Billie Eilish Tapes ‘Secret’ Colbert Appearance

(This post was updated 5/15/24 at 2pm ET after CBS announced an airdate for Eilish’s appearance.)

Audience members at Tuesday’s taping of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert were treated to a surprise appearance from Billie Eilish.

The newly minted Oscar winner sat for an interview with Colbert and then performed two songs, “Lunch” and “The Greatest,” from her forthcoming album Hit Me Hard and Soft. (Due to tech issues, two performances were recorded of each song.)

That makes the Colbert audience the first crowd to hear those songs, which have not been heard in full ahead of the album’s release this Friday.

Eilish’s appearance was kept secret until midway through the taping. “It was a complete surprise,” said one reddit user who attended the show. “We were initially told by Stephen that it was going to be Jennifer Hudson and an actress who’s playing Amy Winehouse in a biopic. But after Jennifer Hudson’s interview he said that it was going to be someone else but he wouldn’t reveal it until he introduced them. 

Shortly after this post was published, CBS announced Eilish’s appearance would air next Tuesday May 21.

The appearance marks Eilish’s first time appearing in studio on The Late Show — in a way, her first time on The Late Show at all. While she visited Colbert twice before in 2021, both appearances were done remotely amid the pandemic, when the host was calling the program *A* Late Show.

One of the not-so-well-kept secrets of Colbert’s Late Show is that what looks on TV like a live-to-tape hour-long show frequently includes segments recorded days—or even months—ahead of time. 

This Thursday‘s “Colbert Questionnaire” with David Letterman, for example, was recorded during Letterman’s visit to the show back in November. And Paul Simon’s performance on Monday’s show—Colbert’s 60th birthday—was taped during his appearance in March.

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