Home Music Music Lists

The 20 Best Carpool Karaoke Episodes, Ranked

From Mariah Carey to Harry Styles to Adele to Michelle Obama, the best, most memorable musical segments on The Late Late Show with James Corden

Karaoke is a party pastime that doubles as psychological experiment – revealing what people do when they grab a microphone and, for a few minutes, pretend to be someone else. But it can take a more meta turn, too, especially as a hugely popular, viral fixture on the The Late Late Show with James Corden.

In “Carpool Karaoke,” the chipper host takes a celebrity (usually a musical artist) on a joyride, typically in traffic-clogged Los Angeles. Corden turns on the radio, and, surprise! It’s one of their own songs. Icons like Stevie Wonder and Lady Gaga sing along and talk through life, love and Twitter beefs. The medley of duets range from entertaining to unnerving, given how many times Corden takes his hands off the wheel to dance in the driver’s seat. 

Ahead of the spinoff show’s Apple Music premiere on August 8th, we’ve ranked the 20 most memorable “Carpool Karaoke” segments. 

5

Adele

Besides having a once-in-a-generation voice, Adele happens to be a charming guest. The fellow Brits have a genuine rapport and rock out to the Spice Girls. Throughout the segment, she breaks the fourth wall to share factoids (she played the drums on “Hello”) and drunken anecdotes. 

4

Demi Lovato and Nick Jonas

Longtime buddies and Disney Channel survivors Lovato and Jonas lovingly tease each other while belting each other’s songs like “Heart Attack.” The goofy, self-deprecating pair are game to form a folksy street band with Corden – which happens to be smack-dab in front of TMZ tour bus, no less.

3

Elton John

As Rocket Man rides around with Corden on a rainy L.A. day – appropriate, since they’re both English – they shoot the shit about “Your Song,” dress up in fabulous boas (and a lion’s mane, during “The Circle of Life”) and turn the jaunt into a full-on party. John also reveals that he doesn’t have a phone, and spends much of the ride praising young, edgy artists like Sarah Basko and Grimes.

2

Michelle Obama and Missy Elliott

This special episode, filmed towards the end of the Obama era, features the First Lady putting on some of her favorite tunes for a starstruck Corden, including Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” and Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies” as they cruise around the White House premises. The always-transfixing Missy Elliott briefly pops in the backseat to spit rhymes from “This Is For My Girls,” the charity single she recorded with Zendaya, Janelle Monae and others. And, of course, there’s a “Get Your Freak On” moment. 

1

Stevie Wonder

Stevie Wonder is a light, and not just because his pipes get more heavenly as the years go by. During his spin around Los Angeles, he busts out classics like “Superstitious,” serenades Corden’s wife, endlessly mocks Corden’s English accent, and invites him to join a new group, the Wondercats. He also implores Corden to never touch a harmonica, ever. He’s got a point: Why mess with perfection?