Ryan Seacrest did an interview with the Straits Times (funny name, ha) of Singapore in conjunction with a Sinaporean version of Idol:
- Now that American Idol is over, how are you feeling?
(Audible sigh of relief) Well, I’m getting a little more sleep, you know. It’s balancing two TV shows and two radio shows during American Idol. I’m getting a little bit of rest, and following the career of Fantasia Barrino, who’s just in this storm of media frenzy. But I think we had a very compelling and exciting season this time around.
….How do you see yourself in the next five to 10 years?
I’d like to develop my business more, both in radio and TV, and emulate patterns of Dick Clark and Merv Griffin. They were very big personalities in radio and TV, but also developed production companies and produced television around the world. That’s kinda my game plan now.
How do you explain the winning formula of American Idol?
I think it’s the sum of all parts. If we all knew how to create blockbuster movies and TV shows, we would all be very, very successful, and have an over saturation of hit programming.
The fortunate thing with American Idol is that it struck at the right time, with the right chemistry that came from the judges panel.
They had the right component in leaving the competition to the public. It really is wholesome family entertainment. One thing I am proud of is that an eight-year-old can watch and enjoy it, as much as an 80-year-old.
Do you think that you could ever take part in American Idol?
Well, for one thing, I don’t know what it’s like to be able to sing, but I do know I love music. Maybe if I could sing, I would join.
How long do you think the American Idol phenomenon will last?
It will certainly be on the air for the next few years. There’s no telling what will happen after that but as long as people are watching it, then we should make the show.
Your banter with Simon Cowell on the show – is it real? What do you really think of Simon?
Well. (Short pause) I think that he’s pompous. I think he’s arrogant. So my feelings about him, and the way I address him on the air are very real.
However, at the same time, I understand that is the essence of Simon Cowell and I can appreciate that’s what he’s all about.
So although I see him for what he does and why he does it, we’ve still become friends and that’s why I can get away with saying anything to him on national television.
(Pause) I do respect his candour and honesty. But at the same time, I think he says things that are at times a bit too harsh and could probably convey them in a different light so that they don’t crush a young person’s dream.
I do think he’s the most honest of all the three judges.
Who is your all-time favourite finalist, and why?
The first winner, Kelly Clarkson, is always going to be a significant memory, because when you start a TV show like this, you never know what it’s going to become.
We were all very excited that it became as successful as it did. And it caught on in such a way that people of all ages, all colours and creeds were watching it. That win was special to all of us, and you always remember the first of everything in a different light.
What about this season? Did you think that Fantasia deserved to win?
Fantasia always stuck out to me. She always brought a sense of real (pause), a sense of realness. A sense of pride and passion for what she was doing. But at the same time, a realness that, I believe, connected with the audience. She really showed us who she was and she did it from the get-go.
She took the competition seriously but she didn’t take herself too seriously. And that is the formula of a star, of a singer, of a personality – you take your craft but not yourself too seriously.
The moment you start believing your own hype, you start to lose control and she really had a finger on it.
Let’s talk a bit about yourself. You dress very stylishly, and have been tagged a metrosexual. How do you feel about that?
I’m proud. I’m proud to be labelled a metrosexual. It is part of who I am. I have always loved clothes, have always loved style, fashion shows and magazines.
So one of the perks of being on television here is that you get a new closet of clothes and I’ve had some fun with it. And I have made my share of mistakes on TV. I have taken some punches from Simon and critics.
But I always pick out my wardrobe. No one tells me what to wear. I pick out what I want to put on that night. Sometimes it goes well, other times, it flops.
How did you come up with, Seacrest, Out!, and some of the things you say on air, like calling people darling?
You know, the guy that I am on American Idol is an extension of my personality in general. I am usually a pretty upbeat, hopefully, fun, nice person to be around.
The darling is just something I say to my friends, and to people on my radio programme when they call in, and it just happened on American Idol.
As for Seacrest, Out, that was an accident. I just remember having to close the show before the next show started. You know, we had like five seconds to get out, and I happened to say, ‘Thanks for watching, Seacrest, Out!’, just to make it quick and it stuck.
And I guess now when I leave a restaurant, people will scream, Seacrest, Out! (pause) of the restaurant.
I think Seacrest is a very likeable guy who sees the absurdity of it all but who also takes his responsibilities seriously, much as he advises others: take your craft seriously but not yourself. I agree with him Fantasia possessed that combination, and that allowed the judges and audience to see her talent for what it was (and is, of course).
I see Seacrest as someone who will always be underestimated – like his idols Dick Clark and Merv Griffin – but who will also always succeed wildly as long as he maintains his current perspective on things. His greatest value on Idol is that he genuinely cares about – and publicly sticks up for – the contestants. He is their ombudsman in the storm and provides ballast when the weight of criticism threatens to topple the ship.
What ever happened to that other plug?