Lady Gaga has a lot of traits that would make her right at home in the midst of a massive Los Angeles traffic jam.
She has a propensity for profanity, a love of laying on the horn and a barely functional understanding of how a motor vehicle works.
But perhaps most importantly, she knows that if you’re going to sing her songs while in traffic, you better be belting to the rafters.
Fresh off the release of her fifth studio album, “Joanne,” released Friday, Oct. 21, Gaga stopped by CBS’ “The Late Late Show with James Corden” and took part in a festive round of “Carpool Karaoke.”
The recurring segment, which features Corden cruising L.A. streets with some of music’s biggest stars and singing around their discography. Previous guests have included Adele, Elton John and, before Corden hosted the Tony Awards, Lin-Manuel Miranda and a host of other Broadway talent.
Gaga made a career of pushing boundaries and refusing to be constrained by what some might consider good taste (Corden, at one point, poked fun of Gaga’s infamous “meat dress” from the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards. Gaga was not amused.). But much like her new album, the artist seemed more comfortable in her own skin than in years past.
Though perhaps sedate by her own fashion standards, Gaga sported perfect cat-eye makeup and a gold sequined blouse that reflected the California sunlight so intensely that you’d think she could be cited as an illegal rearview mirror decoration.
But Gaga’s blouse was far from the only thing that sparkled in this edition of “Carpool Karaoke.” The star was remarkably adept at the format, blending just the right amount of geniality with Corden while not indulging his more ridiculous instincts, including an extended gag in which Corden dressed in replicas of Gaga’s prior red carpet ensembles, one of which entailed some very unfortunate lunch meat.
And then there was the singing.
It may be easy to forget that under all the artifice, Gaga trained at a musical theater conservatory. There’s a reason that Tony Bennett collaborated with her on an entire album, and it’s not just because she looks great in hats. (She does.)
By far the greatest element of Gaga’s “Carpool Karaoke” stint is just how into the singing she gets. When she harmonizes with Corden or performs coordinated voguing or belts out lyrics to her own songs, as though she were laying down a track for them, it’s something akin to magical.
She commits. And that’s what you have to do to make it in the “Carpool Karaoke” game.
The segment begins with an impromptu version of Ludacris’ “Move B---- Get Out Da Way” before transitioning into “Perfect Illusion” from “Joanne.” Eventually, the pair delved into Gaga’s back catalog, including “Bad Romance,” “The Edge of Glory,” “Born this Way” and “Poker Face,” before concluding with another song from the new album, “Million Reasons.”
Amid all that singing, Gaga also takes the time to teach Corden a few voice warmup exercises and doesn’t hesitate to correct his form.
For his part, Corden had plenty of criticism of his own to hand out once Gaga takes over behind the wheel, to show off the nascent driving skills that earned her a driver’s license just months before.
Check out the entire video below with the knowledge that while the language was deemed appropriate for late-night network airing, it may not be wholly appropriate for work.