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This past holiday weekend was joyous for millions of people, but it was a traumatic time for the family and friends of musician George Michael, who passed away of suspected heart failure on Christmas day. Michael was known for a lot of things, from his career on the mic to his unending activism for gay rights, but it's not quite as well known that he was the very first celebrity that comedian James Corden had in the passenger seat for what would eventually become his ridiculously popular Carpool Karaoke Late Late Show segments. Check the clip out below!
After the past day of net-based mourning and touching stories shared in honor of George Michael, I am nothing but welcoming to a video doesn't have any meditations on fate and is meant to reverse downturned brows. It's great to take a few minutes to indulge in a laugh-filled memory of a lost one, and it's impossible to suppress smiles and laughter when watching the jovial James Corden release Carpool Karaoke into the world by drawing a faux-glum George Michael into a spirited mini-performance of "I'm Your Man," the Wham! single that predated the duo's split. It's totally a "push your chair away from your desk and dance" moment, and it would be the biggest moment of that kind of the clip hadn't ended with the opening of "Freedom." That kind of song makes you dance on top of the chair and desk.
The video seen here isn't from any of James Corden's hosting gigs, but rather from the British charity special Red Nose Day 2011. It was an idea Corden and producer Ben Winston had, thinking that watching musicians singing along to their own songs would be fun. And they were absolutely right, as evidenced by Carpool Karaoke videos' massive viral success over the years, and upcoming TV spinoff. When world-famous entertainers like Adele, Mariah Carey, Elton John and Madonna herself are taking harmony-filled rides every few weeks, it would be a bigger challenge to figure out a way to make those segments lose popularity.
It's a video like this that makes it clear how great George Michael was in comedic moments. The musician was a staple of talk shows and awards ceremonies over the course of his career, both in the U.K. and here in the States, but fans rarely got to see him inside of fictional situations. This segment is definitely awesome, but it comes second to his tabloids-mocking appearance on the Christmas special for HBO's Extras. Not that he wasn't also great in Little Britain and others.
Put on your own Wham! albums and tune into CBS every weeknight to see James Corden singing and plenty of other amusing things when The Late Late Show airs every weeknight. This week's guests include LL Cool J, Kevin Bacon, Constance Zimmer, Shaquille O'Neal, January Jones and many more. To see what you'll be able to put "Faith" in on the small screen when the new year gets here, head to our midseason premiere schedule.