Spanier Confirms: 'Yes, That Was Me' in 'American Idol' Audience
No, "American Idol" fans, your eyes weren't failing you.
That really was Penn State President Graham Spanier seated in the audience for Wednesday evening's show.
"Yes, that was me," Spanier confirmed via e-mail late Wednesday from Los Angeles. "I've received dozens of e-mails from around the country. Who knew 'American Idol' had so many viewers, including folks I would have never guessed had the time to watch TV."
For much of the evening, Twitter and Facebook were abuzz with observations from Penn Staters who thought -- but weren't certain -- that they'd seen Spanier in the studio audience of the Fox TV show. The program airs at 8 p.m. on the East Coast.
In his e-mail message to StateCollege.com, Spanier noted he was at "American Idol" as a guest of host Ryan Seacrest. Spanier wrote that he has "hosted (Seacrest) at Penn State and gotten to know (him) through his father, who is a Penn State alum."
A screen-capture image circulated via Twitter shows Spanier seated between Seacrest's father and sister, Spanier confirmed. (The image was circulated by Becky Murdy, who gave credit to Greg Brown for the catch. It's posted to the right of this text.)
Spanier also mentioned that he's in Los Angeles for a meeting of the Association of Governing Boards -- for which he serves on the Council of Presidents -- and for four donor visits.
As for "American Idol," he wrote this:
"It was a blast."