Ryan Seacrest 'did not have any kind of stroke' on American Idol finale
Fans expressed their worry on social media about the American Idol host, who appeared to have a droopy eye and slurred speech during a small portion of the Sunday night finale.
Near the end of the finale, Seacrest appeared normal as he introduced a special performance of this season's Top 11 doing a medley of Aretha Franklin hits along with Cynthia Erivo, who portrays the Queen of Soul in this fall's Genius: Aretha. After, though, Seacrest's right eye suddenly appeared droopy and his speech was slightly slurred as he moved on to reveal the Top 2. Working from home — where he's been hosting the singing competition the past few weeks as well as continuing to do his daily radio show and cohosting Live With Kelly and Ryan — Seacrest kept the show moving, but many took notice, expressing concern on social media.
"Is Ryan Seacrest okay? Not making light of this. He went from normal to his speech being off and his eye shutting halfway," one viewer noted on Twitter. Said another, who tagged Idol judge Katy Perry: "I’m a speech-language pathologist and just watched Ryan Seacrest at the end of the American Idol show. His right eye and corner of the right side of his mouth both appeared to droop on air. He seemed disoriented momentarily and his speech sounded slurred."
“Like many people right now, Ryan is adjusting to the new normal and finding work-home balance, with the added stress of having to put on live shows from home," Seacrest's rep continued in the statement to PEOPLE.
The popular host was also absent from Monday's episode of Live, where Kelly Ripa explained that husband Mark Consuelos was filling in for Seacrest because he had a long Sunday night with the Idol finale.
“Between Live with Kelly and Ryan, American Idol, On Air with Ryan Seacrest, and the Disney Family Singalong specials, he has been juggling three-four on-air jobs over the last few weeks and he’s in need of rest,” his rep added. “So today he took a well-deserved day off.”
Last May, a few weeks before the season finale, EW sat down with Seacrest prior to a live episode and he talked about his work grind and how he wasn't sure he'd be able to make all of his shows work. "Moving to New York was significant because I had lived here in California for almost 20 years," he says of landing the Live cohosting job in May 2017. "And I will tell you, when I sat down and tried to figure out how to do the show, four hours of live radio, and getting back here on Sundays, I kept telling everybody I could do it but I wasn’t quite sure I was going to be able to pull it off. And we’ve got it down to a science. It’s the most I’ve ever worked."
This season of Idol was a bit different, though, because of production constraints due to COVID-19. The finale, like the three episodes before it, was comprised of remote performances and judges' commentary, while Seacrest hosted from home, with some portions pre-recorded and others live. Just Sam was crowned the winner in Sunday's finale, which included at-home performances from the Top 5 as well as judges Katy Perry and Luke Bryan, and a new, all-star performance of judge Lionel Richie's "We Are the World."
The ABC singing competition has been renewed for season 4.