Is Ryan Seacrest Okay? TV Host Blames Bizarre 'American Idol' Appearance On 'Exhaustion' — But Is There More To It?

Photo: Getty
Is Ryan Seacrest Okay? TV Host Blames Bizarre 'American Idol' Appearance On 'Exhaustion' — But Is There More To It?

Ryan Seacrest's reps — and Seacrest, himself — is saying that he's fine after an American Idol episode that worried fans over the weekend. The 45-year-old star was hosting the season finale of American Idol from his home when he appeared to stumble over words and one of his eyes looked more closed than the other. Audiences watching his performance started to wonder if something was wrong with the very busy TV host.  

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Fans took Seacrest's unusual appearance seriously and commented on social media that they were concerned that he was having a stroke. He finished the show but didn't appear on Live With Kelly and Ryan the following morning, leading to speculation that he really was unwell.

His reps now say it was just exhaustion and he's back at work.

Is Ryan Seacrest okay?

What was going on with Ryan Seacrest during the American Idol finale

Seacrest was overseeing the first-ever virtual finale of American Idol on Sunday when fans noticed that he was stumbling over his words and his face looked suddenly uneven, which you can see in the video above. The lid of one of his eyes appeared to be dropping over the eye and he had trouble saying names like Aretha Franklin and National Geographic. Twitter lit up with audience members wondering if they were watching a stroke happening in real-time. Seacrest rallied and finished the show but was absent from Live With Kelly and Ryan the following morning, which fueled the rumors that something is wrong.

Seacrest stumbled over his lines during the American Idol finale. 

The signs of stroke do include facial drooping.

Fans weren't just being glib when they wondered about a stroke. The symptoms of a stroke — the common term for a blood clot in the brain that can cause brain damage or even death — are well known and experts use the acronym FAST to describe what to look for and what to do if you think someone is having a stroke

F – Face drooping. Is one side of the person’s face drooping or numb? When he or she smiles, is the smile uneven?
A – Arm weakness. Is the person experiencing weakness or numbness in one arm? Have the person raise both arms. Does one of the arms drift downward?
S – Speech difficulty. Is the person’s speech suddenly slurred or hard to understand? Is he or she unable to speak? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Can he or she repeat it back?
T – Time to call 9-1-1. If any of these symptoms are present, dial 9-1-1 immediately. Check the time so you can report when the symptoms began.

Seeing Seacrest fumble words and show what looked like facial drooping was a legitimate cause for concern. 

Seacrest's reps say he was just tired.

After the worrying episode on Idol and his absence from Live With Kelly and Ryan Monday morning, fans were understandably worried about Hollywood powerhouse. His spokesperson explained the whole situation by saying that the star was just tired from the strain of the past few weeks. 

"Ryan did not have any kind of stroke last night," the representative said. "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. 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 [Monday] he took a well-deserved day off."

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Was Seacrest having a panic attack?

Exhaustion is not outside the realm of possibility but Seacrest is well known for working multiple gigs during normal times: American Idol, Live with Kelly and Ryan, Disney Family Sing-Along, and hiw own radio show. He usually seems to have boundless energy. But he also has boundless support for most of his jobs and can count on an in-person crew of people to be there to help when he's on-camera. Doing all his usual work from home with limited tech support could be having an emotional effect on even as seasoned a performer as Seacrest. It's possible that what happened on Idol was an episode of anxiety that caused him to stumble over his words and show some physical signs of discomfort like rubbing his hands together and looking down. 

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All of us are familiar with the feelings of being overwhelmed and panicky while trying to do our jobs well from a distance and Seacrest may be no different. 

Could Seacrest be due for Botox?

The most Hollywood explanation for what happened is that Seacrest, like many others, can't get to his dermatologist for his usual skin treatments and audiences are seeing what he looks like without those services.

Facial asymmetry is incredibly common. Millions of people look in the mirror every day and see uneven eyebrows or a crooked smile. Those little imperfections can become more noticeable with age. A good cosmetic derm can help even out quirks like that with just a few strategically placed injections of Botox or filler. (Believe me when I say this works, I've been doing it myself for years!)

If Seacrest, like many of us, is seeing the effects of gravity on his face over the years, he might be accustomed to getting injectable treatments to perfect his face before he goes on camera. However, most cosmetic injectibles wear off after a few months and you need to go get them refreshed to keep the effects going. In this quarantine period, he is likely cut off from his usual providers and can't get buffed and polished the way he usually would. 

He was back on TV on Tuesday.

As if to prove he was okay, Seacrest was back on Live on Tuesday morning. He didn't specifically answer the questions about whether or not he'd had a stroke, speaking instead more generally. “I want to thank Mark [Consuelos] for filling in yesterday,” he commented. “He’s so good at it, also, all the very kind well-wishes for my exhaustion, working around the clock. I got a day off to relax and here we are once again, at it on Live.”

He did step up to point out something questionable with his co-host's appearance. He noticed that Kelly Ripa still had clips in her hair and she abashedly took them out on camera, muttering that no one in her family told her they were there before she went on air from her home. 

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Rebekah Kuschmider has been writing about celebrities, pop culture, entertainment, and politics since 2010. She is the creator of the blog FeminXer and she is a cohost of the weekly podcast The More Perfect Union.