Ryan Seacrest: Hosting New Year’s Eve Countown Without Dick Clark Is “Surreal”

Even though Ryan Seacrest will be surrounded by one-million screaming fans when he celebrates the beginning of 2013, the American Idol host will be without one very familiar face: His beloved mentor Dick Clark.

Tonight marks the first broadcast of Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve since his death in April. “Surreal is probably the most appropriate word,” Seacrest told Good Morning America when asked about hosting the show in Clark’s absence. “You think back 40 years ago he started the tradition . . . I not only watched him, I used to watch him and study how he hosted these shows.”

To honor the late broadcast veteran, the program will begin with a two-hour tribute hosted by Fergie and Jenny McCarthy. At 10 PM, Seacrest will take over for the countdown. “I definitely will say something about him, and it will be from the heart,” he promises. “But the night will be, as he would want, a celebration of what’s to come: Dick was always one to say, ‘The show must go on.'”