Reports from the scene later revealed that Ryan also danced a solo jig during Andrew Garcia's "Hound Dog" number and played air guitar to Lee's "A Little Less Conversation" performance on Tuesday.
But the weirdest Ryan incident had to be when he quite straightfacedly announced that next week's "Idol Gives Back" charity special would be co-hosted by his former cohort, Brian Dunkleman, who left "American Idol" after Season 1 and has since pretty much vanished into obscurity. The surprising news of Brian's return to the "Idol" stage elicited delighted gasps and cheers from the live studio audience...before Ryan revealed that he was just kidding. And no one laughed. Considering how Ryan's star has risen since he started hosting "Idol" on his own, while Brian's career has completely stalled, such a joke at Brian's expense seemed nasty and totally uncalled-for.
All this made me miss Paula's seal-clap, slurred speech, and tendencies to critique songs that have yet to be sung, aggressively promote her QVC jewelry, and draw Sharpie mustaches on her fellow judges. Paula may have been zany, but she was zany in a lovable way. She was never mean. She was always the butt of her own jokes.
What all this especially weird was that Ryan's own mother was in the audience Tuesday night, watching all of this go down. Surely she noticed her son was acting a little strange. The contestants certainly noticed. Crystal Bowersox told EW.com: "We were worried about Ryan a little. He was kooky, in a sweet Ryan kind of way." (Again, in my opinion, the Dunkleman diss was NOT sweet.) Katie Stevens even confronted Ryan about his batty behavior, according to EW.com: "I asked him, after dress rehearsal, 'Ryan, what is up with you?' And he goes, 'You know, I'm really, really tired right now, so I'm trying to fool myself into thinking that I'm awake.' [He was] over-caffeinated."
If that's what Ryan's like on too much caffeine, someone please keep him away from the free supply of Coca-Cola backstage from now on.
- Ryan Seacrest
- American Idol
- Paula Abdul