“When I was with Taylor Swift one year, it was cold, so I gave her my coat after she’d just performed and I realized all of my communication equipment was attached to it,” the Emmy winner, 48, exclusively told Us Weekly on Thursday, December 29, while promoting the holiday special with cohost Liza Koshy. “So, I couldn’t really communicate with anybody in the production, which I didn’t think about prior.”
When the Live With Kelly and Ryan personality began taking off his jacket to offer it to Swift, 33, during the live broadcast, the Midnights musician quipped: “Are you stripping? This is a family show. This is inappropriate!”
The moment with the “Anti-Hero” singer isn’t the only stressful moment that Seacrest has experienced while filming the live special over the years.
“I have been stuck in the elevator getting up to the ball before. That was a little stressful because they tell you to remain calm and it’s almost impossible,” the Georgia native — who cohosted New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Clark from 2005 to 2011 and took over for the cultural icon after his death in 2012 — shared. “There are things that happen along the way that come together in the final seconds. [For example], performers who are not ready, but we try to make things up to say in the interim so that it looks like we’re on schedule.”
Seacrest told Us that despite his years of experience, he still feels like he has something to prove every time the annual event rolls around. “I was a kid watching this show, watching other people do the things that I get a chance to do every day. Wanting to do it. And I feel like I’ve gotta prove that I’m worthy of doing it every single time,” he explained. “I think that is part of what keeps it exciting for me too.”
Koshy, 26, for her part, joined the special as a cohost for the first time in 2021. “I am looking forward to my second year. I’m not the new kid on the block anymore,” the YouTuber told Us. “I’m very happy to put all those learnings into use and to go down the streets again and be interactive with our huge crowd that’s coming.”
Last New Year’s Eve, Andy Cohen made headlines after he threw shade at Seacrest’s broadcast. “If you look behind me, you’ll see Ryan Seacrest’s group of losers performing,” Cohen, 54, said while cohosting CNN’s New Year’s Eve Live with Anderson Cooper. “I’m sorry, but if you’re watching ABC, you’re watching nothing.”
The Watch What Happens Live host later joked via Twitter that he had been “overserved” at the time of his comments. Although he laughed off his drunken rant, he expressed regret for calling out his fellow television personality.
“I did wind up kind of starting to throw ABC under the bus and that is my only regret from the night because I really like Ryan Seacrest,” the Missouri native said during a January appearance on The Howard Stern Show. “He’s a really nice guy. And I was — as they say — in my cups, and I was kind of enjoying the rant. I was like, ‘Wow, it’s really fun being on CNN just ranting like a nutty guy. This is fun.’ So, I kept going and that I felt bad about, and I texted Ryan the next morning.”
Seacrest told Us that he bears no ill-will toward his counterparts at CNN. “You know, those guys, we’ve been friends for so many years and we’re all in it together. We’re all out there blocks away from each other, bringing in the new year, trying to have a good time and convey that sort of fun. So, I wish them the best of luck and a great show,” he said.
Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve With Ryan Seacrest airs on ABC Saturday, December 31, at 8 p.m. ET.
With reporting by Christina Garibaldi.