Many high-profile Hollywood personalities have had a hard time remaining connected to fans while engaging in the stay at home lifestyle that has become the norm due to Covid-19. As is so often the case, however, Ryan Seacrest has bucked that trend and shown that his star power can shine even while spending his days around the house. From interviews with some of today’s most relevant celebrities, to helpful articles on his website, to the actions of his non-profit foundation, the radio host has presented a great example of how to thrive during this difficult time. Read on for a look at how he’s keeping busy.
One of the ways Ryan Seacrest has been staying focused on work is to touch base with other Hollywood personalities to see how their daily life has shifted during the pandemic. This focus has not only helped many of us stay connected to the stars we like to follow, it has also helped share their outlook on weathering this challenging time. Topics covered in these interviews include a look at the family life of celebrities, their ability to keep working, and the adjustments that have been needed to exist within the new norms imposed by the emergence of the global health threat.
One example of this is the radio host’s recent chat with country singer Kelsea Ballerini, who joined his show via video call to discuss a variety of topics. One point of interest was the difficulty she encountered in releasing her new album just as the pandemic was hitting the world. Rather than be discouraged by this unfortunate timing, the singer sought out a creative solution that could help connect her with fans and bring her album into the world — drones. By delivering copies of her album to select fans via the drones, the singer was helping to show just one example of how creative solutions can be a boon while navigating the trials and tribulations of the pandemic.
The singer also discussed another pandemic-specific happening while on the show — her participation in a performance to pay tribute to the first responders who are risking their lives to help fight the pandemic. She spoke to the power of using music in this way while on the air with the radio host. “I feel like there’s no better time for music,” she shared. “I think it’s just like the biggest connector and I know for me as a fan it brings me so much peace to listen to music.” During the show, the singer performed a selection of her hits as well as a Fleetwood Mac cover to help show her appreciation of healthcare workers.
Another check-in with some well-known names came from an interview the radio host conducted with John Legend and Chrissy Teigen. This time the topic centered around family life and the ways the couple was helping to fill their own time in quarantine. One whimsical story came from their recounting of the marriage they recently set up with their daughter Luna for two of her stuffed animals. Teigen live-streamed the event on Instagram to help others share in the fun they were working to create for their daughter. The model “officiated” the wedding as her daughter and a small group of co-quarantiners looked on.
The fun-filled ceremony helped to showcase how the famous couple was dealing with some of the same struggles as much of the rest of the country — how to keep their family life engaging in the face of the pandemic. “[We’re] just trying to find creative ways to entertain the kids,” said Legend when discussing the subject. He added that they’ve also recently purchased camping gear so they could do some backyard camping as another activity. The discussion touches on the need for work/life balance that many people are butting up against as they confront the current circumstances of life with which we are all faced.
Streaming with friends
As many groups of friends have been forced to remain distant from each other during the days of the widespread stay-at-home orders, the need to be creative in maintaining a sense of community has become heightened. Many people have stepped up to that challenge by setting up virtual hangouts with others to talk and participate in group activities. Some popular virtual activities that have emerged during this time have been group game nights, online happy hours, and weekly chats to exchange details of ongoing life in quarantine.
Ryan Seacrest, like many people, has also worked hard to maintain his personal connections as much as possible. The radio personality recently spoke about an opportunity for this when detailing his plans for the July 4th holiday. The host’s plan accompanied the announcement from Disney that it is streaming the musical Hamilton on its Disney+ subscription service. The announcement gave Seacrest an idea for a way to watch the hit musical and spend virtual time with his friends over the long weekend by streaming the musical together.
“I’m already talking to my friends like how are we going to do it?” the host shared. “I have to BBQ. I have to have brats, dogs, burgers, chicken — I have to have all of it.” Initially stumped as to how to enjoy the traditional American celebration while staying safely socially distanced, the streaming service announcement gave him the inspiration for an activity that everyone could enjoy together. Now he’s planning to combine his cookout with the musical in one single day of fun. “You can BBQ and then [stream the musical] in the evening or at night,” said the radio host. “Do your BBQ, digest, and then Hamilton!”
While examining the topic of virtual streaming activities, we can also take a look at the ways in which Ryan Seacrest has managed to continue to bring music to his listeners even while navigating present world events. Known by many for his role as a radio host, the Hollywood personality is also the host of American Idol, the popular American talent show centered around singing performances. He has helped continue to bring that show to the television public while performing his hosting duties from his own home — replete with the show’s famous title font serving as his backdrop.
In addition to his work to bring singing performances to viewers through his work on American Idol, the host has also worked to continue bringing concerts and other performances to listeners via his radio show. One example of this is his recent discussion with Ben Platt, singer and star of Netflix’s “The Politician.” During the talk, Platt shared details of the show while also diving more deeply into his experience in quarantine. Part of that experience has been to collaborate on a new song about the present moment, called “So Will I.”
“I wrote this song … while I was here in quarantine, in isolation,” said Platt about the song. “I wanted to write a song that spoke to the moment and kind of the overwhelming heaviness that’s going on and hopefully provide some comfort.” The singer went on to perform a heartfelt rendition of the new track, providing listeners with a chance to experience a touching moment along with the artist and to hear a live performance of a song — a difficult thing to find at present.
The singer’s recent performance harkens back to the radio show’s rich history of hosting on-air talent. As the show awaits a time when it will be safe to bring artists back into the studio for live concerts once more, it is taking a look back at past performances to continue to bring music into the lives of listeners. Recent throwback concerts that have been featured by the show include Ed Sheehan and Charlie Puth. Listeners are encouraged to weigh in with their favorite past performances to be considered for future throwback concerts.
Digging into history
As a radio host and someone deeply involved in the music industry, Ryan Seacrest is tied to the Grammys in many ways. That’s one of the reasons it became a topic of hot discussion on his show when the long-standing award show publicly released its rule book for the first time in history. The set of rules, which detail the guidelines for the show, including the set of criteria judges should consider when voting in different categories, has long been held close to the chest. Now that the 66-page document is publicly available, revelations are coming forth that are shining light on some interesting parts of music lore.
One example of this, highlighted recently by the radio host, is the infamous story of 1990’s Best New Artist award. For those who aren’t familiar with the story, that was the year that the award was given to Milli Vanilli. The award, however, was later rescinded when it was discovered that the group didn’t sing any of its own music, and were lip-syncing instead. The controversy following that revelation only deepened when the award show did not present the award to any of the other nominees after the truth came out.
All these years later, the release of the Grammys rule book has helped to shed light on the circumstances surrounding that decision. As recounted by the radio host on his show, the rules state that “The Grammy process does not produce a ranked result with a winner and ordered runners-up. In any situation where a Grammy Award is withdrawn following the presentation, no award is given in that category for that year.” From this phrasing, it becomes clear that, although the original recipients of the 1990 award were disqualified, there is no process in place for a new recipient to be considered. This peek behind the award show’s process helps to provide answers related to a major point of contention in music history.
More on the category
Digging into the rule book further, the radio host also took time better understand other guidelines surrounding the Best New Artist category. This category is of particular interest to many music lovers as it has sometimes been the topic of additional controversy over the years. These controversies most often happen when a particular artist is presented with the award while members of the public feel another artist should have won. While these awards can be subjective, some people have called for further explanation of the process to explain some of these discrepancies.
Now, it seems, we have more of that explanation, stemming again from the release of the rulebook. Over the airwaves, the radio host helped break down the guidelines to help determine how they might have affected past awards. In this realm, the rule book states that “The primary element to consider is the artist’s performance. If the artist wrote most or all of the songs, this may be a secondary consideration. Production elements of the recording should not be considered.”
The host noted that, while this excerpt doesn’t explain away the controversy surrounding why certain artists with multiple years of experience have won the award in the past, it does provide context for selection criteria. It remains to be seen whether or not the release of this rulebook will help clear up some of these controversies or make the process more transparent to the average viewer. As the award show is still the result of a subjective voting process, it seems plausible that some differences of opinion may exist in the future on certain selections.
Another story that has been emerging from the radio host’s recent online communication is the ongoing efforts of his non-profit organization known as the Ryan Seacrest Foundation. The organization works to provide access to multimedia experiences to children undergoing treatment at pediatric hospitals. This is accomplished through the creation of broadcast media centers, known as Seacrest Studios, that provide children with the opportunity to participate in the broadcast experience.
The broadcast centers help to stimulate the minds and imaginations of patients which can be an empowering experience, especially in the face of difficult treatments. The work of the foundation aims to encourage optimistic thought and cultivate hope during such hard times. The organization often partners with local journalism schools and other similar institutions by providing an opportunity to gain experience in broadcasting, programming, and operating a multimedia center.
While some aspects of the organization’s mission have been difficult to keep running in their previous form during the pandemic, the foundation has been diligent in working to overcome hurdles in this process. One of the ways this has manifested is through virtual interviews between patients and celebrity guests. A recent example of this is an interview hosted by Dallas patients Caleb and Nneka as they chatted with country music singer Kelsea Ballerini.
The interview provided a great look into the inventiveness and ingenuity of kids and their ability to adjust in the face of change. To keep the interview engaging, the hosts played virtual games and quizzed the singer on some of their favorite topics. Interview questions included an exploration of favorite foods and some imaginatively posed “would you rather” topics. The singer also worked with the kids to help solve the mystery of the identity of a hidden object in a box, based only on a series of limited clues.
The foundation also often works to connect children in treatment programs with some of their favorite celebrities in order to help brighten their spirits. Though the global Covid-19 pandemic has complicated this part of the organization’s work, it is still actively engaging in visits via virtual connections. These virtual visits have been shown to have a strong effect on patient spirits and have helped kids stay in touch with the outside world, even while experiencing hardship in their own lives.
The radio host recently shared some stories of these types of visits via his social media presence. This included videos of kids connecting with Idina Menzel, known widely for her role as Elsa in the Disney animated film “Frozen.” Kids got to connect with the star over video chat and pose a variety of questions that she was more than happy to answer. One topic that featured heavily in conversation was a comparison between the first installation in the “Frozen” series, versus its sequel. The interactions, videos of which can be seen on the foundation’s twitter page, again show the resilient nature of children to adapt when it is needed.
While many high-level personalities have spent much of their quarantine hunkered down out of the limelight, Ryan Seacrest has found a myriad of ways to stay connected with fans all over the world. From brightening the experience of children undergoing medical treatments, to highlighting musical talent, to sharing the quarantine experiences of others in Hollywood, he has certainly kept busy. For those who are familiar with the radio host’s work, this probably comes as no surprise. As we all look forward to a return to normalcy in the future, the work by the host serves as a nice way to continue to connect to the world of entertainment and the arts.