With 2020 officially getting kicked to the curb on Thursday night (Dec. 31), Ryan Seacrest is hoping to set the stage for a better year when he interviews President-Elect Joe Biden and wife Jill Biden just before the ball drops at midnight as part of “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve With Ryan Seacrest.”
“We are going to talk to President-Elect Biden and Dr. Jill Biden moments before the New Year, and we are going to put them up on the big screens in Times Square, so they can talk to those who are actually there and probably have a message for those essential workers who have gotten us through this tough year,” he tells Variety.
Although Seacrest hasn’t had time to prepare for his interview yet, the “American Idol” host and “Live With Kelly and Ryan” cohost is looking forward to starting 2021 on a positive note.
“I’m hoping for a conversation about good things to come in this next year and us getting through this challenge that we’re still in the middle of,” says the multi-hyphenate. “But it will be a conversation of hopefulness and unity.”
With just one day left to go, Seacrest and his co-host Lucy Hale are already situated in New York City getting ready for the Times Square send-off, which is going to be quite different than last year. There will be no revelers outside of a small group of invited guests, and the hosts will have separate stages. But the music will be live, with headliner Jennifer Lopez returning to the show after a decade, Cyndi Lauper saluting Broadway with “Kinky Boots” star and NYE host Billy Porter, country singer Jimmie Allen and rapper-rocker Machine Gun Kelly.
“We’re putting it together as we speak, but we had a chance to really see it in action last night,” Seacrest says. “Jennifer Lopez will be up on the big stage that she is used to being on when she was on ten years ago. Lucy, Billy and myself will have different stages at different locations around Times Square. When we are down on street level near people, we will have our masks on. There are a couple of zones where we are in a very safe place with no one around where we can take them off for some of the broadcasts.”
At street level will be invited essential workers from the area and all around the country “to be part of the celebration.” Adds Seacrest: “Teachers, doctors, nurses, firefighters and police officers–they and their families will have a chance to see what is a bucket list event, which is the ball drop.”
2020 is also going to end on a high note for one lucky winner of Powerball’s First Millionaire of the Year presented by country singer Jessie James Decker, returning to Times Square for a second year. Decker says that, due to COVID, the presentation will be different this year. “I will be indoors at a hotel area that will be blocked off, and I will not be having the contestants in person this time,” she explains. “It will be all virtual.”
Additional performers on the ABC broadcast include 24KGoldn, Brandy, Doja Cat, Ella Mai, En Vogue, Julia Michaels and JP Saxe, Lewis Capaldi, Maluma, Megan Thee Stallion, Noah Cyrus, Nelly and Saweetie.