Does James actually drive while filming? How long does it take to film an episode that gets trimmed to 15 minutes? Who was James’ favorite guest? These questions and many more will be answered as we look at some shocking “Carpool Karaoke” facts.
Can James Really Drive?
It’s easy to assume that James isn’t actually driving when he hosts “Carpool Karaoke”, but he definitely is! When it all began, it was a simple segment on The Late Late Show that was meant to be stripped down and natural, so the camera setups are minimal and James actually does the driving as he appears to do.
How It All Began
The late George Michael helped “Carpool Karaoke” become what it is today. It was back in 2011 that George and James got together to do the original “Carpool Karaoke” skit for a U.K. charity event, and afterward James saw the potential in the segment as an ongoing thing. The rest, as they say, is history.
Take The Heat
You might remember that Nick Jonas and Demi Lovato were a part of one “Carpool Karaoke” installment. Afterward, Nick said that it can be challenging filming “Carpool Karaoke” on a warm day, because the car can’t really run the air conditioner. Doing so would interfere with the sound recording, after all.
When filming “Carpool Karaoke” segments, James has a convoy that would make some former presidents jealous. Two cars drive ahead of him and another three behind, although they are there as much to carve out a safe route for James as to actually provide security. Of course, James also drives along some pretty docile routes to keep things nice and easy behind the wheel.
Living Up To Her Reputation
Mariah Carey is one of a long line of divas in the R&B and pop music worlds, and she lived up to her reputation when she showed up for a segment and initially didn’t want to sing. She said she had a long night the day before, but eventually, James and the other producers were able to convince her to flex her famous pipes in the car.
The most-viewed installment featured Adele, who had so much fun that she spent a total of three hours riding around with James. The video has over 142 million views and was credited with helping to make “Carpool Karaoke” the viral smash hit that it is now recognized as. And unlike Mariah Carey, there were no excuses about not wanting to sing, either!
With all of the “Carpool Karaoke” segments that have been filmed and the many songs James has sung, you might wonder if he ever has trouble remembering lyrics. He says he doesn’t, and he adds that for some reason, his brain is pretty good at remembering lyrics. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that he listens to a lot of music and is a fan of the artists that appear, either.
Although Mariah may have provided a few difficulties, she also deserves props for being one of the first A-list singers to appear on the segment. “f you imagine an artist — just think of any artist in the world — they said no to it,” James said of the early days of the segment. “I mean, everyone. I’m talking, like, who’s the dudes who did Cotton Eye Joe? We were in those sorts of territories.”
Ready To Improvise
One reason people love “Carpool Karaoke” is how authentic and unrehearsed it feels. That is no gimmick either, according to Christina Aguilera. “Everything you see us saying and doing in the car, none of that’s rehearsed,” Christina said. “We did know what songs we would sing, for the most part, but we hadn’t actually sung them together until we were in James Corden’s car.”
A Different Type Of Star
Most of the time, “Carpool Karaoke” guests are musicians and singers. However, this wasn’t the case when Michelle Obama was the guest. She actually requested to participate so she could sing a song for “Let Girls Learn,” a new initiative that she was trying to generate awareness for. That was definitely a first, James said.
Cuts Like A Knife
We mentioned earlier that guests weren’t always clamoring to be on “Carpool Karaoke”. In fact, one rocker had second thoughts after arriving on the set. He was tapped to be on an 80s-themed compilation instead of a feature segment all his own, and decided to skip out at the last minute when he saw the other artists that were involved. Total diva moment.
Third Time’s A Charm?
At this point, the list of stars that James Corden has been unable to get on “Carpool Karaoke” is getting pretty short. However, Kanye West has been tapped twice to appear and canceled both times. James said that Kanye genuinely seemed interested and was bummed to cancel on both occasions, so maybe the third time will be the one.
Picking A Favorite
It’s admittedly hard for James Corden to pick a “Carpool Karaoke” favorite since he’s had so many huge stars on the segment. However, he did say that Bruno Mars was his most fun filming, partner. “In terms of the one I’ve enjoyed doing the most, I think it was probably Bruno,” James said. “Like, I really, I got a bit depressed afterward, because I’d been looking forward to it for so long and I’m such a fan.”
Earning A Raise
Doing The Late Late Show makes it hard to attract big ratings, so James had one of the lower salaries in late night for a while, but “Carpool Karaoke” has changed that, thanks in large part to internet views. He made $4 million in 2017 and his net worth has been estimated this year at $12 million.
Gotta Get Beyonce
Other than Kanye West, there’s another big name that James Corden said he would love to feature on “Carpool Karaoke”: Beyonce herself. “It would break the internet,” James gushed. “She’s on tour right now. We’re working on it.” He sounds hopeful, so we’ll go ahead and keep our fingers crossed that it will eventually happen.
James Corden is pretty funny and can carry a tune well, but did you know he was an accomplished stage performer? He even won a Tony Award for playing Francis Henshall in the show One Man, Two Guvnors from 2011 to 2012. He has also done other film and theater roles over the years, believe it or not.
Sometimes, when you’re driving around with a friend, you get really comfortable and start to share some secrets. This has even happened with James’ filming partners. Most notably, Madonna spilled the beans about a hookup with Michael Jackson during the 1980s. “Baby, I’ve been around,” she laughed, describing Michael as “a willing accomplice.” Wow.
James Corden was understandably excited to finally have Elton John on the segment, and they decided to do it on a special Super Bowl installment. Despite Elton’s legendary career, the segment was actually the least-viewed installment online, having racked up just 14 million views. That’s still a lot, but compared to Adele’s total? Not so much.
Sometimes, James Corden’s guests will reveal surprising talents outside of music. This was the case when James handed Justin Bieber a Rubik’s Cube while driving around. Bieber went on to solve the puzzle in less than a minute. Maybe that’s one reason why that segment has been viewed online 134 million times.
There’s a lot of banter and jokes in between songs on “Carpool Karaoke”, and one of the most memorable moments came when James snatched J.Lo’s phone and texted Leonardo DiCaprio, of all people. “I’m kind of feeling like I need to cut loose. Any suggestions, let me know,” Corden wrote as J.Lo. DiCaprio texted back, “You mean tonight, boo boo? Club wise?”
Everyone’s A Fan
Even among the more prickly celebs out there, James Corden is pretty well liked due to his outgoing, fun personality. One surprise was when Anna Wintour listed James as her favorite comedian during an interview with Vogue. Considering her demeanor, this was definitely quite a surprise to many readers of the magazine.
The Most Famous “Carpool Karaoke”
In the segment’s most famous installment, Adele is featured. James said he thought someone was pranking him when she answered his email. During the filming, someone in one of the escort vehicles behind James began to cry when watching the live feed of them singing “Someone Like You.” “She’s as wonderful as you would hope she would be,” James said of the singer.
Along with the Adele, George Michael, and Mariah Carey episodes, the Stevie Wonder segment was huge for James Corden. Why? Because after “Carpool Karaoke,” an album Stevie recorded in 2002 shot to #1 in the U.K. and Europe. Labels saw this and immediately started trying to book their artists to be featured next.
James strayed away from his normal routes to take a road trip of sorts with Paul McCartney in a recent installment. They drove around Liverpool and went to Penny Lane, making a visit to the salon that’s mentioned in the song. Of course, Paul also made people’s day by surprising them in a pub to sing some of his biggest songs.
Madonna was certainly on form when she appeared in “Carpool Karaoke.” She did everything from twerking to showing off her flexibility and admitting she used to fantasize about being a nun. She also ripped on James’ wardrobe and of course, sang along to a number of her many classic songs from the last 35 years.
A Little Gossip
Although the songs and fun banter are great, sometimes the gossip is what makes “Carpool Karaoke” so memorable. This was the case with Elton John, who definitely delivered the goods. He said in particular that “Arlene Phillips said I was the worst dancer she ever worked with…bitch.” It was certainly a great segment.
Hard To Narrow Down
Although extended versions of many installments of “Carpool Karaoke” are available online, there’s still some editing that needs to be done. Corden said that this can be difficult, especially when there “are always some amazing, amazing bits in there.” However, he’s dedicated to trimming each one down to the best possible 14 or 15 minutes.
Take That’s Review
The band Take That revealed that James Corden’s production for “Carpool Karaoke” has really grown since it began. “As soon as you get in the car you’ve got 30, 40 cameras pointing at you from different angles,” they said. “You have to be sitting in a certain position. There’s a crew of about 25 people.”
Fun Times With Ed
Ed Sheeran provided some real highlights during his appearance with James. Not only did he sing and play some guitar during their ride together, but they also did some rather strange challenges, such as when Sheeran amazed James by shoving 55 Maltesers in his mouth at a single time. That’s pretty impressive, though kinda gross.
Performers love to share their experiences from the behind the scenes filming of “Carpool Karaoke.” Said Jane Krakowski, “Everything you see us saying and doing in the car, none of that’s rehearsed. We hadn’t actually sung them together until we were in James Corden’s car.” She also said that her filming session took just an hour and a half.
Just Another Day
James always works hard to put his “Carpool Karaoke” guests at ease. He knows that the segment’s success is almost entirely owed to the authenticity that it seems to provide. “There’s just a very humanizing quality to it, which is all anybody wants to see, really,” he said. He always wants the stars to open up, relax, and be themselves.
A Total Fanboy
James also says that one of the things that makes “Carpool Karaoke” work is that he’s genuinely a fan of the artists he interacts with. He said that he wouldn’t want to film with someone whose music he doesn’t enjoy, so it’s a good thing that he seems to like just about everything. “I feel lucky to spend any time with these people,” he said.
Full Of Surprises
Non-country music fans probably weren’t that stoked for Carrie Underwood’s appearance, but she really revealed a lot during the segment. For instance, she revealed that she spends thousands for the vests she wears on stage, she loves the band Wham!, and she’s into hockey players. We also saw that James could hold a note longer than her!
Fun Times With Jason Derulo
Another fun guest on “Carpool Karaoke” was Jason Derulo. Jason and James had a great time during the segment, while Derulo revealed all kinds of interesting tidbits, such as how he can sing opera even when hung over and how he once performed an impromptu song on top of a star tour bus.
Another Great Show
One of the best things about “Carpool Karaoke” is that even if you aren’t a huge fan of the artist, each segment ends up turning out great. This was the case with Iggy Azalea, who was a lot of fun and ended up showing a different side of herself during her appearance. She even went wedding dress shopping with James.
Headed In The Right Direction
Another segment that showed that James had “Carpool Karaoke” headed in the right direction was the appearance of the band One Direction. Not only did James do some impressive singing, but he got the boys to let loose a little bit and have some fun. It was good to see a different side of the group in a fun environment.
A Little PR
Savvy stars know that doing something like “Carpool Karaoke” is a good way to get some much-needed positive PR at certain times. After Justin Bieber had some personal troubles, he made a second appearance on the show, talking about everything from clothes swapping to “shrinkage” while singing along to everything from Boyz II Men to Alanis Morissette.
A Little Of Everything
When you have a long-time star like Rod Stewart on “Carpool Karaoke,” you’re going to have a lot of fun. They sang all kinds of classics together, played some air guitar, and even picked up A$AP Rocky for an unexpected backseat cameo! It definitely was an installment that fans won’t soon be forgetting.
Ready To Rock
One time when James was very intimidated was when he was joined by metal legends Metallica. However, it turned out to be one of James’ favorite shows as he found out that the formerly wild rockers have matured into some rather cool dads. “I was very nervous about it because it’s Metallica and we don’t have a lot of overlap,” he said at first.
Since that first experiment with George Michael, “Carpool Karaoke” has evolved to become quite the production. There are now dozens of cameras that are no bigger than a penny, all of which help to capture the footage without distracting the performers. Sometimes the performances last up to three hours, even though they’re edited to just 15 minutes or so.