Fallon teased the appearance on his Instagram earlier Monday, saying, "I wanted to make sure we have a very very special, big musical performance and we got one!"
The 43-year-old presenter fronted the show for the first time since Gloria Fallon died from undisclosed causes on November 4, and Jimmy began by explaining that he had been absent from TV because he's been spending time with family, before he shared a childhood story. Upon reflection for his mother, he said, "Mom, I'll never stop trying to make you laugh".
Fallon, who's normally the most cheerful man in late night, almost broke down in tears as he recounted his mom holding his hand when he was a kid, and how she did the same when she was in the hospital. I love you.' I was crying. "She was not scheduled to do our show today".
"Last week I was in the hospital and I grabbed her and squeezed her and said, 'I love you, '" he continued.
Swift, who performed two tracks off her hit album on NBC's Saturday Night Live over the weekend, played "New Year's Day" while seated behind a piano and flanked with a small group of backup singers. "Tears. I think everyone in the audience started sobbing", he wrote. It was a handsome coincidence in a lovely performance.
Later in the song, Swift sang another line that struck a chord: "Hold on to your memories, they will hold on to you". That hug between Jimmy and Taylor after the song was 100% real emotion. She was a nun for about a month, but then she was like, 'You know what? "Thank you for helping me and my family recover form this loss".