Adam Lambert Explains Why Judging New Show 'Clash of the Cover Bands' Was a 'Trippy' Experience

"We had people that literally looked exactly like who they were embodying... it was just uncanny," Lambert says of the reality competition show's contestants

Adam Lambert
Adam Lambert. Photo: Tommy Garcia/E!

Adam Lambert had quite the surreal experience while judging the new series, Clash of the Cover Bands.

With the premiere of the reality competition singing show just a few days away, Lambert, 39, is opening up to PEOPLE about what it was like judging the array of talented contestants.

"We have people up there that have been doing this for a long time, that are professional or semi-professional impersonators and tribute acts," says the singer. "It's unbelievable the amount of talent that we saw."

"They look like them, sound like them, they're behaving like them, they're moving like them," Lambert continues. "You feel like you're actually watching that artist. We had people that literally looked exactly like who they were embodying. It was just uncanny."

"It's a real art... I think the thing that we all decided is that [the performance] is sort of about illusion," he adds. "It's beyond just the singing. It's a whole extra piece of entertainment."

Clash of the Cover Bands
Clash of the Cover Bands. E! Entertainment

Lambert will be joined by Meghan Trainor and Ester Dean as the celebrity judges for the new series, which premieres Oct. 13 on E!.

Stephen "tWitch" Boss is set to host, while the show, executive produced by Jimmy Fallon, will also feature panel experts Kuk Harrell and Ray Leeper. One winner will take home $25,000 and an appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.

Though there have been many reality competition shows on television to date, Lambert says Clash of the Cover Bands is nothing like them.

"I haven't seen one yet that has people impersonating their favorite artists," he explains. "We've all seen our reality competition singing shows before, but this one really just feels different. It's really kind of a party... We had so much fun filming it."

"We got to see all different genres and decades, which was also fun," Lambert continues, noting that the impersonations varied from Elton John to U2. "It really runs the gamut of different styles of music, so I think everyone will really enjoy it."

His experience on the show was also enjoyable because of his past competing on American Idol. Despite the differences between the two series, Lambert says he was able to use his Idol experience to help him offer better feedback to the contestants.

"The shows are not quite the same, but you're getting up on stage in front of a panel, and performing your heart out, and asking them to tell you what they thought," he explains. "I always try to keep that in mind when I'm talking to different acts because you've got to be sensitive. You've got to be helpful and constructive."

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Serving as a judge on Clash of the Cover Bands is just the latest endeavor in Lambert's busy life.

The singer recently performed at the Global Citizen Festival on Sept. 25 in Los Angeles and is set to hold a six-show limited engagement in Las Vegas at the end of the month.

Lambert also recently appeared as The Devil in Netflix's new animated series, A Tale Dark and Grim, which premiered on the streaming service on Oct. 8.

"October is going to be a really fun month. I'm gearing up and getting very excited," he says. "The end of October is my favorite holiday and I'm definitely in the festive spirit for the show, so I hope fans are too."

As for whether a permanent Vegas residency is on his radar down the line?

"It didn't really cross my mind yet but if it was something that worked out, that would be really cool. It's a great opportunity to perform and be close to home [in L.A.]," he says. "If they came a-calling, I would say, sure!"

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