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Adam Lambert on Getting Jackson News: "Everybody Just Stopped"

June 30, 2009 4:40 PM ET

As tributes to Michael Jackson pour into Rolling Stone — be sure to keep an eye out for our special issue, out next week — recent cover star Adam Lambert shared his memories of dancing around his parents' house, lip-synching to "Beat It." His early childhood was also heavy on "Thriller" (he cites his love of Halloween as a major reason). Lambert also revealed that "Rock With You" was his first American Idol audition song, which impressed one judge in particular: "Paula was really grooving out to it."

Last Thursday, Lambert was at rehearsals for the American Idols Live tour, where early in the day he spoke with Rolling Stone and revealed the David Bowie songs that made his set list and other plans for the jaunt, which launches July 5th in Portland. In the afternoon, "I was singing 'Whole Lotta Love' and Lil Rounds ran into the room and whispered something into the producer's ear. And we were all like, 'What's going on?' " Lambert says. "I kept singing and looked over at them with a confused look on my face and one of the producers mouthed to me, 'Michael Jackson just died.' I went, 'What?' and stopped singing. Everybody just stopped."

Lambert says Idol rehearsals were canceled for the rest of the day, and the Season Eight crew took pains to avoid any negative press about the King of Pop as they digested the news. "What he was capable of as a showman, and what he brought to the world, outshone any of that," he says. (Get all our essential Adam Lambert coverage — photos, video and more — here.)

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