I'll admit, I wasn't always a Ryan Seacrest fan. In fact, there are a handful of dark years of my life in which I didn't understand why people were so obsessed with this guy that they'd stay up all night watching him on Idol, get up and listen to him on his radio show, hang on his every word during nightly E! News broadcasts, and then spend their weekends watching him report from the red carpet. It was all a bunch of vanilla overload, but since I became an Idol convert, I finally get it. Seacrest isn't just a generically good-looking guy with a God-given broadcast timbre; He's home.
And thank the musical pixies living in Jennifer Lopez's magnificent mane because Seacrest just signed a contract for two more years as the host (and spiritual guide) on American Idol. Yes, it's only a measly two years, but it's something. One day, he may hang up his cheese-tastic microphone and let some other suited-up young man take his place, but let's not think of that day, because it will be a devastating one.
With so many musical reality contests taking over television, Seacrest is the one thing that continues to maintain Idol's original charm. (Yes, I'd still call it charm, so back off). While the bah-naw-naw bump of the Idol theme song brings us into the action, without Seacrest's ""This... is American Idol"" I'm pretty sure I wouldn't know if I was watching The Voice or The X-Factor or Flavor of Love until I realized there were no spinning chairs and the women weren't relieving themselves on a shag rug. Idol is the original, it's the base model, without creature comforts (i.e. Seacrest) it's just another bunch of young'uns trying to be famous... or marry Flavor Flav. See, Ryan? We need you.
And then there's the history, oh the history. Idol has been a part of our lives for 11 years. I have cousins who can form complete sentences who are younger than this show. And while Randy Jackson has been there since the beginning, his ""yo dawgs"" aren't nearly as nostalgia-inducing as Seacrest's constant calls back to the days of yore - you know, classic things... like the Sanjaya pony-hawk. He remembers everything, and probably better than we do, and we can halfheartedly chuckle along when he makes cardboard references to that antique trunk of memories we had no idea was still bumping around in our brains.
But of course, there's my favorite Seacrest trait: his dual Idol presence. We've all lamented that the Idol producers think they're way more hilarious than they are, and it's never more evident than during the audition episodes. Sure, Seacrest plays along, but with the sly smirk that tells us he knows how ridiculous it all is. It puts all in on the game. Idol may be a guilty pleasure, but even Ryan knows that, so how bad could it really be?
Could you even pretend to watch Idol without everyone's favorite host with the most?
Follow Kelsea on Twitter @KelseaStahler.
More:American Idol Recap: Wasted Opportunity
American Idol: Inside the Dramatic Save
Elvis Costello Slams American Idol, The Voice