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James Corden recruited NFL players Malik Jackson, Justin Pugh, Brandon Parker and A’Shawn Robinson to create the first big man dance crew on Sunday’s post-AFC Championship special episode of The Late Late Show.
“When you think about the best football players, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Is it their toughness? Their grit?” asked Corden. “No. It’s their end zone dances.”
The host noted that the wide receivers and running backs “get all the glory, while the big guys up front do all the work.” He explained that, as a result, he invited some of the best offensive and defensive linemen in the league to join his dance crew.
Corden first noted that Jackson’s touchdown during the 2016 Super Bowl was followed by an “embarrassing” celebration. He said that the football player “ran around like a headless chicken.”
The host then instructed the players to show him their go-to celebration dances. “This is gonna be harder than I thought,” he said after Jackson showed off his moves.
Corden danced in front of the players as he encouraged them to copy his dance moves. “What are our locker room jams at the moment?” he asked as they took steps to the left and snapped. “I’m listening to the Mary Poppins soundtrack. Is that playing in any of the locker rooms?”
The players then learned to twerk. “I don’t want to have one person in that stadium looking at the ball or looking at the play. I want their eyes right here,” said Corden as he pointed to Robinson’s behind.
The next type of dance on Corden’s agenda was a traditional slow dance. The players partnered up and swayed back and forth as Corden sang Chris De Burgh’s “Lady In Red” to set the mood. Later in the lesson, the host serenaded Pugh and Jackson with Boyz II Men’s “I’ll Make Love to You” as the two embraced in a slow dance.
“I’ll be honest. I really don’t understand what’s going on,” said Jackson in a behind-the-scenes interview.
While the players took a break, Corden lectured that they “need to become the very thing we represent.” He assigned Jackson to act as a jaguar, Pugh to embody an alpaca, Robinson to act as Ellen DeGeneres and Parker to become a can of soup. When Corden clapped his hands, the players acted as their assigned role. While Jackson rolled on his back and kicked his arms and legs, Robinson petted Pugh’s alpaca and Parker remained still.
In a behind-the-scenes interview, Parker said that while Corden’s teaching methods “are a little bit out there, he’s still easier to understand than Coach Gruden.”
Corden later led the players in a dance routine that consisted of jumping jacks, strutting in unison, shaking their hips as they pointed to the ceiling and mimicking a pass block.
“We’re big men, but it doesn’t mean we’re out of shape,” said Corden as he encouraged the players to keep working. He then made his way behind the mirrors to breathe from an oxygen tank.
The next routine was to Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes’ “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life.” Corden sang the song before he ran to the football players and they lifted him into the air Dirty Dancing style. He continued to sing the chorus as the four men spun him around.
“Clear eyes. Full stomachs. Can’t lose,” said Corden before they took their performance to The Late Late Show stage.
“No longer are you the unsung heroes. It’s time to be the heroes,” said Corden in a voiceover before they took the stage.
The performance opened with the men dancing to Missy Elliott’s “Lose Control.” They soon transitioned to James Brown’s “I Feel Good,” which allowed Pugh and Robinson to show off their individual dance moves. DJ Khaled’s “All I Do Is Win” followed before the men concluded the performance.
Watch the full segment below.
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