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Reflecting on James Corden’s success "Carpool Karaoke"

LOS ANGELES — With the final episode of “The Late Late Show with James Corden” airing Thursday night after a successful eight-year run, the British entertainer opened up about what has become one of the most iconic sketches in late night television history.

Corden debuted “Carpool Karaoke” in March 2015 and it was an instant hit.

“I was like, ‘This is bulletproof, this will work as a segment, I know it will,'” Corden told CBS News.

The first episode, featuring Mariah Carey and Corden driving around Los Angeles, has garnered over 36 million views on YouTube.

“Mariah Carey came out of the house and said to me, ‘I’m not singing today, I’ve been up all night,'” Corden said. “And you see me in the car, ‘like let’s go’.”

Corden said he knew it was working when he got the call from the White House.

“Michelle Obama, you know, has her team calling the office right away saying, ‘The first lady really wants to do a ‘carpool karaoke,'” Corden said. “And you’re like, ‘I guess it’s working.'”

First Lady Michelle Obama joins James Corden for carpool karaoke on “The Late Late Show with James Corden” in July 2016

CBS Television Network

Corden’s 2016 song with Adele has over 260 million views on YouTube. And in 2018, he took “carpool karaoke” from overseas to England by driving through the streets of Liverpool with Sir Paul McCartney. The episode was emotional, with McCartney giving Corden a tour of his childhood home.

Speaking to “60 Minutes” in 2020, Corden described What he thinks is the key to “Carpool Karaoke” becoming such a hit.

“There’s a common thread… this is all about showing a human being inside this very, very famous person. That’s what it really is,” Corden said at the time. “The point of it is the intimacy of the interview. That these are some of the most famous people in the world. You know, the biggest singers in the world, and they’re in an environment that’s completely human.”

This week, Corden aired his final “Carpool Karaoke,” fittingly with Adele. This time though, Corden was finally riding shotgun.

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