James Corden returned to CBS’s “Late Late Show” on Tuesday following a holiday hiatus and quickly got to the business of honoring George Michael, who died on Christmas.
“I feel like I’ve loved George Michael as long as I’ve loved music,” the host said. “And I know many of his fans feel the same. I could remember so many specific times in my life where I might have felt on my own and George’s music would feel like you would listen to a song and he’d reach his hand out and tell you you weren’t on your own.”
Corden then revealed how Michael not only appeared in what would be an early version of his viral celebrity singing segment, “Carpool Karaoke,” but also helped usher in the later segment’s first big star, Mariah Carey.
In 2011, Corden appeared in a sketch with Michael for the British charity Comic Relief. It featured the pair rushing in a car to save Red Nose Day, an annual day dedicated to raising funds and awareness of the charity. To cheer up Michael, Corden turns on the radio and coaxes the pop singer to sing along with him.
When the “Late Late Show” first decided to do Carpool Karoake, many stars were reticent to sign up. Corden said that he sent the video with Michael to Mariah Carey in order to give her an idea of what the segment would be like.
“Her words were, ‘If it’s good enough for George, then it’s good enough for me. I’ll do it,'” Corden recalled of how Carey became the first star to do “Carpool Karoake.”
Watch Corden’s tribute to George Michael below: