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Crucial Update

Watch Kelly Ripa's Delightful Comeback Speech

Photo: Mark Davis/Getty Images

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Kelly Ripa gloriously returned to Live with Kelly and Michael this morning, against the thundering applause of her audience. Her opening line? "Guys, our long national nightmare is over." It only gets better from there.

A week ago, ABC informed Ripa that her co-star Michael Strahan would be leaving Live for a gig on Good Morning America just minutes before that morning's show. Despite being reportedly blindsided by the network, Ripa faced criticism for exhibiting "diva behavior" (nope), because she took a week off to extend a previously planned 20th anniversary vacation with her husband Mark Consuelos.

She returned to the show this morning, however, with a lighthearted speech that also unapologetically makes the case for the fact that sometimes, all you really need is a vacation. Here it is in full:

Guys, our long national nightmare is over. Look,€” I'm going to be completely honest: I'm fairly certain that there are trained professional snipers with tranquilizer darts in case I drift too far off message. I first want to honestly, sincerely thank you for welcoming me back to the show. The show of support through this bizarre time has been really overwhelming. I really needed a couple of days to gather my thoughts. After 26 years with this company, I earned the right. And let's be honest, I know half of you called in sick to be here, so we get each other.

Watch her announcement below.