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James Corden Pays Tribute to George Michael, First Carpool Karaoke Guest

British comic James Corden made quite a splash in American popular culture since taking over hosting duties on CBS’ The Late, Late Show in 2015, and it mostly has to do with his recurring Carpool Karaoke segment, which has become a sensation on social media. If you’ve been living under a rock and have never seen a segment, on Carpool Karaoke, Corden drives around with a famous singer, and the two sing along to one of the singer’s hits, with a fair share of banter in between songs. Guests in Corden’s passenger seat have been names like Adele, Mariah Carey, Justin Bieber, Madonna, and most famously, First Lady Michelle Obama with Missy Elliott.

But none of it would have happened if singer George Michael—who sadly passed away on Christmas day—had not agreed to be the guinea pig for what would eventually become Carpool Karaoke back in 2011. The two filmed a prototype version of the segment for a British TV Comic Relief special, with Corden and Michael poking fun at the singer’s well publicized personal problems (George Michael has always had a self-deprecating sense of humor; when he was arrested for lewd public display in 1998, he promptly made a song and video poking fun at himself and his embarrassing situation). It was that carpool segment that Corden used to convince Mariah Carey to do the very first Carpool Karaoke video for The Late, Late Show, and the rest is history.

Now, on his first show since returning from the Christmas break, Corden paid tribute to the late singer, saying “I feel like I’ve loved George Michael as long as I’ve loved music, and I know so many fans felt the same way. I can remember so many times in my life where I might have felt on my own, and George’s music would feel like he would reach his hand out and [say] you weren’t on your own.” Thanks to the folks at Entertainment Weekly, you can watch a clip of Corden’s tribute to George Michael in the video above, which includes the 2011 segment of the two singing the Wham! classic “I’m Your Man.”

Do you have any favorite memories of George Michael’s songs and videos? Please share them with us down below in the comments.

Image: CBS

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