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Ryan Seacrest dismisses speculation he had a stroke during ‘American Idol’ finale

Ryan Seacrest
“American Idol” host Ryan Seacrest took a day off after Sunday night’s finale.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

Longtime “American Idol” host Ryan Seacrest worried several fans during Sunday night’s finale when he appeared to have difficulty speaking for a portion of the virtual broadcast.

But according to a statement obtained Monday by People magazine, the multi-hyphenate entertainer is just fine — if a little stressed — after closing out the competition show’s 18th season.

Multiple “American Idol” viewers pointed out Sunday that Seacrest seemed to be having a harder time than usual delivering his lines, and that his right eye looked halfway shut toward the end of the show, prompting the question, “Is Ryan Seacrest OK?”

The veteran host was also absent from Monday’s episode of “Live With Kelly and Ryan”: “Ryan worked late last night on ‘American Idol,’ so he’s taking the morning off,” co-host Kelly Ripa explained while sitting beside her husband, actor Mark Consuelos, who filled in for Seacrest.

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In response to mounting concern from fans, a representative for Seacrest told People, “Ryan did not have any kind of stroke last night.”

For the first time ever, “American Idol” put on a quarantined show with judges and contestants appearing from their homes in more than 20 locations.

“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,” the statement 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. So today he took a well-deserved day off.”

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Seacrest was back on his game when the time came to crown Sunday’s winner, Samantha “Just Sam” Diaz, a 21-year-old New York subway singer from Harlem who couldn’t stop screaming after her name was announced.

“Thank you so much, America,” she said, video-chatting her grandmother from home. “I would have never ever, ever expected this. Thank you, thank you, thank you for voting for me.”

“Sam, congratulations,” Seacrest said, clapping. “Yeah, you did it!”


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