SING IF YOU'RE WIN­NING

How James Corden got Hol­ly­wood singing his tune on Car­pool Karaoke

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - TV Guide - - Front Page - JAMES CORDEN’S CAR­POOL KARAOKE 9.30PM, THURS­DAY, TEN

THEY have been the car of choice for the Royal fam­ily for decades, but it is James Corden’s en­dorse­ment of Range Rover as his karaoke ve­hi­cle of choice which has given the posh brand real street cred.

So cool is The Late Late Show king that his celebrity sing-alongs – cruis­ing the streets of Los An­ge­les (and be­yond) in the same wheels favoured by his young royal pals Princes Harry and Wil­liam – that the pop­u­lar seg­ment has now earned its own prime-time spe­cial (air­ing on Ten this week).

Kit­ting out each lux­ury 4WD with “five mi­cro­phones and maybe 10 cam­eras in­side,” the jolly Brit has used his se­ries of free-wheel­ing, all- star duets as a way to win a broad au­di­ence since first ar­riv­ing on US screens three years ago.

It was a for­mat the 39-year- old star of Gavin & Stacey first used to suc­cess for the 2011 char­ity fundraiser Comic Relief; in a hi­lar­i­ous skit fea­tur­ing the late Ge­orge Michael. More than seven years later,

The Late Late show sta­ple con­tin­ues to pull its tal­ented host global head­lines and the big names: from Mariah Carey (his first pas­sen­ger) to Christina Aguil­era (who stars in this lat­est spe­cial).

One of the first to use so­cial me­dia to lure a se­cond screen au­di­ence, the car­pool ses­sions have helped raise Corden’s pro­file be­yond his grave­yard TV times­lot (it rou­tinely airs after mid­night here on Eleven), while set­ting vi­ral video records.

When he teamed with chart sen­sa­tion and fel­low Brit Adele back in 2016, her ap­pear­ance still holds the record as the mostviewed clip in the his­tory of latenight tele­vi­sion, with 180-mil­lion views on YouTube and count­ing.

Spins with Aussie pop enigma Sia, One Direc­tion and Justin Bieber have all also smashed the 100+ mil­lion viewer mark; with a tour around the grounds of the White House with for­mer First Lady Michele Obama mak­ing po­lit­i­cal news.

Get­ting the su­per­stars in his Range Rover’s hot seat (his car pref­er­ence for their “great acous­tics”) is down to a com­bi­na­tion of Corden’s charm and im­pres­sive vo­cal tal­ents, as well as his guests play­ing the part.

His ease with and ac­cess to the stars is no ac­ci­dent, re­port­edly lay­ing the foun­da­tion for his celebrity col­lab­o­ra­tions when he first ar­rived in Hol­ly­wood.

Do­ing the rounds of the lead­ing pub­li­cist agen­cies, he would per­son­ally re­as­sure them his talk show would be a safe place, where their stars would be cel­e­brated, rather than skew­ered.

In turn, the stars have turned up and let their guards down – and that, says Corden, is what has won over the au­di­ence.

“That’s the beauty of the seg­ment: every­thing about it is stripped down,” he says. “There’s a naked­ness to it, if you like, and it just gives every­body a chance to show who they are and what they’re about, and I think that’s

what peo­ple re­spond to. Peo­ple re­spond to au­then­tic­ity and they re­spond to hon­esty.”

Late Late’s ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer Rob Crabbe says Corden’s fan boy ap­proach has only boosted its im­pact.

“James ap­proaches it as a fan first, so we love it for the same rea­sons we hope the au­di­ence does: get­ting to see can­did con­ver­sa­tions with huge artists singing their big­gest hits,” he says.

Break­ing into one of the world’s big­gest TV mar­kets as a rel­a­tive un­known has also played in his favour, Crabbe ar­gues.

“He got to be ‘dis­cov­ered’ by a whole new au­di­ence, and that’s ex­cit­ing as a viewer,” he says.

“We also try and make an in­clu­sive, joy­ful, va­ri­ety show ev­ery night, which hope­fully gives peo­ple a rea­son to smile be­fore they drift off to sleep.”

Corden has been can­did about his in­se­cu­rity about the US experiment – and un­ex­pected suc­cess. So wor­ried the show would fail, he con­vinced his wife

Ju­lia they should only rent the fur­ni­ture for their starter, leased LA home.

“In truth, his­tory’s lit­tered with peo­ple who’ve come and tried to make a show or some­thing in Amer­ica and it hasn’t worked,” he says.

“There’s such a level of own­er­ship to these late night shows that the chances of a chubby guy from [the UK], who hadn’t ever re­ally hosted a talk show be­fore … well, the odds were stacked against us.”

Fast for­ward to his last head­lin­ing ap­pear­ance – at Prince Harry’s wed­ding to for­mer Suits star Meghan Markle last month.

Corden, who re­vealed he’d been mates with the groom for seven years, played MC at the cou­ple’s lav­ish re­cep­tion at Frog­more House, in Wind­sor – us­ing his TV skill for wran­gling stars to host a dance- off be­tween Harry, his best man and big brother Wil­liam and their fa­ther Prince Charles.

Of course, the ex­pe­ri­ence be­came cheeky fod­der for his

Late Late Show, shar­ing his pride at be­ing part of such a “happy” and “up­lift­ing” day.

“It was Bri­tain at its finest, a pic­ture-per­fect day: Wind­sor Cas­tle, 600 guests, 30,000 f low­ers, or as El­ton John calls it, a Thurs­day.”

TheLateLateShow host James Corden’s seg­ment Car­pool Karaoke has fea­tured artists such as Christina Aguil­era, right.

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