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Why we have George Michael to thank for James Corden's 'Carpool Karaoke'

George Michael didn't just leave behind a legacy of legendary pop songs — he also helped inspire our favorite singalong skit.
/ Source: TODAY

Not only did George Michael give the world plenty of legendary pop songs, he also played a key role when it came to inspiring James Corden's massively popular "Carpool Karaoke" segment.

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The first time "The Late Late Show" host did a bit where he sang in a car with a pop star, it was with Michael for a Comic Relief skit that aired on the BBC in 2011.

Michael, who died at 53 at his home on Sunday night, sings some of his biggest hits with Corden while driving around in a precursor to the hit series that Corden began on "The Late Late Show" last year.

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Michael also showed off his sense of humor, playing Corden's awkward friend and lampooning his personal image and some of his songs.

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"We couldn't put our finger on why is this so joyful?'' Corden told Howard Stern on his SiriuxXM radio show in June about the segment with Michael. "There's a joy in here."

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Corden also paid tribute to Michael after hearing the news of his death.

Michael was followed by Mariah Carey, who agreed to do the initial Carpool Karaoke segment on Corden's show. That eventually blossomed into hit spots with the likes of Adele, Jennifer Lopez, One Direction, and Madonna.

Follow writer Scott Stump on Twitter.