James Corden, the host of The Late Late Show and creator of the wildly successful viral sensation Carpool Karaoke, spoke to the Wall Street Journal about how the idea almost never got off the ground.

The cultural phenomenon is basically Corden driving around Los Angeles with music stars singing their greatest hits.

But people were apprehensive about the idea at first.

“We’re talking about, genuinely, the biggest stars on the planet, who—not always by choice—are surrounded by people all of the time,” Corden said. “Security, makeup, assistant, manager, publicist. Then suddenly they get in a car and are on their own—with me.”

They knew all they had to do was get a big star on board for the first in the series.

“We knew we had to start it with a huge star,” Corden said. “I would be on the phone and we would pitch and pitch. No one would do it.” Shortly before the premiere, an associate of Mariah Carey ’s agreed to take the idea to Carey and she was in. “Carpool” had its debut act.

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By late January, Bieber’s had 57 million hits. Adele’s is at 81 million (at time of publication). One of Stevie Wonder’s greatest-hits albums surged to the top of the U.K. iTunes chart after his “Carpool” came out.

When he was offered the show by CBS, he had his own reservations about doing the show.

“I thought, I love the variety of my career,” he said. “I went back and forth on it. I just wasn’t quite sure what was the right thing to do.”

“I was Skyping my son on his birthday, and my wife was pregnant at the time,” he said. “And I was like, This is only going to get harder. Here’s someone offering me a job—[and] all I really want is to feel creative every day. And I realized it doesn’t come around again. CBS doesn’t go, ‘Let’s go back to that guy who passed.’ ”

“I just thought, There’s no way one day in the future I won’t regret saying no.”

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Corden says he’s spent time assuring publicists that The Late Late Show would be “a safe place, a fun place…. They don’t want their client going, ‘What the f— did you book me on that show for? I looked like an idiot,’ ” he said.

He was tattooed up for the photoshoot and said One Direction’s Harry Styles was the inspiration.

Source: Wall Street Journal