American Idol, Adam Lambert

Ray Mickshaw / FOX

Adam Lambert is like a modern-day Braveheart.

American Idol and 19 Entertainment may be putting out his debut album, but they're not taking his creative freedom—or so he claims.

"I think there's a little bit of a misconception out in the public that people that come out of American Idol are puppetted and kind of controlled," he tells E! News exclusively. "That hasn't been my experience one bit. They've been completely supportive and collaborative with me and all the powers that be are really trying to facilitate my artistic vision."

In addition to working with A-list producers RedOne (Sean Kingston's "Fire Burning"), Linda Perry (Christina Aguilera's "Keeps Getting' Better") and Ryan Tedder (the man behind the controversial Beyoncé and Kelly Clarkson tracks), Lambert is writing some of his own stuff.

"For a handful of these songs, I've gotten to write on them," he says. "So I really feel I've gotten to inject a lot of this music on the album with my own personal vocal stylings and my own lyrical content. A lot of it talks about stuff I really care about and that I find interesting, so that feels really good."

In addition to his excitement about his album's debut on Nov. 24, Lambert can't wait to see Ellen DeGeneres take a on a certain verbose judge come January…

"I can't wait to see her banter with Simon [Cowell]," the season eight runner-up admits. "I think she'll give him a hard time. I hope she does."

While the funnylady doesn't have the music industry chops as Paula Abdul or the rest of the panel, the former contestant believes she'll bring the "everyman's perspective" to the judging table.

"She's obviously a fan of the show and she's been in the entertainment industry for a long time, so, strictly from an entertainment aspect, I think she'll provide a lot of great insight and really speak for the people that watch the show that aren't all that well versed in the music industry and in music," he explains. "I think it's good in that regard."

Speaking of good, Lambert may dream big—his song, "Time for Miracles," for the 2012 soundtrack may be Academy Award-eligible, which "would be wild"—but he's giving back even bigger.

Four weeks ago, the star began to campaign his fans to stop sending him gifts and contribute to online education charity instead. The results are nothing short of impressive.

Nearly 2,000 people have raised more than $229,000 and counting. The money has gone directly to public school classrooms nationwide.

"I was getting a lot of gifts from fans while I was on the show and it was really sweet and felt very supportive and I enjoyed that," he explains. "But then I started feeling guilty. I was like, I'm in a very fortunate position right now and I don't want these people spending their money on me. I just want them to enjoy the music. So I wanted to find a way to kind of redirect that financial energy."

The star used his official site, Facebook and Twitter to challenge different fan groups to compete to raise the most funds. Through DonorsChoose, fans select the exact arts-related educational projects to support.

"I think that it's great to know exactly where your money's going," Lambert says. "With public schools, the arts programs are some of the first budget cuts that are made typically. There's not a lot of money going around those programs and I feel like, as a student of the arts, school and some outside activities really shaped me into who I am today. I wanted to give back to that cause."


Lambert joins these esteemed Do-Gooders.

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