Maybe it’s just an invalid perception. Or maybe a glance the wrong way. But the American Idol question that begs to be answered: Whatever happened to Adam Lambert?

Oh, yes, he will perform on July 2nd at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.

Yes, he is working on a new record.

Yes, he performed in last week’s Idol finale with Final 3 contestant Angie Miller.

But since his second-place finish four years ago (and what a joke that was) in Season 8, he has all but disappeared from mainstream Americana music. So where did this enormously talented San Diegan go?

Try around the world. That’s what he said at a press conference last week.

“I’ve been doing a lot, lot of traveling since Idol,” Lambert said. “Now we are working on a new album but I can’t say anything about that. I got in trouble before when I talked about it. I’ve pretty much been around the world. Spent a lot of time in Asia and Scandinavia. I got to play with Queen and that was such an inspiration.

“Queen was awesome. I was flattered and terrified at the same time. I know that no one compares to Freddy Mercury, but they all made me feel so at ease. I had a blast.

“We are still in touch. Brian (May) and Roger (Taylor) email me and we say hello. We left everything open. Who knows, something could happen (between Lambert and Queen) in the future.”

But Lambert is still very aware that it was his Idol journey that launched a successful, albeit limited in the U.S., career. And finishing second still doesn’t seem to bother him.

“When it gets down to the final few … it doesn’t matter who wins. For the final three for sure it’s all about launching your career. See, everyone knows who Kree Harrison is now.

“American Idol is a lot like a boot camp. You are working fast, getting ideas out, learning how to do commercials, learning how to do interviews, working on-stage in front of a big audience, conquering your nerves. The whole Idol experience does a really good job with all of that. It sets you up for a lot.”

The stage is also Lambert’s other love. Is that a career option for him?

“I’m going back to New York in a couple of weeks just to see a couple of friends’ plays. Would I like to work on Broadway? Of course, if the right role came along. It would have to be something edgy, weird and out there.”

After a dozen seasons, Idol seems to be in a state of flux with dwindling ratings and a judges’ panel that wasn’t universally received this year. Would Lambert ever consider being a judge himself?

“I don’t know,” he said, but if they called me … like where do I sign?” he laughed. “It would be really cool to help people to keep their vision focused. You have to realize you have family, judges, producers and the other contestants screwing with your head. It would be inspiring to help get them to reach their dreams.”

And just maybe, as a judge, Lambert could reconnect with the music public back in the U.S.