alive on stage with their collaboration. The band will be hitting the road for 23 dates across North America this summer to celebrate Bohemian Rhapsody’s impact.
What did you think of Queen’s Oscar’s performance? Sound off in the comments below!
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Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.