Celebrities & Pop Culture

The Touching Story Behind Taylor Swift’s Performance On ‘The Tonight Show’

This was Jimmy Fallon's first night back on the show since his mother died.

After losing his mom, Gloria, Jimmy Fallon returned to work at “The Tonight Show” on Nov. 13. The entertainer took the opportunity pay tribute to his late mother, including relaying a sweet anecdote about how they used to squeeze each other’s hands three times to indicate “I love you.”

That same night, pop star Taylor Swift made an appearance on “The Tonight Show” and played a song from her new album, “Reputation.” The song is called “New Year’s Day”—and the lyrics were so apropos for the occasion:

“You squeeze my hand three times in the back of the taxi/I can tell that it’s gonna be a long road/I’ll be there if you’re the toast of the town, babe/Or if you strike out and you’re crawling home.”

In a series of Tweets, Mike DiCenzio, a writer and producer on the show, revealed the story behind Swift’s touching performance. First, he explained that the first day back to work after Gloria’s death was difficult for everyone working on the show:

He then went on to say that no one had heard Fallon’s story about his hand-squeezing ritual with his mom:

He also revealed that Swift was not originally scheduled to appear on the show, but that she responded without hesitation to their last-minute request:

He says that when Swift sang the line about squeezing her lover’s hand three times, there was not a dry eye in the house:

And that Fallon himself was also moved to tears by the performance:

When she finished the song, Swift embraced Fallon, which DiCenzio called a display of “100% real emotion.”

Watch Swift’s emotional performance in the clip below:

People on YouTube were also blown away by the performance.

“This lyric coincidence… It’s like his Mom made sure to reply that she loves him too,” read one comment.

“That hug was so sincere! I thought they were gonna cry!” proclaimed another.

What a beautiful song and a touching story. We hope it brings some comfort to Fallon during this difficult time.