‘Carpool Karaoke’: How James Corden Came Up With It – You’ll Be Surprised At Who His First Guest Was

James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke by now is a fixture on late-night TV, specifically on The Late, Late Show with James Corden. The fun segment on the evening show always surprises viewers with who exactly will be popping into that passenger seat to sing along with Corden.

James Corden
James Corden | Liu Guanguan/China News Service/VCG via Getty Images

Find out what inspired the actor and host to come up with the idea for Carpool Karaoke, plus you’ll be surprised to know who was the very first guest to grace Corden’s car.

How James Corden created ‘Carpool Karaoke’

Appearing on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert in 2016, Corden explained how the show segment came about and who his first ‘fare’ was.

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Celine Dion joins James Corden for ‘Carpool Karaoke’

“I wrote a sitcom for the BBC called Gavin & Stacey; it did really well and my character from that was quite popular, so there’s a huge thing called ‘Comic Relief,’ it’s a massive charity that raises millions and millions of dollars for people who desperately need it. The trade-off is, ‘we’ll give [viewers] some comedy and [they] watch the show and donate some money.'”

The 41-year-old told Colbert that in planning out their sketches for Comic Relief, the idea for Carpool Karaoke was born, and the first celebrity guest was chosen.

George Michael was his first celebrity guest

“So my character had done a few sketches that were quite popular,” Corden continued in his conversation with Colbert, “and we were coming up with a new one, and my original idea was to pick George Michael up from prison… But then we realized, there’s still some fun for me and George to be in the car and we’ll sing some Wham! songs, Wake Me Up Before You Go Go, and all. There was something just very joyful about it.”

Corden told Colbert how the idea for the actual Carpool Karaoke grew from there once he began his late-night show. “Los Angeles, traffic, carpool lanes, driving people in a car, singing songs, [I thought] ‘Great, people are going to love it’…but no one wanted to do it.”

Once Mariah Carey heard that George Michael had joined Corden, she was all for it, and after that, more and more celebrities hopped in.

The stars in Corden’s cars

Carpool Karaoke has seen many guests enter the passenger-side of James Corden’s vehicles, including Bruno Mars, Madonna, Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, Selena Gomez, Adele, former First Lady Michelle Obama and Missy Elliott, Demi Lovato, Nick Jonas, Stevie Wonder, and so many others.

Corden spoke to the Los Angeles Times in June 2019 about Paul McCartney’s appearance in the Carpool. “Like, what makes a good interview? Seeing a side of someone that you hadn’t perhaps seen before. Finding something out that you didn’t know.”

“I feel like that whole experience with Paul was so uplifting. It was joyous. It was moving. I thought it could be good. I didn’t think it would move people in the manner that it did. Like, we did it, nine, ten months ago. There genuinely hasn’t been a day where somebody hasn’t mentioned it to me.”

Read more: The Real Reason James Corden Refuses to Do a ‘Cats’-Style ‘Carpool Karaoke’