‘American Idol’ notes: no stroke for Ryan Seacrest, finale ratings, Clay Aiken, Katharine McPhee

The “American Idol” Sunday night season 18 finale, a mix of pre-taped and live segments, was super awkward at times and Ryan Seacrest had to release a statement denying he had a stroke.

Some social media hawks thought he momentarily slurred his words and one of his eyes was bigger than the other.

“Ryan did not have any kind of stroke last night,” a rep told People magazine in an exclusive statement. “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.”

The statement effectively blamed plain fatigue.

Seacrest is known to be unflappable in the face of any live event but even he struggled at times during the live portions when there were technical or logistical issues. As he was naming the top two, the sound went out at points. He also wasn’t sure if he was supposed to talk to the three eliminated singers.

And here is how the Just Sam winning announcement went. She had confined herself in Los Angeles rather than go home in New York City in the midst of the pandemic and had nobody to hug when she got the win.

She was sent a confetti cannon but didn’t use it on TV.

Overnight ratings for the "Idol" finale was 7.3 million with a 1 rating for the 18-49 demo. Both were the lowest ever for the show.

The ratings were also down from 8.8 million a year ago with  1.5 18-49 demo rating.

Ratings dropped off after the show went remote.

These numbers do not include on-demand and DVR usage.

MJ provided all the overnight ratings for the season:

American Idol season 18

Auditions Part 1 – 1.5 key demo 8.07 million viewers
Auditions Part 2 – 1.4 key demo 7.50 million viewers
Auditions Part 3 – 1.3 key demo 7 million viewers
Auditions Part 4 – 1.3 key demo 7.2 million viewers
Auditions Part 5 – 1.3 key demo 7.5 million viewers
Hollywood Genre Challenge – 1.2 key demo 6.3 million viewers
Hollywood Duets – 1.4 key demo 7.7 million viewers
Hollyweed Solos – 1.4 key demo 6.98 million viewers
Hawaii Top 40 Showcase pt 1 – 1.3 key demo 7.3 million viewers
Hawaii Top 40 Showcase pt 2 – 1.2 key demo 6.9 million viewers
This Is Me Part 1 (clip show) – 1.0 key demo 5.8 million viewers
This is Me Part 2 (clip show) – 0.8 key demo 5.5 million viewers
Top 20 at Home – 1.0 key demo 6.1 million viewers
Top 11 revealed – 0.9 key demo 6.4 million viewers
Top 7 revealed – 1.0 key demo 6.1 million viewers
Finale Winner Announced – 1.0 key demo 7.3 million viewers


Credit: ABC

Credit: ABC

“Idol” has been renewed for 2021 but none of the judges or Ryan Seacrest have signed new contract. We’ll see how that plays out. So far, ABC has kept the panel stable over its first three seasons with “Idol.”


Here are some “Idol” alums and radio airplay of their latest singles, based on Mediabase 24/7.


Scotty McCreery “In Between” #7 (50 weeks on the chart)

Carrie Underwood “Drinking Alone” #10 (27 weeks on the chart)

Laura Alaina “Getting Good” #38 (19 weeks on the chart)

Hot AC
Kelly Clarkson "I Dare You" #17 (four weeks on the chart)

Gabby Barrett “I Hope” #43 (previously No. 1 on the country chart)

Christian AC

Danny Gokey “Love God Love People” #28 (two weeks on the chart)

Colton Dixon “Miracles” #29 (eight weeks on the chart)

Mandisa “Waymaker” #35


So what's Clay Aiken up to? As a former House Democratic candidate, he is now moderating a weekly political podcast.

He joined the podcast just as the pandemic began in early March.

Here is how the podcast promotes itself:

Election 2020 is here and the countdown to our future has begun! But before we put any misplaced
trust in the people trying to lead us, Politicon is recruiting our fellow Americans to see if they have
what it takes! Join our moderator Clay Aiken and the live audience on set and on the web as they
grill an all partisan panel of the sharpest, funniest, and most innovative minds in politics, media,
and comedy to see if they're the ones we should have running things-- and what they think about
the people who are. There will be some brilliance, some BS, some name calling and even some
bonding, as Politicon's "How The Heck Are We Going To Get Along?" brings in all sides to find out
if our country still has a fighting chance at making it to 2021...and if we're lucky, even finding some
common ground in the process.


“Stars in the House,” a daily live streamed concert series, featured a reunion Sunday of the NBC show “Smash,” including “Idol” alum Katharine McPhee and Megan Hilty. The show originally aired in 2012 and 2013.

The reunion comes a few days prior to the May 20 live stream of the 2015 "Bombshell" concert, in which the  "Smash" cast reunited to sing through the score of the musical within the show, about the life of Marilyn Monroe. It will stream on PEOPLE.com.

McPhee, who joined in on the “We are the World” reunion Sunday night on the finale, married producer David Foster last year.