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Ryan Seacrest to honor Dick Clark during bittersweet New Year's Eve special


"American Idol" host Ryan Seacrest is set to ring in 2013 with bittersweet emotions as he marks the first year TV host Dick Clark will be absent from his famed New Year's Eve special.

Despite co-hosting ABC's "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve" for the past seven years, Monday will be the first time Seacrest will count down to the New Year solo after the revered Clark passed away in late April.

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Seacrest considered him one of his own personal idols since he was a child and he tells USA Today that having the legacy of Clark's TV special passed down to him will be a humbling and emotional night honoring his mentor and friend. Seacrest explains, "It's definitely a mixed emotion. As a kid, I knew New Year's Eve by watching Dick Clark. As an adult, I know New Year's Eve recently by working with Dick Clark. I've never done the ABC show without him."

"It's emotional, it's reflective, and, at the same time, it's celebratory, because he was such a leader and pioneer and mentor. It will be unique in so many ways, and frankly, I don't know what to expect in that first second when I sign on."

Although Seacrest will be at the helm all by himself, he will never forget the first time he took on hosting duties for Clark in 2005, when he returned to the TV special after suffering from a stroke earlier that year.

Seacrest says, "I was so nervous, not necessarily because it was a live telecast, but more because I wanted his approval ... He'd also had his stroke, so I wanted to make sure I was there for him in every way. And at the end of it, (you) cross your fingers and hope he pats you on the back and says, 'Not bad, kid. You can do this again next year.' And he did, and that was one of the greatest moments of my life."