Taylor Swift surprised Jimmy Fallon on the "Tonight Show" show with a performance for his first show back since his mother passed away last week.
Swift delivered an emotional performance of "New Year's Day."
Fallon canceled all of last week's tapings following the death of his mother, Gloria Fallon. He returned Monday night, still visibly shaken from his loss. Holding back tears, Fallon at one point recalled a childhood memory of his mom squeezing his hand three times to say "I love you."
"Tonight Show" writer and producer Mike DiCenzo took to Twitter for some background on Swift’s performance. He wrote, “She was not scheduled to do our show today. But we wanted something special for this first show back, so we asked her on a complete whim since she had been in town doing SNL. She said yes with zero hesitation."
While singing "New Year's Day,” Swift delivered a lyric which paraphrases Fallon’s tender story -- "Squeeze my hand three times in the back of the taxi." DeCenzo and the "Tonight Show" crew were in tears. He shared, " I think everyone in the audience started sobbing. I could see Jimmy silhouetted at his desk dabbing his eyes with a tissue. We all lost it. It was a beautiful coincidence in a beautiful performance."
He added that Fallon and Swift’s hug at the end was "100% real emotion. Whatever you think of Taylor, she did something beautiful for Jimmy and our show today, and we're forever grateful."
I'm sure today was especially tough for Jimmy. The fact that he came out, stood there, and did a normal monologue for the crowd is a testament to how strong he is.— Mike DiCenzo (@mikedicenzo) November 14, 2017
But at the desk, you could hear his voice break when talking about our musical guest Taylor Swift, and that's because he knew what he was about to say...— Mike DiCenzo (@mikedicenzo) November 14, 2017
She sang "New Year's Day." No one had heard it. Suddenly she sings the line, "Squeeze my hand 3 times in the back of the taxi." I nearly gasped. Tears. I think everyone in the audience started sobbing.— Mike DiCenzo (@mikedicenzo) November 14, 2017
That hug between Jimmy and Taylor after the song was 100% real emotion. Whatever you think of Taylor, she did something beautiful for Jimmy and our show today, and we're forever grateful.— Mike DiCenzo (@mikedicenzo) November 14, 2017
Thank you to Taylor, the Roots, Higgins, our whole staff and crew, and to all the FalPals, fans, and everyone who reached out to and supported Jimmy and his family. I can tell you it meant everything to him.— Mike DiCenzo (@mikedicenzo) November 14, 2017