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Corden was pulled from the studio unexpectedly Tuesday for an exciting reason: His wife had gone into labor with the couple’s third child. Luckily, Styles had just made an appearance on the show Monday and still happened to be in Los Angeles. So, with two-and-a-half hours’ notice, the pop star was able to drive across town, throw on a blazer, and give America the 30 minutes of upbeat comedy it craved.
He did a full monologue, interviewed guests Joel Edgerton, Jane Krakowski, and Owen Wilson, and introduced a musical performance from Seal, all with his signature pop star cool. The studio audience seemed surprised to say the least:
Corden announced his daughter’s birth and thanked Styles for filling in on Twitter Tuesday evening:
Today we welcomed a beautiful baby daughter into the world. Both she and her mother are doing great. We can’t stop smiling. Thank you Harry for stepping in to host the show at 2 and a half hours notice! x x x— James Corden (@JKCorden) December 13, 2017
This wasn’t Styles’ first time in a late-night host’s chair. Earlier this year he “killed” Jimmy Fallon to take over the Tonight Show.
“I want you to know that I, of course, realize that this is James’ show,” Styles joked during the monologue. “It’s his show, and this is a one-time-only, one-time thing. Unless CBS likes what they see.”
Christine Friar is a writer and editor in New York who focuses on streaming entertainment and internet culture. Her work has appeared in the Awl, the Fader, New York Magazine, Paper Magazine, Vogue, Elle, and more.