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Ryan Seacrest interview at Ronald McDonald House in Atlanta

Seacrest-arriving

Dunwoody High School grad Ryan Seacrest came back to his hometown Saturday to host the Hearts and Hands gala for Atlanta Ronald McDonald House Charities at the World of Coke. I caught up with him while he toured the year-old 50-room home near Emory University earlier in the day. (I attended a different charity event that night called Chopstix For Charity.)

Seacrest, looking relaxed and chipper in a Coca Cola T-shirt and jeans, spent more than hour meeting with families before CEO Linda Morris gave him a grand tour. She explained how families are able to use the home while their children are getting treatment at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta or other local children’s hospitals. The place, which resembles a snazzy hotel, even has separate laundry facilities.

Seacrest’s mom Connie, who still lives in the area, joined him for the tour and was bemused that he was in a room a washing machine. “I always told you that I wanted to be successful enough so I didn’t have to do my own laundry,” Seacrest told her. “Not that you ever did!” she teased him.

Here’s my 10-minute video interview with Seacrest I posted on YouTube. No major revelations though he did say why he wasn’t at the Georgia Dome in June for Idol auditions: he was in England negotiating his new contract. And as you can see, he had no trouble mocking my hat, saying I should be a Backstreet Boy. (Hopefully more Brian than A.J.)

Earlier, he had also teased Fox 5 reporter Stacey Elgin about her marriage when he asked if it was forever and she said “hopefully,” which he construed to include some level of doubt. She had asked him earlier about his personal life and he said he’s not dating anybody — except his Blackberry, who he noted he can turn on and off at will.

In an interview after the tour, Seacrest said he too was surprised by the Ellen DeGeneres hire a few weeks back and isn’t concerned by skepticism from fans that will it work because “Idol” itself faced massive skepticism when it launched in 2002. “Skepticism is fantastic,” he said. The dynamic between her and Simon Cowell, he thinks, “will be entertaining, never a dull moment.”

Many fans also hate the four-judge panel vs. three judges. “It doesn’t make a difference to me,” he said. “I think that having four adds a little bit of flavor to the panel. It’s something to change it up so it’s not what everyone expects it to be.”

Melinda Doolittle was there, too, but she pretty much avoided me, not that I had much to ask her either. When I introduced myself and told her I had met her at the Edy’s event two years ago, she just kinda nodded her head and moved on to a photo op. She didn’t seem eager at all to talk to me.

Here are a bunch of photos I took during the tour Saturday:

My wife Helen took this shot.

My wife Helen took this shot.

This is the beautiful wife Helen!

This is the beautiful wife Helen!

Seacrest talks to Atlanta Ronald McDonald House Charities CEO

Seacrest talks to Atlanta Ronald McDonald House Charities CEO

Ryan with Melinda Doolittle before the tour.

Ryan with Melinda Doolittle before the tour.

Seacrest gets some fan posters.

Seacrest gets some fan posters.

I meet up with Connie Seacrest, who is much easier to get a hold of than the ever busy Ryan!

I meet up with Connie Seacrest, who is much easier to get a hold of than the ever busy Ryan!

Sharon Thomas came from Alabama to watch over her daughter (left) Kayla Williams, 19, who got into a car accident earlier this year and currently cannot talk.

Sharon Thomas came from Alabama to watch over her daughter (left) Kayla Williams, 19, who got into a car accident earlier this year and currently cannot talk.

Ryan talks with Stacey Elgin of Fox 5

Ryan talks with Stacey Elgin of Fox 5

49 comments Add your comment

HERBIE

October 26th, 2009
12:22 am

[...] Ryan Seacrest interview at Ronald McDonald House in Atlanta | American Idol [...]

JTesla

October 26th, 2009
2:52 am

Great interview Rodney. He was very relaxed. You asked him some tough questions he gave some great answers. The video displays why Ryan always seems to be such a nice person. Great taping and commentary from Helen as well.

It’s strange, but Ryan does a much better job selling the 4 judge format than the producers do.

Nana

October 26th, 2009
6:19 am

Happy Monday Everybody!!!!

Today’s Quote: “Success is the result of good judgement; good judgement is a result of experience;
experience is often the result of bad judgement.”

Enjoyed the interview and pictures of Ryan and company Rodney. The picture of him amd Melinda Doolittle was really nice, although she should have a different hair style. That one doesn’t suit her.

So sorry that I missed Jason at Discover Mills (kidding). I was there earlier in the day meeting a friend but had forgotten that he was to be there. Shucks!

Highlander

October 26th, 2009
7:22 am

“It doesn’t make a difference to me,” he said. “I think that having four adds a little bit of flavor to the panel. It’s something to change it up so it’s not what everyone expects it to be.” – Ryan S.

Oh, Ryan, were it only true! We don’t generally expect much change from the judges because there are 2 (yeah, …Randy & Kara) who are the equivalent of a Chatty Cathy doll. Pull their strings and they repeat the same 4 or 5 comments!

Great interview, though, RH. Brilliant! Ryan did seem very relaxed with you (as JT mentioned) and your lovely wife had some great input, too. (She’s not vying for your job, is she??) ;-)

BTW, how many of those hats do you have? The one for the blog is blue but I happened to notice the one from Saturday is the same thing in brown. Is there one for each day of the week and, if so, when do we see the pink one?! (Then we really will start discussing the boy band thing!!) :-)

Deirdre

October 26th, 2009
7:48 am

Morning!

LOVED the interview! Great job! Good questions and a relaxed Ryan made for an interesting interview. This is exactly why I think Ryan Seacrest is perfect as Idol’s host. Not once do you get the feeling that he’s avoiding stuff. Not once do you hear a “sound bite”. Not once does he gloss over any controversy. He is relaxed, informative and he even makes an effort to put Rodney at ease with him. Nice guy, good interview.

And thanks to Mrs Rodney for filming and adding her two cents.

Deirdre

October 26th, 2009
8:54 am

See…this is what I don’t understand about the ajc. To me, this article should be on the front page. It isn’t…at the moment. Not only was this a charity event in Atlanta but the host of the number one show in this country was in town and did a nearly 10 minute, on camera, interview for the ajc. Shouldn’t this interview, at the very least, be in the Buzz section on the front page?

Rickster

October 26th, 2009
9:21 am

Glad to know that I’m not the only only that isn’t thrilled with Rodney’s hat!

Was flipping through channels yesterday, and came across “Scooby Doo: Escape from Zombie Island” – and immediately started looking for JT! :-)

Harriett

October 26th, 2009
9:24 am

Good morning, all. Dierdre, I couldn’t agree more about ajc. They are missing a great opportunity here.

Rodney, what a great interview. And, as much as I enjoyed watching and listening to Ryan, I really enjoyed watching your easy professionalism at work here, too! Loved it!!

JTesla

October 26th, 2009
9:30 am

At some point we need to talk about Melinda, or did we forget about her already? Bah Ryan and Rodney’s hat are far more interesting. The hat still plays. I couldn’t pull it off so I am envious.

Sally

October 26th, 2009
9:40 am

This morning I saw the headline “Castro’s sister: I worked with CIA”- I clicked on it expecting to find a story about Jason Castro, which was not the case.

I think I like AI too much…

Rickster

October 26th, 2009
9:43 am

Sally… I was right there with you!

Rickster

October 26th, 2009
9:45 am

Melinda Doolittle is – in my own warped opinion – is the best contestant to never win AI. But the Macy Gray hairdo just does NOT work!

Deirdre

October 26th, 2009
9:57 am

Agree with Rickster about Melinda…on both counts.

Still laughing about Castro’s sister!!!!!

Lara

October 26th, 2009
10:01 am

Good morning blogsters! What a great job, Rodney!!! Thank you to the wife for helping you out as well! Love Ryan’s mom – she is a cutie!!!
Agree with the Ms. Doolittle hairdo….its a don’t.
Man, how much longer until the show starts again?

linny ,,,=^..^=,,,

October 26th, 2009
10:02 am

Haven’t forgotten about Melinda but I have to say, as I said way back when, with the right hairstyle and clothing style, she can overcome the sort of scrunched up look — her vocals, however are definitely unforgettable, and she’s an awesome person, imho.

i like the hat. haven’t had a chance to listen to the interview yet, but i’m going to add my 2cents worth — AJC you’re missing some GOOD news … come on!!! does it all have to be the same ol’ same ol’ bad news balonie????

Harriett

October 26th, 2009
10:09 am

Ok, Ms. Doolittle, but what’s up with her dismissing Rodney in the way she did? I don’t think much of her for doing that.

JTesla

October 26th, 2009
10:26 am

Harriett, I feel a bit of pity for her. There she is without much of a career, she doesn’t even have the gig where she sold ice cream anymore, and now she might have to speak to a reporter? Uncomfortable.

So Simon takes copies of X-Factor along on trips for people to watch? Classic.

Harriett

October 26th, 2009
11:11 am

Well, JT, when you put it like that…

Rickster

October 26th, 2009
11:17 am

Rodney, where’s the little “PRESS” card that’s supposed to be stuck in the band of your hat? No wonder Melinda avoided you! :-)

JTesla

October 26th, 2009
11:26 am

Rickster, I envision Rodney flashing his press card that like a badge: “Rodney Ho, AJC reporter. Ma’am I’d like to ask you a few questions.”

Deirdre

October 26th, 2009
12:20 pm

I don’t know what was up with Melinda but I’m sure there’s a reasonable explanation. She could have been Diana DeGarmo dressed up in a Melinda Doolittle costume. See…Reasonable explanation! ;-)

kelly&carriefan

October 26th, 2009
12:52 pm

Happy Monday, y’all….

D, I had no idea Diana decided to be Melinda for Halloween! That’s pretty brilliant.

Rickster

October 26th, 2009
1:04 pm

I was going to post this in the last thread, but figured no one would see it.

The Top 10 things overheard at Jason Castro’s Discover Mills concert.

10. I didn’t know they had live music here.
9. I wonder if any place around here sells ear plugs.
8. I wanted to give the dude some money, but his guitar case wasn’t open.
7. OMG!!
6. Duuuuuuuuuuuuuuude! I’m sooooo wasted!
5. He’s no Adam Lambert – thank heavens!
4. Excuse me mister? Your hat is blocking my view.
3. What’s that smell? It’s either pot or his dreadlocks.
2. Castro, is he the guy with the sister in the CIA?
1. He’s cute… whoever he is!

Harriett

October 26th, 2009
1:20 pm

I should save this for Wednesday, but since the subject of costumes was broached, here is a funny for the occasion:

A couple was invited to a swanky costume party. The Mrs. got a terrible
> headache and told her husband to go to the party alone. He being a devoted
> husband protested, but she argued and said she was going to take some
> aspirin and go to bed and there was no need for his good time being
> spoiled by not going. So he took his costume and away he went.. The wife, after
> sleeping soundly for about an hour, awakened without pain and, as it was
> still early, decided to go the party. Since her husband did not know what
> her costume was, she thought she would have some fun by watching her
> husband to see how he acted when she was not with him. She joined the party and
> soon spotted her husband cavorting around on the dance floor, dancing with
> every nice woman he could, and copping a little feel here and a little kiss
> there.
>
> His wife sidled up to him and being a rather seductive babe herself, he
> left his current partner high and dry and devoted his time to the new babe that
> had just arrived. She let him go as far as he wished, naturally, since he
> was her husband. Finally, he whispered a little proposition in her ear and she
> agreed. So off they went to one of the cars and had a quickie.

>Just before unmasking at midnight, she slipped away, went home, put the costume away and got
> into bed, wondering what kind of explanation he would make for his behavior.
> She was sitting up reading when he came in, and she asked what kind of a time
> he had. He said: “Oh, the same old thing. You know I never have a good time
> when you’re not there.” – “Did you dance much ?” – “I’ll tell you, I never
> even danced one dance.. When I got there, I met Pete, Bill Brown and some
> other guys, so we went into the den and played poker all evening.

But you’re not going to believe what happened to the guy I loaned my costume to…..”

Heather MacDonald

October 26th, 2009
2:25 pm

Harriett, LOVE the joke!! Rodney, your wife is gorgeous, and don’t let the nay-sayers get to you. I loved your hat.

Here’s my saying for the day: I know God has a road map for my life, but did He have to print it on my thighs?

Harriett

October 26th, 2009
2:50 pm

Heather, yours is funny, too!! :) Mine came out way longer than it was to begin with–funny spacing, etc, but worth a laugh.

JTesla

October 26th, 2009
2:51 pm

Heather, luckily there only appears to be one nay-sayer (Rickster). I honestly like the hat, but I also like item #4 on his list. As for the wife, I can’t comment because I’m still trying to figure out how Rodney pulled that one off. Don’t get me wrong, I really like Rodney, but he married up.

cowo

October 26th, 2009
3:18 pm

Enter your comments here

cowo

October 26th, 2009
3:19 pm

What I MEANT to say was, guys – AJC front page online is running a vote for ‘favorite local blogger’ – flip the ‘page’ and give Rodney a few props.

Highlander

October 26th, 2009
3:30 pm

“Shouldn’t this interview, at the very least, be in the Buzz section on the front page?” – Deirdre, 8:54am

Gee, I don’t know, D. When I logged back on this afternoon, these were the top 3 headlines listed in the Buzz section on the front page:

1. Jon Gosselin says he returned $230K
2. Woman in Phillips affair fired from ESPN
3. Iceland says goodbye to the Big Mac

How can you argue with riveting story-lines like that? I’LL certainly sleep better tonight having all that info in my head! ….Okay, so I didn’t actually click on any of those to read the story. My life still seems richer somehow just knowing they’re there if I need to! (Sarcasm? Sarcasm?? What sarcasm?!) ;-)

Nana

October 26th, 2009
3:51 pm

Been super busy today, so I haven’t been around since this morning..Will get caught up when I get home.

Everybody have a great evening. Keep a song in your heart, a smile on your face and a tap in your toes. Stay safe on the highways.

Mercedes S.

October 26th, 2009
4:17 pm

Ryan certainly is a good corporate sport. Coke shirt in Rodney’s interview, Dasani water in AJC paper pic.

JTesla

October 26th, 2009
4:34 pm

Wait, Iceland said goodbye to the Big Mac?

Rickster

October 26th, 2009
4:42 pm

I’m not the only naysayer. Ryan isn’t exactly thrilled with it either.

Harriett

October 26th, 2009
4:55 pm

I am gone, too. See y’all tomorrow!

Chris

October 26th, 2009
10:27 pm

Yikes, Melinda looks rough these days. Ryan looks good as usual though.

Here are some random pictures from today of Kimberley Locke, Diana DeGarmo and Nick Mitchell/Normund Gentle. Apparently they all had lunch today with some friends from Billboard and guess who also was there? Neil Sedaka. This isn’t an “event” or anything, just a social lunch.

http://chucktaylorblog.blogspot.com/2009/10/all-star-luncheon.html

JTesla

October 26th, 2009
10:46 pm

Great pics, thanks Chris. What a random group.

Chris

October 26th, 2009
10:53 pm

Tell me about it. The guys in the group, Fred Bronson and Chuck Taylor, are big Idol fans and work for Billboard magazine. I know Rodney knows Fred. Fred’s been friends with both Diana and Kim for years. Not sure how Neil and Nick fit in!

John Pete

October 27th, 2009
2:07 am

I had no idea that Ryan Seacrest was from Atlanta.

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John Hanks

October 27th, 2009
2:08 am

Ryan Seacrest makes American Idol in my book, but it will not be the same without Paula Abdul.

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Nana

October 27th, 2009
6:11 am

Good Morning Everybody.

Today’s Quote: “Dream as if you’ll live forever. Live as if you’ll die today.”

Chris, thanks for the pictures. Looks like they all had a fun lunch.

Deirdre

October 27th, 2009
7:49 am

Morning!

Thanks for the pics, Chris. Nick/Normund looks pretty good. And Diana looks classy. Kim just looks like she’s there to have some fun.

Here’s a question……Neil Sedaka promised a couple of Idols(Clay Aiken stands out in my mind) that he would work with them on song writing and album producing. Did that ever happen?

Harriett

October 27th, 2009
9:08 am

Good morning to all. D, I had forgotten about the Neil Sedaka promise to help some contestants, Clay in particular. I would bet he did not follow up on it.

Saw David Foster on the CBS Saturday Morning Show, and he has not found the fountain of youth all of a sudden. He still looks his age and nothing like that photo from last week!!

Rodney Ho

October 27th, 2009
9:19 am

Thanks for all the kind words about the Ryan Seacrest interview. I wish I had asked him about Kara and his time with Star 94 but I only had 10 minutes. Anyway, new blog entry up! Not too much happening this week so far in Idol land.

Why ajc.com didn’t give it any play, who knows? I probably should have pushed it yesterday.

Angel

October 27th, 2009
6:10 pm

It was so great Ryan Seacrest was there. I loved the picture with Kayla. It’s too bad there weren’t more pictures with kids staying in the ARMH.

Louise7

November 10th, 2009
4:49 am

Melinda Doolittle in her first-ever Nightclub engagement

November 17-21, New York City

For more info Melindadoolittle (dot) com

Stacia

November 11th, 2009
11:04 am

I highly doubt that Melinda avoided you. She is BY FAR the nicest, sweetest person I have ever met, and goes out of her way to spend time talking to everyone who wishes to speak to her, regardless of who you are. The way you described her is so far from who she is, I’m amazed you would even say that.

Clyde

November 15th, 2009
1:47 am

I didn’t even realize that Seacrest was from Atlanta. That is pretty cool he come back.

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