James Corden’s last The Late Late Show episode will air on April 27. The British comedian, who has been hosting the CBS network talk show since 2015, announced he would be stepping down in April last year.
“I never want this show to overstay its welcome in any way, I always want to love making it and I really think in a year from now that will be a good time to move on and see what else might be out there,” he said, adding that leaving was “the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make”.
But Corden’s exit also means no more Carpool Karaoke, a sad thing indeed. The premise of the late-night talk show segment is simple: Corden picks up a major musical celebrity – previous guests include Niall Horan, Celine Dion, Michael Bublé, Justin Beiber and Iggy Azalea – and drives them about as if it’s a carpool. They play songs – usually belonging to the artist, but sometimes playing other hits – and have a hearty sing-song.
The set up of the show doesn’t necessarily sound hilarious, but it really is. Maybe it’s the awkward seating position, Corden’s affable disposition, or the sight of seeing usually untouchable musicians larking about, shouting out the lyrics to their own songs? Whatever it is, the arrangement worked, and the segments regularly went viral.
To celebrate – and mourn – the end of everyone’s favourite sing-song show, here are our biggest and best moments of James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke.
Michelle Obama and Missy Elliott
A simply awe-inspiring combination. No one is cooler than Michelle Obama and Corden must have pondered how to rise to this challenge. He did a great job – bringing legend Missy Elliot to ride out in the last quarter of the 15-minute clip. The best moment has to be when all three celebs start having an absolute blast to Get Your Freak On.
Cardi B and James Corden are from different universes, and that’s what makes this drive so good. Cardi is, as usual, excruciatingly honest about her grind to the top, while James, despite all the Hollywood success, is still from Buckinghamshire. There are some literally laugh out loud moments, such as when Cardi uses her water bottle as a microphone, winding down her window to shout at the cars driving by.
Rod Stewart and A$AP Rocky
Shortly after the release of A$AP Rocky’s song Everyday featuring Rod Stewart, Late Late Show viewers were treated to the seemingly odd duo on Carpool Karaoke. The clip begins with British favourite Rod, who is as laidback and charming as ever, but then the scene gets even better when A$AP pops up to rap his verse.
Madonna’s carpool is on this list purely for the opening song sequence: there’s Madonna’s Vogue on the radio and both the singer and Corden go hard at posing at each “strike a pose” command. The good vibes are infectious.
Adele’s 2016 drive with Corden has racked up 261 million views, making it the most viewed Carpool Karaoke clip ever. And it’s clear why. Not only is Adele her usual genial self, but she properly belts out her songs too. Then she raps Nicki Minaj’s verse from Monster – iconic.
Billie’s carpool is by far the most wholesome of the bunch. She’s still just 18 years old here and seems like it in the clip – probably a combination of her earnestness and enthusiasm for every song James plays. Anyway, it’s lovely to see the talent enjoying herself so much. She leans back in her chair, ricochets back and forth in her seat, and plays the ukulele. The best bit is when the duo make a stop off at Billie’s childhood home to check out her tarantula. When he’s holding the giant spider she disappears, leaving the chat host quaking.
Gwen Stefani, George Clooney & Julia Roberts
There is surely no bigger superstar carpool moment than when George Clooney and Julia Roberts popped in for a brief cameo during Gwen Stefani’s drive. And who would have thought they would ever witness the illustrious actors rapping along to Hollaback Girl? It was a surreal treat.
Back in the days before the end of her conservatorship, Britney graced our screens on carpool karaoke. The pop star was sweet and hilarious and for Britney fans, there was literally nothing better than seeing the artist sing along to her smash hits. Now that her conservatorship has ended, a round two, of a freer, happier Britney would be most welcome.
Adele, round two
For the last ever episode of Carpool Karaoke, Adele surprises a fast asleep James Corden, sneaking into his bedroom and waking him up with the crash of two cymbals. They then go for a drive and, needless to say, it’s an emotional affair. There are flashbacks to some of the duo’s best moments together from the show, and, as with the viral original, they both belt out the tunes, including Adele’s 2021’s tracks I Drink Wine and Love Is A Game.