'American Idol': Ryan Seacrest Just Learned Surprising Finale Detail

The American Idol season finale is approaching fast, and host Ryan Seacrest admitted it has some surprises in store even for him. Seacrest appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live on Thursday night, where Kimmel marveled that the finale is scheduled to be three hours long. Seacrest said that he himself had just learned about that fact not long before.

"I just realized that I saw the press release the other day and it said it's from 8 to 11 and I did not know that," Seacrest said. "It used to be, when I was, you know, when I started out they would check with you. You know they'd say, 'hey are you available' or 'just so you know, it's going to be a two-hour special or a three-hour extravaganza.' Now they just announce it."

Out of all the cast members of the singing competition show, Seacrest has the most reason to stay up to date on the schedule. After American Idol tapes in Los Angeles, California on Sunday nights, Seacrest immediately flies back to New York City every week so that he can be there for Live! With Kelly and Ryan on Monday morning.

The American Idol finale will pit the three remaining singers against each other — Chayce Beckham, Grace Kinstler and Willie Spence. In another interview with ABC Audio this week, Seacrest said that he felt this year's talent level was uniquely high. He credited this to the COVID-19 pandemic, in a way.

"It definitely stands out," he said. "The contestants had a chance to Zoom in their auditions, which made it accessible to really everyone... so we had a wide pool to choose from." Seacrest declined to predict a winner himself, saying that all three singers are "very different."

"I think it'll be close... to my knowledge, there hasn't been much of a runaway so far. "But it does fluctuate. It's a real-time vote. And it's interesting to see the votes move as soon as the performance has happened... Because then they're top of mind to the viewer. So it'll be fun to watch it."

"Whoever wins, the others will support that person. I believe that... They're very tight with each other," Seacrest concluded. The American Idol season finale premieres on Sunday, May 23 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC. You can stream the show live on Hulu, with a free trial available here.

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