James Corden bid farewell to CBS on Thursday evening by doing something no one would have ever thought possible: getting Tom Cruise to sing Elton John’s hit ballad “Can You Feel the Love Tonight.”
After opening “The Last Late Late Show with James Corden Carpool Karaoke Special” by singing “Last Show” (to the tune of “Last Dance”), and the quick opening monologue, Corden switched to his highly publicized final pre-tape. Did a sea voyage. As previously announced, the action star icon and host attended a performance of “The Lion King” at Hollywood’s Pantages Theatre. The first half of the clip featured the two rehearsing and singing on stage in costume – but from there, the sketch turned into a farewell between the two.
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As Corden expressed his sadness at saying farewell to Cruise, the pair broke into John Song (who of course won an Oscar in 1994 for his part in the animated “Lion King” film). Corden began: “Tom, I mean, everything you’ve done for my show, everything you’ve done for me, I would never be able to…” Cruise interrupted him: “James You greeted me.”
“I love you Tom,” Corden said. “I know,” Cruz replied before boarding a waiting helicopter.
Connected: James Corden on the Top Guest He Never Booked, His Craziest ‘The Late Late Show’ Taping & Adele’s Surprise Final Carpool Karaoke
Also on the primetime special: One last “Carpool Karaoke,” featuring Adele – who surprised corden at his house for a drive to the show’s Television City studios. In between driving and singing, Adele also grilled Corden on his memories about “The Late Late Show.”
“The thing I was most worried about was how were we going to get guests on the show?” They said. “I mean, we couldn’t book anybody. And then things like ‘Carpool,’ I mean, nobody would do that. Mariah Carey was the first artist to say yes, but as Corden recalled, her arrival But things changed: “Maria comes out and the first thing she says to me is, ‘I’d like to chat. I’m not singing.'” Carey, of course, stopped singing — and “Carpool Karaoke” became an institution.
Things got serious when Adele discussed how her song “I Drink Wine” was inspired by a conversation she and Corden had about their lives. “The first verse of this song, which I think is some of the best I’ve ever written, even if I do say so myself, was inspired by a conversation you and I had,” she said. “We were just on vacation with the kids and we were on our way home and my mood changed. It was like the first year I felt like I had to hold myself accountable just for being adults, whereas the year before that , I had given up on Simon and things like that. You’ve always been like an adult to me, you’d always give me the same advice. And then I remember saying to you on the way home, what’s the matter? You just seemed down and you let me do it all. You weren’t feeling strong and we were talking about it for six hours. It was like a whole house.
Corden replied, “It was the work stuff and the Internet and all that stuff.” Adele responded: “It made me feel so insecure you’re feeling insecure. Then I went into the studio a couple of weeks later and I wrote it. I remember singing it into my phone and I Sent it to you.” Corden said: “It was everything I was feeling that day. I was in awe of how you took everything you were feeling about yourself and life and put it into just one poem. It is most fortunate that out of a conversation between two friends you create such a thing. it blows my mind.”
Adele rounded out “Carpool” by asking Corden what he would miss most. “I’ll miss. I’ll miss everything,” he said. “I think I underestimated how many friends I would make. More than anything, I’ll just miss going to work with my friends every day. And I’m really going to miss Los Angeles. I Love it. It’s been a great adventure.
Later, the final episode of “The Late Late Show with James Corden” opened with a bit of a tease: Corden took a victory lap with the staff — and then proceeded to get “stuck” in a stairway.
He then began with the usual check-ins with the “Late Late Show” cast of staff characters. “This is the last ‘Late Late Show’ in CBS history and I’m telling you tonight we are determined to finally get it right this time,” he quipped. Corden’s parents and sisters were in the audience, and they welcomed guests Harry Styles and Will Ferrell (who proceeded to smash Corden’s desk with a hammer).
But first, another sketch: Fellow Late Night hosts Seth Meyers, Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon, and Stephen Colbert appeared in Corden’s bedroom, warning him that he couldn’t just quit his show — at least, without handing over his bits. No. Also appearing in the sketch: David Letterman, and later, Trevor Noah (fellow talk retirees Noah and Corden are seen on “The Masked Singer” set “six months later”).
Corden noted that this sketch was yet another example of how the so-called late night wars are not a thing anymore. He told viewers that Fallon had sent an ice cream truck for the show’s crew.
The episode also featured a special message from President Biden: “Thank you for all the joy you’ve brought to homes across America,” he said in the taped piece. “Special thanks for never asking me to sing in the car with you.”
With Styles and Ferrell, Corden played one last game of “Spill Your Guts or Fill Your Guts”. When asked who his favorite late night host would be, Ferrell said Seth Meyers — but still had some terrible food. And when Styles was asked if One Direction would ever reunite, he admitted, “I would say never.”
Corden ended the final episode with a message for his viewers: “I’ve been thinking for a while, what I was going to say these past few weeks as we come to the end of the show after this amazing adventure and I’ve struggled with finding the words to summarize what’s meant to me over the past eight years. It’s nearly impossible. I frankly don’t know where to begin.
“But I sit here today with nothing but love, gratitude and pride. This show is everything I ever wanted.
After thanking his team, as well as CBS, Corden got serious: “You know we started this show with Obama, then Trump, and then a global pandemic. And I’ve seen America change a lot. Over these past few years, I have seen divisions grow. And I’ve seen and I’ve felt a sense of negativity bubble up and boil over at some point.
“I guess all I really want to say tonight is I beg you to remember what America means to the rest of the world. My whole life, it’s always been a place of optimism and joy. And Yes, it has flaws. So many. But show me a country that doesn’t. Show me one person that doesn’t. Me, you, all of us. We’re all trying to figure it out. Of us Everyone is a work in progress. And just because someone disagrees with you doesn’t make them bad or bad. We’re all more alike than we are different. And there are a lot of people out there trying to stoke those differences. And we have to try as best we can to seek the light. Seek joy. Because if you do, it’s out there.
“And that’s all this show has been about. All we want is just a little bit of light and lightness at the end of your day. Thank you for letting me do this. Thank you for letting me come over to your house every night.
With this, “The Late Late Show with James Corden” ended with a final number, with Corden singing a farewell tune, “This is our show.”
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