Fresh off of hosting the Tony Awards, James Corden returned to The Late Late Show Monday where he shared a stunning video of Billy Porter delivering an impromptu rendition of the Gypsy classic “Everything’s Coming up Roses” at the awards show.
The performance took place during a commercial break towards the end of the show, and with not all the cameras rolling, the footage Corden aired also included some cell phone video later posted online. In the clip, Corden approached Porter with a karaoke book and the actor quickly settled on “Everything’s Coming Up Roses,” barely waiting for the piano accompaniment before launching into the song.
After belting the first few stanzas, Porter — who was decked out in a Elizabethan-looking gown partially made from the Kinky Boots stage curtain — quipped, “I didn’t come here to work tonight,” prompting Corden to lean in and deadpan to the actor — who showed up to the Tonys in a gown that included fabric taken from the curtain used during his star-making run on the Broadway smash Kinky Boots — “No, you clearly wanted no one to look at you.” Porter gleefully powered through the rest of the song, channeling Ethel Merman as he waltzed onto the stage and hit the song’s final note to rapturous applause.
Porter is set to star in the second season of FX’s Pose, which premieres Tuesday, June 11th and take places in 1990, in the wake of the release of Madonna’s “Vogue,” which introduced the world of ball culture to the mainstream. “We call it ‘appropriation.’ I call it stealing,” Porter told Rolling Stone of the hit song. “So just let everybody know where it all came from. This season is a reclamation.”