8:35pm PT by Michele Amabile Angermiller, Billboard
Brian Dunkleman Puts His Hand Up for 'American Idol' Return: "I'm Available"
If American Idol does return one day, former host is Brian Dunkleman is already putting his feelers out. "I'm available," he told reporters Thursday after the series finale of the Fox singing competition.
Dunkleman said returning to the show and seeing Ryan Seacrest again was "cathartic."
"I held it together all day. I was most nervous about seeing Ryan," he said. "It was just so amazing and just really healing for me. I kept it together the whole time until the second I got off stage and it hit me."
Dunkleman revealed that he met with Seacrest prior to the broadcast in an attempt to clear the air: "I made a point of going to see him in his dressing room before rehearsal, and he walked in and he smiled and he said hello. We shook hands. I said, ‘I want to apologize to you for all of the times we didn’t get along back then and I wish I could go back and change it all, but I can’t and I just genuinely wish the best for you and your family,'" he said. "It was a really great moment and he was so gracious."
Dunkleman did have one regret about the meeting. "We did not do a selfie," he said. "I hoped we could get that tweeted and I’ll get over 3,000 followers."
Dunkleman said that in retrospect, the show did work better with one host. "That’s another thing that has been very liberating about this experience," he said. "I gather they weren’t going to have me back anyway, so it’s a load off my shoulder that I guess I didn’t make a mistake. The mistake that I made was I guess I didn’t do a good enough job and I don’t think that I handled myself as professionally as I needed to back then."
Dunkleman said that in 2002, he "didn’t have the wisdom that I needed to be able to handle what was going on. I like to say I was just young and stupid, but I really wasn’t that young," he said. "I was 30 years old. It’s a relief. It’s been a long time not knowing what the truth was."
With that said, Dunkleman was happy to be invited back for the final bow. "It’s incredibly gracious of them to include me and everybody in the show — Fox, Fremantle, 19 — they didn’t have to," he said. "It’s really a great gift that they gave to me."
This article originally appeared on Billboard.com.