Well, they’ve had a good run.
After a solid eight years and 1,200 shows, The Late Late Show with James Corden has its final episode on April 26 — and that means Carpool Karaoke is coming to an end with it. On the one hand, this means — unless there’s some kind of special or reunion – we’ll never get a Beyoncé or Taylor Swift episode, which is an undeniable tragedy. On the other hand, we do still have the countless existing episodes to look fondly back on.
Not all Carpool Karaokes are created equally, though. Below, we’ve attempted to pick out some of the best — from the mighty vocals of Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande to a very fun road trip with Chris Martin. In no particular order, here are the all-time 10 greatest Carpool Karaoke episodes.
You know you’ve made an impact when an episode from your show goes so viral that it actually breaks records. Adele’s Carpool Karaoke, which at the time of writing is sitting at over 260 million views on YouTube, is the most viewed episode of the show and the most popular video on The Late Late Show‘s YouTube channel by quite some way. It’s not hard to see why it went so viral, or why Adele was invited to be the last ever guest for the segment. As well as belting renditions of Adele classics like “Hello” and “Someone Like You” it also features the singer rapping Nicki Minaj’s “Monster” verse and enthusiastically covering the Spice Girls’ “Wannabe”.
Adele returns for the final ‘Carpool Karaoke’ and it’s a fitting, emotional end
2. Bruno Mars
Carpool Karaoke is at its best when both Corden and the guest look like they’re actually having fun. The Bruno Mars episode ticks this box in a major way. Alongside Mars classics like “Locked Out of Heaven”, “24K Magic”, and “Grenade”, the pair also spend time trying on an array of silly hats (“I feel like there isn’t a hat that you can’t wear,” Corden comments), and attempting some very silly seductive dancing together. All in all they just appear to be having a blast.
Speaking of episodes where the guest enjoys themselves, Usher’s is another great example. Between classics like “Yeah!”, “Burn”, and “Caught Up”, the singer spends much of the 13-minute clip above giggling, and when he isn’t doing that he’s teaching Corden dance moves, cleaning his own Hollywood star, entering into an amusing discussion about being a vegetarian, and even helping out some strangers by giving their broken down car a push. All-round wholesome viewing.
4. Jennifer Lopez
There have been some truly memorable Carpool Karaoke moments, but perhaps none more so than James Corden sending a prank text from Jennifer Lopez’ phone to none other than Leonardo DiCaprio, which he signs “J. Lo (you know, from the block)” — only to get an actual response from the man himself. The episode is worth watching for this sequence alone, and the epic renditions of J-Lo classics like “Love Don’t Cost a Thing” and “Jenny from the Block” are just an added bonus.
The Late Late Show needed a bigger boat for this one, with all seven members of BTS piling into a van for Carpool Karaoke in Feb. 2020. With RM up front, Jimin, J-Hope, and Jungkook in the middle, and Jin, Suga, and V in the back seat, the K-pop superstars give it their all, whether on their own bangers like “Mic Drop”, “Black Swan”, and “ON” (hellooooo Jungkook’s flawless falsetto on this one), or while absolutely obliterating Bruno Mars and Cardi B’s “Finesse”, and Post Malone’s “Circles”. Plus, there’s even time for a dance class. — Shannon Connellan, UK Editor
Diddy ‘Carpool Karaoke’ features a genuinely hilarious discussion of lyrics
6. Lady Gaga
If you really want to get an idea of how good your favourite star actually is at singing, Carpool Karaoke is the perfect forum for finding out. Luckily Lady Gaga passes all the tests with flying colours, busting out some storming harmonies on the likes of “Perfect Illusion”, “Poker Face”, and “Million Reasons” while finding time to give Corden singing and outfit feedback. This one is the perfect mix of great music and amusing moments, from the pair practicing vocal warm-ups to a post-driving test Lady Gaga jumping behind the wheel to give a slightly nervous Corden a spin.
7. Michelle Obama
It kind of had to make the cut, didn’t it? Carpool Karaoke guests don’t come much more high profile than at-the-time First Lady Michell Obama, who joins Corden in singing along to Stevie Wonder and Beyoncé while casually chatting about life in the White House and secret service code names. The cherry on the cake is a cameo from Missy Elliott, who materialises out of thin air to take part in renditions of “This Is For My Girls” and “Get Ur Freak On”.
8. Chris Martin
Feeling more like an adventure than a regular episode, Chris Martin’s Carpool Karaoke features Corden picking up the hitchhiking singer to give him a lift to the Super Bowl in San Francisco. In between Martin busting out an impressive Mick Jagger impression and correcting Corden on the “Viva La Vida” lyrics (it’s “Jerusalem bells” not “cherished little bells”), the pair also find time to buy very sugary lemonade from some children on the side of the road and stop off for a cosy overnight stay at a roadside motel. Definitely one of the most fun Carpool episodes.
9. Ariana Grande
Despite the big stunts and entertaining exchanges, the core of Carpool Karaoke is of course all about the singing. Ariana Grande’s episode might well be the most impressive vocal display of any episode, with the pop star showing off her truly ridiculous range with harmonies on everything from “God Is a Woman” to “No Tears Left to Cry”. Big bonus points are needed for her Celine Dion impression, which is truly something, and the stop off at a coffee shop in which Corden gives Grande a piggyback and she gleefully announces to the entire cafe that this is how she travels everywhere.
10. Adele’s return
The final episode of Carpool Karaoke was always going to be difficult to get right, but a surprise return from Adele feels like the perfect way to close things out. The episode stands out from the others because of how honest and personal it is, with Adele talking about her close friendship with Corden, how his family helped her through her breakup, and how a heartfelt conversation with Corden actually inspired her song “I Drink Wine”. There are tears from both of them in amongst some truly belting songs, and the whole thing feels like a fittingly emotional end.
Every Carpool Karaoke episode is available to watch on The Late Late Show‘s YouTube channel(opens in a new tab).