rune hellestad/Corbis via Getty ImagesThe Late Late Show returned from a two-week hiatus on Tuesday, giving host James Corden his first chance to remember George Michael, who died on Christmas day.

“I can remember so many specific times in my life where I might have felt on my own, and George’s music…would feel like you would listen to a song and he would reach his hand out and tell you that you weren’t on your own, and that these feelings…were not particular to you,” he began.

Corden described how George inspired his popular segment, “Carpool Karaoke,” while the two were working on a pre-taped sketch for England’s “Red Nose Day” benefit.

“The idea was that a character from a sitcom I was in at home was driving to the offices of Comic Relief to try and save ‘Red Nose Day,’ he recalls. “And we had come up with this idea to have me and George Michael singing in a car. And it was the first time I’d ever sung in a car with anybody and it’s become quite a big part of my life now, and he really inspired it.”

Corden also recalled how Michael inadvertently helped him snag his first passenger.

“We were trying to get people to do ‘Carpool Karaoke’ and not many artists wanted to do it. And we would send them this clip of me and George,” says Corden. “And we sent it to Mariah Carey, and she was the first person to say yes. And her words were, ‘If it’s good enough for George, then it’s good enough for me. I’ll do it.'”

Some of Corden’s other “Carpool Karaoke” guests have included Ariana Grande, Adele, One Direction, Stevie Wonder, and Lady Gaga. Adele’s segment has racked up more than 129 million hits on YouTube.

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