Here’s the thing: James Corden knows that summer is for the bops, not the slow jams. “Whenever I turn the radio on now all I’m getting are slow, boring ballads,” the Late Late Show host lamented on Tuesday night (July 30). “Are you experiencing this? I want to roll down the windows, I want to jam out. No one wants to hear some guy on a guitar crying about his girlfriend in the middle of the summer. It just feels wrong. Seriously, who would want to listen to a ballad when you could listen to a great summer bop? They’re so boring.”
John Legend begged to differ. The sensual crooner interrupted Corden’s anti-ballad screed to let him know that he felt “attacked” and that, for him, “summer’s a time to slow things down.” That, of course, meant it was time to fire up The Filharmonic for one of the show’s legendary riff-offs.
Corden threw down first with a zip through the Jonas Brothers‘ “Sucker,” with Legend parrying with All-4-One‘s silky sizzler “I Swear.” Round two found Corden pledging “no more Mr. Nice Guy” before slashing through Billie Eilish‘s “Bad Guy,” as Legend sought clarification on a lyric. “Did you just say you’re gonna seduce my dad?” he wondered. “Yeah, I’m a dad guy,” Corden shot back, awkwardly. “My father’s a happily married man, that’s messed up!” Legend pleaded.
Legend then stacked the deck with a slam dunk run through a song everyone could sing along to that didn’t involve seducing his pops: his hit weeper “All of Me.” Corden had to admit defeat. “Fine, you win. Maybe it’s not about ballads, maybe it’s not about bops,” a weepy Corden admitted. “Maybe I’m just not good enough to sing either one of those. Fine, fine, you win… you promised that you liked my perfect imperfections.”
Legend consoled him with the thought that “maybe there’s a world where the song of the summer is a ballad… We could combine the bop and the ballad.” Check out the song that brought their summer to a boil below and watch Legend revisit his days as a pre-teen spelling champ.