Top artists including Justin Bieber, Stevie Wonder, Lin-Manuel Miranda of “Hamilton” and more have joined the British host for the car jam session that has become a highlight of his late night talk show. But convincing stars to join in was a challenge at first.
“No one would do it,” Corden told “CBS This Morning” Tuesday. “Well, we thought we’ve got a really good idea here and we’d bring people and go, ‘So it’s really straightforward, it’s an hour of your time and we’re going to sing songs in the car.’ And they mostly go, ‘Who is this?’ And we go, ‘It’s James Corden.'”
That’s because the British talk show host was an unfamiliar face in America. But he somehow managed to convince pop diva Mariah Carey to be his first guest.
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“It was a very chance meeting (with) someone from Mariah Carey’s record label and credit to Mariah Carey for saying, ‘I don’t know who this guys is but I’ll let him drive me around for an hour,'” Corden recalled.
Now just a little over a year since launching “The Late Late Show with James Corden,” Corden has proven that he has no trouble finding laughs and an audience.
The Carpool Karaoke clips have also scored millions of views online. Corden’s ride with Adele ranks as the most viewed late night clip on YouTube, with over 107 million views. Corden attributes his success in part to his British background.
“I think I feel lucky that I didn’t grow up here,” Corden said. “So my influences are people whose names which don’t mean almost anything to a lot of the viewers – people like Graham Norton or Chris Evans or Michael Parkinson – and they were the people that I grew up watching so they would be the greatest source of influences on us.”
Now, Corden will showcase his humor, singing and dancing as the host of the 70th Annual Tony Awards. Corden is a Tony winner himself – he was awarded Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play in 2012 for his performance in “One Man, Two Guvnors.”
“I’m terrified of falling over, I’m terrified of forgetting my words,” Corden said. “They couldn’t find a host to whom it means more. I had the best times of my life working in those 10 or 12 blocks of that city, you know, and then to go back and be a part of it… it’s not lost on me how lucky I am.”
The 70th Annual Tony Awards will be broadcast live from the Beacon Theatre in New York City Sunday, June 12 at 8:00 p.m. ET on CBS.