James Corden performs a primetime ‘Carpool Karaoke’ with Celine Dion

CBS special brings ‘Carpool Karaoke’ to primetime again

Celine Dion joins James Corden in “The Late Late Show Carpool Karaoke Primetime Special 2019” Monday on CBS.

For James Corden, a “Carpool Karaoke” with Celine Dion means keeping a firm grip on the steering wheel.

A new singing-and-motoring session with one of music’s most powerful voices is the centerpiece of “The Late Late Show Carpool Karaoke Primetime Special 2019,” which CBS airs Monday, May 20. After taking recent spins with such icons as Barbra Streisand and Sir Paul McCartney – both likely to be excerpted during the hour – the usually comedic Corden confirms that the participation of five-time Grammy winner Dion, who’s planning a new album and her first concert tour in more than a decade (following a Las Vegas residency), lets him check off another long-desired “Carpool Karaoke” guest.

“It’s strange sometimes when we do these,” the ever-friendly Corden allows. “You start looking at a list of songs and try to decide which ones you should do, and Celine Dion is in that same rarefied air where you try to work out how many songs you should do with Elton John or Paul McCartney. You’re just like, ‘Well, we have to do that one’ or, ‘How can we not do that one?’ And before you know it, you’ve got 15 songs and you have to pare it down somehow.

James Corden hosts “The Late Late Show Carpool Karaoke Primetime Special 2019” Monday on CBS.

“She was fantastic, I have to say,” Corden adds of filming with Dion. “I enjoyed being in her orbit so much.”

Two previous editions of “The Late Late Show Carpool Karaoke Primetime Special” have won Emmy Awards, but Corden notes that for the singers who are riding along, “This is a very unnatural place to be. We’re talking about some of the biggest, most recognizable artists in the world who – more out of necessity than ego – are always surrounded by people like publicists, security guards and assistants.

“And we’re saying, ‘We’re going to shut the doors, and it’s just me and you in the car. And we’re going to sing your songs.’ I feel like I have to commit to it, to get them to that place where they’ll commit to it like we’re singing at Madison Square Garden. I think we’ve all had that moment, singing at the top of our lungs in our cars, imagining that we are that person on stage.”

The latest venture of late-night’s “Carpool Karaoke” into primetime comes amid a typically busy year for Corden, who also hosts the Tony Awards again June 9 on CBS and will have a major role in December’s movie version of the stage musical “Cats.” For now, the British amateur crooner laughingly admits, “There’s never a time when I think, ‘Oh, I’m going to sound great now!’ I’m just trying to get them to where I can start to soften slightly.”

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin has decades of experience covering the television and movie businesses, winning Tribune Media Services’ Crown Jewel Award in 2008 for his performance in the company. Over those many years of interviewing and writing, he has spoken with everyone from Robert De Niro and John Travolta to Paul McCartney and Tony Bennett … from Meryl Streep and Julie Andrews to Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood.

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