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James Corden Pays Tribute To George Michael For Inspiring ‘Carpool Karaoke’

‘I’ve loved George Michael as long as I’ve loved music’

"Carpool Karaoke" has become a staple of The Late Late Show over the past few years, and James Corden never would have thought of it if it weren't for George Michael.

In an emotional tribute to the late singer, who died on Christmas Day, Corden recalled how he recruited Michael for a charity sketch years before ever hopping in a car with Britney Spears, Madonna, or Adele. The bit featured the two personalities getting into a fight while driving, then making up via song as soon as one of Wham!'s hits came on the radio.

"It was the first time I'd ever sung in a car with anybody," Corden said. "It's become quite a big part of my life now, and he really inspired it."

In fact, Corden ended up using the clip as a kind of pilot for "Carpool Karaoke." When he was inviting singers onto The Late Late Show for the new sketch, he showed them the footage of himself and Michael jamming to "I'm Your Man." Though plenty of artists passed on the soon-to-be phenomenon, the demo impressed Mariah Carey, who said, "If it's good enough for George, it's good enough for me."

Among his many other wonderful contributions to pop culture, George Michael was also the godfather of Corden's most popular segment.