Call him daddy! American Idol contestant Sam Kelly-Cohen, who goes by Kayko, has fans buzzing about his close bond with Ryan Seacrest after he called the host “dad.”

Ryan, 49, doesn’t have children but Kayko, 23, doubled down in a Monday, April 15, Instagram video where he watched his performance on the night’s episode alongside his actual father.

“Dad gets to see me on #AmericanIdol TONIGHT!! Top 14,” the Fort Lauderdale, Florida, resident wrote in the caption, adding, “P.S. This is my real dad not Ryan Seacrest but Ryan feel free to still legally adopt me I can have 2 dads.”

During the Sunday, April 14, episode, Kayko performed his original song “Over You,” after which Ryan gushed he was the “King of originals.”

The singer continued to impress on April 15 with his original song “What If?” Judge Katy Perry was effusive in her praise, telling Kayko, “You’re going to be a megastar! I’m excited for the next five years of your life. I’m going to go see you on tour.” Lionel Richie gushed, “I believe in you.”

American Idol Contestant Kayko Calls Host Ryan Seacrest Dad
Disney/Eric McCandless

Kayko’s father was so proud of his performance, telling his son, “There’s the Sam we know. Look at that!” during his guitar solo as the pair watched at home on TV. After hearing the judges’ critiques, he turned to his son and proudly said, “You’re an entertainer and take over the stage. That’s what you do. You burn energy. You light the audience. You crank them up.”

The singer-songwriter has been accused by some of being more than just an amateur singer, as one person wrote on X, “Kayko is probably an industry plant. This is ridiculous #AmericanIdol.” Another seemed to think Ryan and the judges were being overly indulgent about his talent, writing, “Can we all agree Kayko does NOT deserve this? His voice is average. His songs are great, but that’s not what American idol is.”

American Idol Contestant Kayko Calls Host Ryan Seacrest Dad

However, one person thought he had such a wide variety of talents. “Out of 20 finalists, I see 5 that could win this competition. Including #Kayko! He wrote over 400 songs, can play piano and guitar, and he’s 23! This man is giving me goosebumps. #AmericanIdol just might be pop-culture relevant again! Whoa!” the fan gushed.

While Kayko is currently considering Ryan a “dad,” the host broached the subject of having his own children during an August 2022 episode of Live With Kelly and Ryan.

“I think having kids at the right time would be great,” he shared. “I have a fantastic family, a very small family. I have a niece, [my sister] Meredith has a daughter. My parents have been married 52 and a half years, so that’s a high bar. So that’s in my head.”

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