How James Corden Really Feels About Carpool Karaoke's Rocky Start

In the years since its debut, James Corden's "Carpool Karaoke" has become widely popular. However, it wasn't always so well-received — especially by publicists. In a 2018 People interview, the late night talk show host shared that the idea actually came from a 2011 "Comic Relief" sketch he was involved in where George Michael was singing Wham! songs while being driven to a meeting. Since it was so well-received, Corden decided to give the idea a go with his own talk show. "When you're putting together a show like this, you're searching for the tentpoles that might prop up your show," he told the outlet. And so Corden and his team ran with the idea.

Since then, the segment has become a "phenomenon," per The Guardian. Corden has driven his car around Los Angeles with some of the biggest Hollywood stars, including Adele, Cardi B, One Direction, and even former first lady Michelle Obama. Each video has raked in millions of views on YouTube. Given the segment's success, it's no surprise that others have since made their own version.

While publicists were surely clamoring to get their celebrity clients on "Carpool Karaoke" at the segment's peak, that wasn't always the case. In fact, during a November 2022 episode of "Hot Ones," Corden revealed that initially, he didn't have the easiest time booking guests.

James Corden's goal for the segment was to 'humanize' celebrities

In a 2021 sit-down with "60 Minutes," James Corden discussed the success of his "Carpool Karaoke" segment, and shared that one of his most memorable experiences is being able to film the popular segment with Paul McCartney. "The core of it really isn't the songs," he said on "60 Minutes," adding, "The core of it is the intimacy of the interview. That these are some of the most famous people on Planet Earth."

The late night talk show host explained a little bit more about the concept during a November 2022 "Hot Ones" episode, touching on what he believes some people — publicists, in particular — might have disregarded when he originally pitched the idea."There's something about taking someone and placing them completely on their own, in an environment that's so recognizable to us," he said. Corden added, "We sing our lung out in the car and seeing someone doing something in the very same way that we do it I think is quite humanizing." And it's that humanization factor that's seemingly contributed to the segment's success.

Corden has found ways to reach that goal of humanizing the celebrities he's with even more by making some fun pit stops. In the Selena Gomez episode, the two are seen riding a rollercoaster and going to McDonalds. And in the Ariana Grande episode, the comedian and the singer are seen going to Starbucks.