Ryan Seacrest Hosts 'Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve' for 15th Year — and Reveals Surprise Connection to Co-Host Lucy Hale

This year marked Ryan Seacrest's 15th year counting down to the new year

It wouldn’t be New Year’s Eve without Ryan Seacrest.

The talk show host once again helped ring in the new year on Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest Tuesday night. Seacrest, 45, has hosted the celebration for the past 15 years. Unfortunately, this year came with an early hitch, though: rain!

“We were told … we thought it was going to be nice, no real rain tonight,” Seacrest said on Instagram. “Two years ago it was sub-zero and nine degrees … and now the rain!”

This year, Seacrest was joined by actress Lucy Hale after his longtime co-host Jenny McCarthy announced in October that she was skipping the show for the first time in a decade.

Lucy Hale; Ryan Seacrest
Jeff Neira/ABC via Getty Images

“Jenny has become such a friend of mine,” Seacrest previously told PEOPLE of her decision to not do the New Year’s Eve special. “She and I have spent countless New Year’s Eves together. I will miss her, but I know that she has not had a New Year’s Eve night off in a long time, and is relishing in spending time with her family, especially her son, on that night.”

However, it turns out Seacrest and Hale go way back, too. During the telecast, they shared a clip of Hale’s performance on 2003’s American Juniors, which he hosted.

As for what keeps him coming back to Times Square? Seacrest said he loves the magic of being live.

“I like doing a live show, and Times Square is about as big as it can get on one night, with a million-plus people and rain or snow or sleet,” he said. “So, the potential craziness is fun for me. I remember watching this show on ABC as a kid, so to be able to host it is fun every year.”

An unscripted moment came shortly after midnight when Seacrest helped facilitate an engagement between a New York City firefighter and his girlfriend, live on TV. And moments later, one of his remote co-hosts, Jessie James Decker, gave away a $1 million Powerball prize on air.

The artists who performed in Times Square during the show this year were Post Malone, BTS, Sam Hunt and Alanis Morissette with the cast of Broadway’s Jagged Little Pill. In addition, Seacrest’s former American Idol colleague Paula Abdul sang in a set streaming from the West Coast, as did Ciara, Dan + Shay and Green Day. The Jonas Brothers popped in from Miami, and Sheryl Crow and Usher from New Orleans, with Billy Porter.

After the show, Seacrest said he and the crew plan to continue their tradition of getting a late dinner.

“We don’t really eat dinner because we’re on the air from 8 p.m. until 2 a.m.,” he said. “So we generally go out for dinner at 2 a.m., somewhere in N.Y.C. that will serve us food. The cast, the crew, we like to sit and have a nice meal. We’ve gone to sushi in the past, and they serve us sushi late at night. So, we’ll see if we do that again this year.”

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