Since 2011, Adam Lambert has brilliantly filled Freddie Mercury’s big platform shoes as the new frontman for Queen. And this Saturday, he proved he is just as capable of living up to the late George Michael’s legacy, when he performed a medley of Michael hits at Project Angel Food’s Angel Awards gala in Hollywood.
“I mean, George Michael was like a God-gifted voice from the heavens. It’s such a treat to sing for you guys and to bring these songs to life right now,” Lambert told guests at the event, which honored Michael’s incredible but often unpublicized charitable efforts. “George was amazing. He raised half a million dollars for this organization since 1989, and he is such an inspiration, both as a philanthropist and as an artist.”
Lambert opened his mini-set with a fun and spirited “Faith,” a song he’d previously performed on the ABC variety show Greatest Hits, then stunned with his vocal acrobatics on an epic “One More Try.” But his most remarkable and touching performance came at the end, when he acknowledged both Michael’s and Mercury’s legacies with “Somebody to Love.” (Michael’s rehearsal of the power ballad at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert — with an impressed David Bowie watching from the Wembley Stadium stage wings — went viral last December following Michael’s death.)
“Actually, round circle here is that [Michael] recorded this song for the Freddie Mercury tribute [in 1992] after Freddie had passed. And the song became a huge hit. So I’m going to connect the circle,” Lambert explained respectfully.
The Angel Awards celebrated Michael’s philanthropy with a posthumous Elizabeth Taylor Humanitarian Award, which was presented by Michael’s former longtime partner, Kenny Goss. Michael worked with Goss in the kitchen at Project Angel Food, which delivers 10,000 healthy meals a week to people battling critical illness, and made an unsolicited $25,000 donation to the organization when it was struggling to make payroll during the AIDS epidemic in 1993. Michael donated that same amount to Project Angel Food every year until his tragic death at age 53.
“There’s been a lot said about George since he died, but I’d love for his legacy to be his music and his generosity. I often talk to George, and I’d like to say, ‘I love you, darling, and I hope you’re proud,’” Goss said in a short but sweet speech introducing Michael’s presentation. Actress Sharon Lawrence also read an acceptance speech written by Michael’s older sisters, Yioda and Melanie. Then, at Michael’s family’s request, his award was accepted by a Project Angel Food client: Greg Shore, clutching the trophy, tearfully told the audience, “It’s no cliché that I owe my life to Project Angel Food and all of you. … There haven’t been many perks to this last two and half years, but Project Angel Food and all of you people have certainly been one.”
Other presenters and attendees at Project Angel Food’s Angel Awards included Carson Kressley, Cheryl Tiegs, Hal Sparks, and Aaron Carter, who showed up in a fluffy fun-fur coat and goofed around with Lambert on the red carpet.
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“Project Angel Food is about no judgment, acceptance, and love,” Carter said. “The people they serve are often alone, forgotten, and invisible. But just remember one thing: Project Angel Food never forgets and is always there.”
Watch the entire George Michael presentation below: