Taylor Swift was the surprise musical guest on Monday’s “The Tonight Show staring Jimmy Fallon,” and the story behind her appearance is a pretty emotional one.
Following Taylor’s performance of “New Year’s Day,” “Tonight Show” producer Mike DiCenzo explained on Twitter that Taylor wasn’t originally scheduled to be on the show, but since it was Jimmy’s first show back since the death of his mother they “wanted something special” so they reached out to Taylor since she was in New York for “SNL” and, “she said yes with zero hesitation.”
And her choice of song had particularly important meaning to Jimmy, who explained in his tribute to his mom that they used to squeeze each other’s hands three times and say I love you, and added, “Last week I was in the hospital and I grabbed her and squeezed ‘I love you.’ I just knew we were in trouble, you know?”
“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,” DiCenzo noted. “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. ‘Hold on to your memories, they will hold on to you,’ Taylor sang.”
He added, “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.”