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James Corden unveiled the latest edition of his popular segment “Carpool Karaoke” on Wednesday’s episode of The Late Late Show where he welcomed his Cinderella co-stars Idina Menzel, Billy Porter, and Camila Cabello.
The segment began with Porter and Menzel helping Cabello, who was dressed in a giant gown like her princess character, into Corden’s minivan. After the group sang and danced along to ABBA’s “Mamma Mia,” Corden asked the seasoned musicians if they still get nervous before performances. “I was gonna say yes. It was the eight seconds after he screwed up my name,” Menzel recalled, referring to the unforgettable moment at the 2014 Oscars when John Travolta mispronounced her name as “Adele Dazeem” before she sang “Let It Go” from Frozen.
“At first, I felt really sorry for myself. Like, ‘Meryl Streep’s out there. This is my big break, and he just fucked up my name,'” she explained. “And then eight seconds [later] the band starts, and I’m like, ‘Get your shit together. Come on. This is your moment. Stop worrying about that he messed up your name. Sing, bitch.'”
Menzel said Travolta has reached out to her multiple times since the public error. “He has written so many nice, apologetic emails. He has sent flowers. He’s so kind, and he would like to make up for it. … I just always say, ‘No worries,’ because it was the best thing that ever happened.”
Porter joked, “I said, ‘She is going to be a household name within 24 hours.’ I was like, ‘I need somebody to say my name wrong at the Oscars.'”
The quartet then sang along to two of Menzel’s biggest hits, “Let It Go” and “Defying Gravity” from Wicked, including pitch-perfect ad-libs from Porter. The segment later took an emotional turn when Corden asked Porter what it was like to learn he would play the fairy godmother in Amazon’s Cinderella, to which Porter said it was a dream since he was 14 years old.
“My biggest dream was to be the male Whitney Houston,” Porter remembered. Houston put her spin on the classic character in the 1997 version of Cinderella, starring Brandy as the lead. Porter continued, “So all I could think of was like, ‘Oh my God, I’m playing the Whitney Houston part.’ It’s really significant.
“For a long time, I was told that my queerness would be my liability,” he continued. “It was difficult to sort of find my way. So to have lived long enough to get to the other side of that mess and be sort of seen — you all see me. You see who I am. You see what I can be. You see what I represent, and that’s a good thing. The new representation is a good thing. It’s been such a wonderful and monumental experience for me. I’m so excited about this. It’s very special. I feel very seen, and I’m excited about that.”
The group delivered one final sing-a-long to Jennifer Hudson’s version of “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” from the movie Dreamgirls before arriving at the Greek Theater.
Watch the video below.
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