In what, were I an adherent to that popular superstition known as Christianity, I would have to call a sign of the imminent end of all things, it was announced today that Ryan Seacrest, best known as the host of American Idol, has signed a new four-year contract worth $45,000,000. He’s sneakin’ up on baseball money.
Seacrest’s ridiculous raise I’ll get to in a second. First let me get over the fact that American Idol is gonna be on for at least four more years. Jesus Christ, enough already. Hasn’t anyone yet caught on to the fact that it’s fucking Star Search without the comedians? I feel a little silly bitching about it, since I have never watched a second of a single episode, but I’m really sick of hearing about it. The primetime Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? died an anonymous death in a fraction of the time Idol’s been on the air, and it was way more entertaining — and it had Regis!
I think Ricky Gervais hit it right on the nose in the final episode of Extras when his character described American Idol this way: “Where, in the opening rounds, we wheel out the bewildered to be sniggered at by multimillionaires.”
As for Seacrest’s new contract . . . Why, exactly? He must’ve thought he really had the production company over a barrel, and apparently they agreed, but what is it that Ryan Seacrest does, exactly, that couldn’t be done just as well by any random person plucked from any random school of broadcasting? He’s not a bad looking dude. There’s lots of not-bad-looking dudes around. He’s relaxed and confident on camera. That’s worth more than you might think at first, but still hardly a rare skill. Other than that, I fail to see what he brings to the table.
But maybe I’ve just answered my own question. He’s a pretty face with okay mic skills — and that’s all he’s got. He’s a teleprompter-reading mannequin, a perfect empty vessel. He’s never going to be an actor, he’s never going to be a comedian, he’ll never be a writer, and he’ll never be a singer himself, only preside over the nationally televised taunting and humiliation of aspiring singers. Doing gigs like Idol is all he’s good for, and as long as they keep him well paid and well fed, the producers know they’ve got him as long as they want him.
A press release from Seacrest central is quoted in the linked news story as saying, “I look forward to expanding the relationship with [the producers] who share the same visionary approach to entertainment media that I strive for with every project.” Like I said, I don’t watch American Idol, so I’m not sure what his visionary approach to introducing amateur singers is. I know he hosts a show on E! as well. Am I missing something there? Has he totally revolutionized the way people interview Jake Gyllenhaal or promo paparazzi clips of Hayden Pantierre going shoe-shopping?