As the world welcomes 2015, Ryan Seacrest will be getting a Swift kick.
The “American Idol” host will preside over “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve With Ryan Seacrest 2015” for the third time without the presence of the late entertainment icon who started the celebration. Taylor Swift will continue her media blitz of late as the headline performer on the annual special, which fills ABC’s prime-time hours and then continues in late-night Wednesday.
“This is the longest show I host,” confirmed Seacrest, who also steers radio’s daily “On Air With Ryan Seacrest” and weekly “American Top 40” (on which he succeeded another broadcasting legend, the late Casey Kasem). “It is five-and-a-half-hours for the full sweep of live coverage and performances, so it’s a real marathon of television.”
Still, Seacrest maintained, “Because of the event and the energy and the electricity, you don’t really think about it when you’re on the air. There’s so much anticipation leading up to midnight, it really goes by very, very quickly.
“And I have found that with every artist who’s with us in Times Square, they’re elated to be on this show because of its historical value, and to be there celebrating their music and celebrating what is about to be the ball drop. Everybody wants to be in Times Square on New Year’s Eve.”
Seacrest will be in that New York location as usual with co-host Jenny McCarthy, while Fergie again oversees Hollywood-based segments. Besides Swift, East Coast performers will include Florida Georgia Line, MAGIC!, Idina Menzel and (from Brooklyn’s Barclays Center) Elton John – while the West Coast lineup offers Iggy Azalea, Jason Derulo, One Direction, Meghan Trainor and Charli XCX. Additionally, portions from Nashville will feature Lady Antebellum and Gavin DeGraw.
Since Swift’s current “1989” album includes a song titled “Welcome to New York,” she’s an appropriate choice to join Seacrest in that city to ring in the new year. And that’s only one reason.
“I’ve known her a long time,” he said. “She’s been on this show before, early on in her career. We knew she was going to make a leap into pop music from country, and her team and ours decided to join forces and come up with a plan for the end of the year that would celebrate what we knew would be a big success. She’s broken record after record, so I don’t know if anyone anticipated the level of that success, but it worked out great for all of us.”
“American Idol” launches its 14th season Jan. 7 on Fox, and revving up for that always is a part of Seacrest’s busy holiday season. That itinerary usually leaves him with little doubt of what he’ll be doing on Jan. 1.
“We finish (‘New Year’s Rockin’ Eve’) at about 1:30 in the morning in Times Square,” he reported. “That’s our last live moment, and we haven’t had a glass of champagne and we haven’t had a bite to eat … so we’ve decided each year to find some restaurant in Manhattan that will keep the kitchen open and allow us to go in and actually have dinner at about 2 a.m. The crew and some of the musical artists go with us.
“We have our toast about midway through, and you’re about to fall into the plate,” added Seacrest, “so generally, I then do something that I generally don’t do enough of. And that is to sleep in on New Year’s Day.”