James Corden hosts music’s biggest stars on Carpool Karaoke, and now he’ll be hosting all of them at the same time on music’s biggest night. EW caught up with The Late Late Show host as he was beginning to buckle down on preparations for his upcoming Grammys hosting gig on CBS on Feb. 12. And while he couldn’t reveal much, he did drop a few hints about what viewers will see—and what they won’t.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How are you feeling about emceeing the Grammys for the first time?
JAMES CORDEN: Oh, man, lower your expectations. I feel crazy nervous. Outrageously nervous! But I do enjoy nerves—I think they’re good. You’re only nervous when you want to do your best. You’re only nervous when you really care about something.
You hosted the Tony Awards last year. What’s the biggest difference between preparing for that show and this one?
In many respects the Tonys are a more traditional hosting job. The show has [almost] always had a host, and traditionally those hosts have done certain things. There were a lot of years when the Grammys didn’t have a host at all! The biggest thing with the Grammys is that it’s a music show more than an awards show. Mostly your job is to just usher the show along with as much joy and energy as possible, really. I’m going to try and do a couple of things that haven’t been seen before, but I don’t know—I might lose my nerve and decide not to!
Have you gotten any input about what they want from you?
Not at all. I think they like what I’ve done on The Late Late Show and would like it to carry on. They would like me to bring an energy to it—my love and enthusiasm for music, and my love and enthusiasm for so many artists in the room. That’s what we’ll try to do. But it’s not about bringing the same energy: Our show is a little studio with 240 people in the room, and this is in the Staples Center with 17,000 people and millions watching at home. They’re very different.
Will you incorporate Carpool Karaoke in some form?
I don’t think we’re going to. The truth is, there really isn’t time. All of my [Grammys segments] are pretty short. Those Carpools at their shortest are six minutes; the longest is 16 minutes.
Is there an artist that you’re hoping wins big?
Chance the Rapper! That album is brilliant. I just love every facet of his performances. I love what he’s saying. He feels like a new wave.
If you were put in charge of organizing the Grammys of your dreams, what would be at the top of your wish list?
This is kind of it, really. If you look at the people that are nominated, it’s incredible. The full list of performers is jaw-dropping. We’re really talking about the biggest artists in the world. I’m just excited to be in their orbit for a little while. But if it was me in charge of the Grammys, I would have O-Town open it, leading into *NSYNC and the Backstreet Boys. And then reunite One Direction and get them to close the show.
Let’s play a Grammys edition of Would You Rather. Do you (a) have Taylor Swift and Katy Perry end their feud on stage or (b) get Adele and Nicki Minaj to do the “Monster” rap live together?
[Laughs] I’ve been lucky enough to witness Adele doing that rap, and it’s pretty incredible when you’re right beside her. I would love to see Adele do that live. It’d be hilarious.
We know from Into the Woods that you can really sing. Will viewers get to hear that come Grammys night?
You know what? You just might.