Ryan Seacrest is once again ready to ring in the new year as the emcee of Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, hosting the annual countdown for the 10th year and ringing in 2015 with Jenny McCarthy, who will be on hand for the fourth straight year. Taking over the tradition from the late Dick Clark, Seacrest will preside over the midnight countdown live from Times Square, with McCarthy providing on-the-ground coverage to allow viewers across the globe to soak in the madness from the heart of New York City.
This year’s Rockin’ Eve broadcast is especially ambitious, with over five hours of musical performances planned for the show, which kicks off at 8:00 pm ET on ABC on Wednesday night (Dec. 31). Taylor Swift will be on-hand in Times Square, along with Florida Georgia Line, Idina Menzel and MAGIC!; on the other coast, the Billboard Hollywood Party (hosted by Fergie) will include performances from One Direction, Iggy Azalea, Charli XCX and Meghan Trainor, among many others; sets from Lady Antebellum and Gavin DeGraw will be streamed from Nashville; and Elton John is set to make his NYRE debut with a special performance of “I’m Still Standing” from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Seacrest and McCarthy were positioned next to the illustrious ball in Times Square on Tuesday morning, answering press questions 36 hours before the insanity of New Year’s Eve kicks into high gear. Billboard spoke to the hosts, who discussed their best musical bets of 2015, naked Times Square attendees and how to stay warm during such a frigid event.
Billboard: What do you guys enjoy about doing this every year?
Ryan Seacrest: The insanity, the craziness, that it is. The fact that everybody’s got a smile on their face. Out of all the moments of the year, I don’t think everybody’s on the same page as [much as] they are at midnight on New Year’s Eve.
Jenny McCarthy: You’d have to be crazy to stand outside and host this show — that’s what everyone says. But once you’re there and you experience what Times Square is like on New Year’s Eve, you’ll understand why we come back year after year. It’s one of the most amazing things I’ve ever done, work-wise.
What’s the craziest thing you guys have witnessed in Times Square?
McCarthy: Usually the naked people.
Seacrest: Naked people are always crazy, especially when it’s zero degrees.
McCarthy: And you know that they’re not drinking, because you can’t really drink out there. So, they’re being nuts sober!
Seacrest: They’re having much more fun in real life.
How cold do you guys get out there? You’re in the moment, but do you ever say, “I really wish I had an extra hat right now?”
Seacrest: I put warmers in my shoes. The first year I thought, “This isn’t that cold!” But then it’s the duration of time in the cold.
McCarthy: And your mouth freezes after a while, so your brain’s still functioning but your mouth slows down, and you slur.
What are you personally most excited about for this year’s lineup?
Seacrest: I think there are two incredible live moments that we’re going to have here in New York. One is Taylor Swift celebrating the incredible year that she’s had, live. And then we’re going out to Barclays Center [in Brooklyn] to Elton John, who will be standing by. This show has been going for decades, and this is the first time he’s been on our show, so that’s exciting for us.
McCarthy: The fact that we’ve got so many artists this year makes it feel like it will be the best year yet. At rehearsals yesterday, the producers said, “Without a doubt, this is our favorite show.”
Who do you think will be the breakout artist of 2015?
Seacrest: There’s an artist that is big globally that I think is going to have a big year in the States named Prince Royce. I think Royce is going to come out with a pop album that will be pretty big. I also think that we heard from Nick Jonas this year with “Jealous,” but I think he’s going to have a big year in 2015.
Do either of you have resolutions this year?
McCarthy: Mine is to stop self-criticizing. I’m gonna try my best to do that.
Seacrest: And mine is to criticize myself more.
Last question: describe New Year’s Rockin’ Eve in one word.
McCarthy (thinking): Shit…
Seacrest: That’s a great word! (laughs) I would say “electric.”
McCarthy: No no, what I’d really say is… “spiritual.” I go to church when I’m out there. I feel the holy spirit!