From viral video to late-night institution, James Corden‘s Carpool Karaoke segments on The Late, Late Show have a knack for breaking the internet every time a new one debuts during an episode of the CBS talk show. But not all CK segments are created equal.
While some reach meteoric heights of greatness, others are merely good (because, let’s be honest, there is no bad Carpool Karaoke segment). Here’s our ranking, from worst to best…
Honorable Mention: Michelle Obama
While the First Lady was incredibly game, per usual, and the surprise cameo from Missy Elliott was a blast, this one—ostensibly filmed to promote Obama’s Let Girls Learn initiative—feels like an outlier. Is it really fair to compare her to pop stars at the top of their game? We think not.
37. Foo Fighters
It’s always fun to see James Corden rock out, although large groups don’t always make for the best Carpool Karaoke segments.
36. Iggy Azalea
There’s a couple of things going on here. She seems hesitant to really give in the the wackiness of the segment, she doesn’t have a massive library of hits to play on our nostalgia like most others on the list, and the time devoted to her now-canceled wedding is a bit sad to watch, knowing what we know now.
35. Red Hot Chili Peppers
Wrestling in random yards aside…just not one of our favorites.
34. Rod Stewart and A$ AP Rocky
Rod Stewart is a legend. A$ AP Rocky is a fantastic rapper. The two do not belong together. At all.
33. Jason Derulo
Like Iggy Azalea before him, Jason suffers from a lack of chart-toppers to rely on. The dance lesson towards the end is cute, though.
The best stuff happened outside of the car, which isn’t that unusual, especially when you have Usher. Let the man dance!
31. Katy Perry
Going on Carpool Karaoke and only singing your own songs is just kinda lame, and while Katy’s not the only one who’s done it, her Taylor Swift tea-spilling just wasn’t enough to save it. It actually made it feel like Katy was using CK specifically for her own agenda, and that does not fly with us.
Maybe we’ll bump her up a few spots, however, if this is what gets T Swift into that passenger seat.
30. Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Jane Krakowski and Audra McDonald
Bravo to using James’ stint hosting the Tonys to branch out and film a Broadway musical-centric segment with these four powerhouses, but there’s a reason pop music is the mainstay of Carpool Karaoke. Showtunes just don’t really fit the laid-back vibe needed for a cruise around town.
29. Carrie Underwood
For evidence of how much Carpool Karaoke has evolved from its early days, one needn’t look further than Carrie Underwood‘s ride around town. Carrie’s got some serious pipes, but the banter feels shaky and the two go boot shopping for almost three full minutes. Any time James and his guest need to get out of the car, we know that something isn’t vibing like it should.
28. Adam Levine
“Just two cool dads” singing all your favorite Maroon 5 songs.
27. One Direction
One Direction isn’t One Direction without Zayn Malik, you hear? Though, we’re not exactly sure where he’d have fit into the car if he was still in the band…
26. Gwen Stefani
We love Gwen, and she’s got more than enough hits between her years with No Doubt and her solo work, so why did she have to share the spotlight with George Clooney and Julia Roberts? The whole thing just felt weird.
25. Ed Sheeran
We were expecting a lot more from the guy James Corden kept calling the greatest male solo artist in the world.
Of course there’s acrobatics involved, it’s Pink!
23. Sam Smith
Sometimes special guests are a distraction, but Sam Smith and Fifth Harmony was just aces.
22. Miley Cyrus
Miley Cyrus knows how to have fun, which is always entertaining, plus when she gets the chance to put her vocals on display it’s even better.
21. Demi Lovato and Nick Jonas
Demi and Nick were totally charming, and we love seeing the best buds and one-time tourmates together, but is it too much to ask for solo outings from both in the future? They’ve got enough hits and personality to go around!
20. Chris Martin
Chris Martin is surprisingly funny (who knew!?) and has a wicked Mick Jagger impression that you need to see, but, much like their Super Bowl halftime performance, Coldplay’s library of sleepy, dreamy rock is a bit too low energy for Carpool Karaoke.
19. Bruno Mars
Between Bruno’s silky vocals, his Elvis impersonation, all the hats, and his improvised duet with James hilariously entitled “Wine and Wet Wipes,” this was a solid Carpool Karaoke. A little bit more mid-tempo music than we’d usually prefer, but solid nonetheless.
Terence Patrick/CBS Broadcasting, Inc.
18. Christina Aguilera
Christina Aguilera did all of her classics AND had Melissa McCarthy show up. Iconic.
CBS Broadcasting, Inc.
17. Selena Gomez
What young Selena may lack in an a deep bench of hits (she’s got plenty, but not as many of a lot of others on this list), she completely makes up for in charm and the fact that she hopped on a freaking roller coaster with James and belted her face off while still looking fierce AF.
16. Britney Spears
Yes, Britney looked nervous. Yes, she oddly mouthed the words to much of the music. But the few moments of playfulness she did give us were so good, it had us screaming “Gimme more.” Should she really be this high on the ranking? Maybe not. But come on, it’s Britney, bitch.
Terence Patrick/CBS Broadcasting, Inc.
15. Shawn Mendes
Swoon. There’s talk about underwear, Harry Potter, singing and just general merriment.
14. Elton John
Elton John‘s saucy personality, his decades of hits, and his penchant for ridiculous costumes make the perfect recipe for a delightful Carpool Karaoke.
The Queen of Pop did not disappoint during her time riding shotgun with James. She vogued, she twerked, she freaking sang the Evita classic “Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina” a capella! The only thing keeping Madonna from ranking any higher was the relatively dull chatter during the breaks between belting out her hits. We did enjoy her cheeky tease about an eyebrow-raising night out with Michael Jackson, though.
She may have kept the wig on the entire time, but Sia wasn’t holding back during her trip with James. Of course, she belted her face off on hits “Chandelier” and “Alive,” but she also gave us a rare glimpse into the person behind the wig with her surprising views on aliens and an even more surprising demonstration of her ability to balance a dozen eggs on her hands. Yes, really.
11. Ariana Grande
Ariana Grande‘s Celine Dion impression is the gift that keeps on giving. That, coupled with James Corden carrying her into a Starbucks, their duet to “Suddenly Seymour” and her amazing pipes in general make this an excellent Carpool outing.
10. Mariah Carey
Make no mistake: Queen Mariah was instrumental in Carpool Karaoke becoming the phenomenon it is today. Without her, the segment might have never even gotten off the ground. She was unbelievably game to banter with James and belt out our fave (“Always Be My Baby”), but at just over five minutes, the inaugural clip can’t help but pale in comparison to those that have come after it. If anyone is deserving of a round two now that Carpool Karaoke is an institution, it’s the woman who helped kick things off.
9. Stevie Wonder
All you need to see is the moment tears well up in James’ eyes as Stevie serenades his wife over the phone to know how special a segment this was to the host. That we were able to go along for the ride was just icing on the cake.
8. Kelly Clarkson
Kelly Clarkson‘s personality is infectious. It also helps that she can SING. Everything is on full display during her trip in the car.
7. Harry Styles
As if Styles still needed to prove his worth as a solo artist after an incredible debut album and a week of residency on The Late Late Show, his Carpool Karaoke did it. He’s charming, funny, willing to play the Julia Roberts role in Notting Hill, able to pull off even the most nippley of shirts, and truly kills in an “Endless Love” duet that we will never forget. We’re emotional…but in a cool way.
6. Justin Bieber
Say what you will about Justin, he’s the only person on this list who’s been asked to come back and film a second segment. The kid’s got hits aplenty and has a charming rapport with James. While we might grow weary if this somehow turns into a trilogy, Bieber’s pair of segments are classic Carpool Karaoke.
5. Jennifer Lopez
The Leonardo DiCpario text seen ’round the world easily elevated J.Lo’s trip in James’ car to Top 10 status. But it was her engaging personality and unexpected vocal chops that made her Top Five.
4. Jennifer Hudson
There are few moments on Carpool Karaoke that have been funnier than Jennifer Hudson singing James’ drive-thru order to one lucky fast food employee. J.Hud looked like she was having a blast during her drive—and that voice, come on! One of the all-time CK greats.
3. Lady Gaga
In case anyone had forgotten that Lady Gaga is one of the greatest vocalists in the game, along came her Carpool Karaoke segment. Seriously, the sheer vocal intensity delivered while merely sitting in a car is astounding. As if that wasn’t enough (even though it really, really was), she also made CK history by being the first person to drive James around for a bit (and make him incredibly nervous in the process). Plus, she was funny as hell. Mother Monster did good.
2. Paul McCartney
Where to begin? Did you ever think you’d cry watching a Carpool Karaoke? Paul McCartney‘s extended outing with James Corden took this segment to a whole other level.
Did you expect anyone else? Between her hilarious stories, her jaw-dropping voice, and her badass performance of Nicki Minaj‘s verse in “Monster,” Adele‘s Carpool Karaoke segment is undeniably the gold standard. Long may she reign.