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James Corden pays tribute to George Michael, who inspired "Carpool Karaoke"

James Corden paid tribute to late singer George Michael, who died on Sunday, but the “Late Late Show” host had a very personal connection to the pop star: Michael inspired “Carpool Karaoke.” 

Corden tweeted on Sunday, “I’ve loved George Michael for as long as I can remember. He was an absolute inspiration. Always ahead of his time.” 

That might refer to when Michael hopped into Corden’s car in 2011 for a sketch Corden created for the British charity Comic Relief, years before he hosted the “Late Late Show.” 

The sketch became a rough prototype for “Carpool Karaoke,” reports ET. In it, Corden, who was in character as Smithy from “Gavin & Stacey,” drove with Michael as they sang some of the singer’s biggest hits. See the video below. 

Smithy to the Rescue - Red Nose Day 2011 - BBC Comic Relief Night by BBC on YouTube

Corden also tweeted a video of Michael performing “Prayer for Time,” saying the song means more now. 

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    Andrea is an entertainment producer at CBSNews.com