James Corden paid tribute to George Michael on 2017’s first episode of The Late Late Show last night (January 2).
The host told viewers that the singer’s death on Christmas Day had hit him “really hard” and thanked Michael for helping to inspire the show’s popular Carpool Karaoke segment.
“I feel like I’ve loved George Michael as long as I’ve loved music, in a way, and I know so many of his fans feel the same,” Corden began.
“I can remember so many specific times in my life where I might have felt on my own, and George’s music would feel like, you would listen to a song and he would reach his hand out and tell you that you weren’t on your own and that these feelings were not particular to you.”
Corden then explained to US viewers that Carpool Karaoke was borne out of a one-off sketch he filmed with the ‘Faith’ singer for the UK’s Comic Relief appeal in 2011.
“We had come up with this idea to have me and George Michael sitting in a car, and it was the first time I had ever sung in a car with anybody. It’s become quite a big part of my life now and he really inspired it,” Corden recalled.
He also revealed that Mariah Carey became the first big-name celebrity to agree to do Carpool Karaoke after watching the clip of Corden and Michael. “Her words were, ‘if it’s good enough for George, it’s good enough for me’,” he said.
After the Wham-turned-solo star was found dead at his home on Christmas Day, aged just 53, a post-mortem into his death was judged to be inconclusive. His family have since responded to suggestions that the singer-songwriter may have committed suicide.
Tweets had been sent from the account of the late singer’s boyfriend, Fadi Fawaz, alleging that Michael had killed himself. Fawaz’s family have since defended him, saying that claims from anonymous sources that he was ‘a leech’ on Michael while the singer was alive are false.
It has also been reported that George Michael had ‘three unreleased albums in the vaults‘ and that he was planning to release a new record in 2017.