From Kelly Clarkson to Carrie Underwood, American Idol alumni returned in droves for the show's series finale on Thursday night – but one fan-favorite was noticeably absent: Adam Lambert.
Due to a scheduling conflict, the season 8 runner-up wasn't able to make it to the live show in L.A. Instead, he was on location shooting Fox's upcoming Rocky Horror Picture Show reboot, in which he'll star as Eddie. (The reimagined campy cult hit will air on Fox in the fall.)
While he wasn't on hand for the poignant farewell Thursday, last month he returned to his reality TV alma mater to perform his new single "Welcome to the Show."
And the arena rocker was surely sad to miss the occasion, as he has a special place in his heart for the show and how it launched his pop career.
"I loved it; I had a great time. I got to show who I was to America, like what I was capable of as a musician and as an artist and introduce myself to the public which is in today's age, it's hard to get that kind of exposure," Lambert, 34, recently told Entertainment Weekly. "On my season we had up to 30 million people watching every week. It was a huge viewership. I was really lucky. I was getting in front of all of those people getting to do what I did."
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Indeed, Lambert is one of the show's most successful contestants: He's since released three Top 3 albums (one of which peaked at No. 1), seven Hot 100 singles and hit the road on smash tours singing with glam rock icons Queen.
In addition to "Welcome to the Show," Lambert is featured on "Can't Go Home," a brooding EDM track by Steve Aoki and Felix Jaehn.