'American Idol' host Ryan Seacrest denies suffering stroke during Season 18 finale, rep says he's just stressed
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 05/18/2020
American Idol host Ryan Seacrest had viewers worrying he suffered a neurological issue of some kind or a stroke at the end of the Season 18 finale, but he's assuring the world he is okay.
With about 10 minutes left to go in American Idol's two-hour finale broadcast Sunday night on ABC, Ryan attempted to thank Cynthia Erivo for her performance and tease an upcoming Aretha Franklin tribute series on television.
However, Ryan uncharacteristically seemed off, and he slightly mumbled and slurred his words. One of his eyes also appeared much larger than the other as he hosted the show remotely from his home's garage.
Ryan, who is known for always being at the top of his game and delivering nearly-perfect hosting gigs, sent Twitter into a tizzy, with fans speculating something was seriously wrong on Sunday night.
Ryan was also absent from Live with Kelly and Ryan on Monday morning, according to People.
But Ryan's representative told the magazine, "Not to worry. Ryan did not have any kind of stroke last night."
"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."
Ryan's representative continued, "Between Live with Kelly and Ryan, American Idol, On Air with Ryan Seacrest, and the Disney Family Singalong specials, he has been juggling three to four on-air jobs over the last few weeks and he's in need of rest."
The rep therefore concluded that Ryan decided to take "a well-deserved day off."
Ryan, however, handled delays, awkward pauses and inconsistencies during American Idol's finale broadcast like a seasoned pro.
Ryan had to weave in and out of video chats with contestants; Idol judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie; and performances by singers and songwriters located in various places around the world.
Out of the Top 5 finalists, Just Sam received the most home viewer votes during Sunday night's live broadcast, and Arthur Gunn, a 21-year-old musician from Wichita, KS, finished as the runner-up.
"My dreams have come true," Just Sam gushed in tears after learning she's the new "American Idol."
"My grandmother is good, like, thank you so much, America! I never, ever, ever would have expected this! Thank you, thank you! Thank you for voting for me! Oh my God, I did it!"
American Idol's third, fourth and fifth-place finishers were not disclosed, but the Top 5 was also comprised of Dillon James, a 26-year-old construction worker from Bakersfield, CA; Francisco Martin, a 19-year-old college student from San Francisco, CA; and Jonny West, a 23-year-old piano teacher from Murietta, CA.