James Corden's 8 Biggest Musical Moments of 2016

7:00 AM 12/29/2016

by THR staff

See the host's most popular song-and-dance routines of the year (not including "Carpool Karaoke").

James Corden Promo_publicity - H 2016
YouTube/The Late Late Show with James Corden

James Corden Promo_publicity - H 2016

Late Late Show host James Corden has made "Carpool Karaoke" into an online phenomenon, singing along with everyone from Mariah Carey to Michelle Obama.

But an SUV isn't the only place he shines in the musical world. The writer and performer of the stage and screen has appeared in several bits this year with everyone from Anna Kendrick and the Backstreet Boys to Denis Leary and Billy Eichner. 

Below are some of The Late Late Show's biggest and most memorable musical moments of 2016. 

— Compiled by Jennifer Konerman

  • Soundtracks of Love and Life

    In November, James Corden recruited Anna Kendrick and Billy Eichner for a Late Late Show soundtrack all about growing up. The scenes followed Kendrick, who previously paired with Corden for the inaugural soundtrack of love stories (below), from her childhood with her father (Eichner) and through her life with her husband (Corden). And when the entire thing looped back around to the delivery room, the trio teamed up for The Lion King's "Circle of Life."

    Back in June, Kendrick joined the host to sample the many types of tracks that usually accompany love stories — in just over four minutes. 

    The two blazed through a slew of romance-related tracks based on the stages of a relationship, beginning with the meet-cute (Dionne Warwick's "I Say a Little Prayer") and the exciting honeymoon phase (Boyz II Men's "I'll Make Love to You," The Partridge Family's "I Think I Love You"). They mourn their breakup (Adele's "Someone Like You") before ultimately reconciling (Dolly Parton's "I Will Always Love You").

  • James Corden Performs With Backstreet Boys

    James Corden introduced a new cause this fall, focused on reinstating dance routines and matching outfits in today's music.

    He declared: "We are bringing back boy bands. I'm talking proper boy bands. Five guys together — I'm talking about the cute one, the funny one, the nice one, the other one and the maverick who refused to play by the rules. All living together in some weird mansion in Orlando." 

    Referencing newer boy bands like One Direction, he admitted he was "aware that boy bands haven't gone away. But now, they just stand onstage wearing skinny jeans and Vans sneakers. And some of them even have the audacity to pick up instruments! That is not what I want in a boy band, OK? I want matching outfits, synchronized dancing and way over-budget music videos!"

    To prove how serious he was about this, Corden performed "Everybody (Backstreet's Back)" with the top-selling boy band of all time, which starts their "Larger Than Life" residency in Las Vegas in March 2017. 

  • 'Game of Thrones,' 'The Revenant' Inappropriate Musicals

    James Corden put together a round of inappropriate musicals this September co-starring Alan Cumming and Jesse Tyler Ferguson. The trio tackled Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad and Stranger Things.

    Cumming played Thrones' Joffrey, ordering an execution for Ferguson's Ned Stark, but just before Stark was decapitated, he sang joyfully: "Winter is coming all over you."

    Breaking Bad was next, with Cumming as Walter White. "I don't just make meth; I make magic," he declared before breaking into song. Corden's starring role was the monster from Stranger Things. "I'm a bad little monster and I gotta taste / For lonely girls with a frilly face."

    Back in March, the host imagined the possibility of a Revenant musical — with Martin Short as Leonardo DiCaprio's Hugh Glass and the late-night host as the bear. What was seen onscreen as a vicious attack transforms into a duet about forbidden love between the epic's two characters.

    Short also channeled Joe Pesci's Tommy DeVito for a harmonious version of Goodfellas' "funny" scene.

  • Corden's Spoof of Beyonce's 'Lemonade'

    This April, Beyonce's Lemonade visual album dropped and the Monday after its weekend debut, late-night hosts had plenty of jokes to tell. 

    James Corden's parody was called "Lemonjames." His spoken-word entry talked about all of the monologues he writes, how he's tired of joking about Donald Trump and his baby hands and provided his very special recipe for lemonade. Corden did this all while copying Beyonce's outfits and wearing a curly blond wig.

  • Niall Horan's "Candy" Halloween Video

    Just before Halloween, Niall Horan brought his musical talents to The Late Late Show's Halloween spoof video of "Candy." Horan dressed up as a pirate to tell an unsuspecting suburban mom that he'll make her "Tootsie Pop" when she breaks him off a bit of her Kit Kat. 

    The singer and Corden wore half a dozen costumes (Batman, ear of corn, astronaut, cow, pea pod and vampire) as they ran through a mouthwatering series of candy come-ons involving everything from Jujubes to Good & Plenty and Red Hots in the slow jam. 

  • Shawn Mendes Takes on Corden in '90s Riff Battle

    Shawn Mendes and James Corden began a bit of a battle this September when each of them insisted that the music of their youth is the best.

    Mendes interrupted when Corden once again hit his "This Is How We Do It" button during a behind-the-desk dance party. "I just noticed you never play new music," said Mendes. "You know, Backstreet Boys [on the show] yesterday. 'This is How We Do It.' It's just old stuff all the time."

    Corden corrected his youthful guest by reminding Mendes that "everybody knows music was better back then than it is now." And then it was on.

    Mendes challenged Corden to a "Better Then/Better Now" riff-off, invoking hits by Calvin Harris, the Spice Girls, Kriss Kross and Sia.

  • Denis Leary Sings "Trump's an Asshole"

    Denis Leary reimagined his famous "Asshole" song with a little help from James Corden on The Late Late Show in August. 

    Dressed as Bill and Hillary Clinton, respectively, Leary and Corden paid musical tribute to Donald Trump with an updated version, titled "Trump's an Asshole."

    "Folks, I'd like to sing a song about the American dream," said Leary. "About me, about you and about Donald Trump and that special feeling we get whenever he speaks."

    The pair broke into tune with politically inspired lyrics of the things Trump has done that the Clintons haven't, with the chorus getting bleeped with American flags. 

  • 'Lion King' Crosswalk Musical

    Neighbors 2 stars Rose Byrne and Seth Rogen joined the host in May to perform a Lion King musical on a crosswalk in Los Angeles.

    Byrne was extremely excited about the crosswalk performance and was cast as both Nala and Timon. Rogen was relegated to the role of "scenery, trees, birds, rocks" and other tiny parts.

    The group dressed up in costumes and jumped out on the crosswalk to sing popular songs from the Disney film, running back to the sidewalks when the light changed.

    “The stakes are higher,” said Byrne, when asked how she felt about the production. “The thrill of live theater and the thrill of death.”

    Rogen's review: "Did I enjoy it more than I thought I was going to? No."