Exclusive Interview: Donny Osmond from ABC's REDISCOVERED
On ABC’s new special REDISCOVERED, ABC is teaming up with Matt Casella, the man credited with discovering the likes of Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake back in the day of THE MICKEY MOUSE CLUB (the new version) to present 5 lucky people who weren’t “discovered” then with the chance of performing in front of a live studio audience. These every day men and women compete for a grand prize of $50,000 and a special guest from the hosts of the show, the incomparable Donny and Marie Osmond.
I had a dream come true the opportunity to speak with Donny about the show, and he gave me some great reasons why you should watch ABC’s REDISCOVERED, and reasons why people should never give up on their dreams.
Tell us about REDISCOVERED. I’ve gotten to see about three minutes of the show in clips and I’m already excited about watching it.
Yeah, it’s a cool concept isn’t it? When ABC called Marie and myself and told us the concept, I got it immediately, and thought, “This is great. Thank God Matt Casella kept all those tapes!” Because, as I’m sure you’ve read the information on it, there were hundreds of thousands of kids, so there’s a lot of talent out there. The talent pool is huge. So if they pick it up as a series, there are some talented kids out there that could have been the next Justin Timberlake or Britney.
Had the five people in this premiere given up on achieving stardom?
Yeah, they gave up. I know that’s kind of a hard way to say it. They didn’t make the cut off so they said I’m going to live a normal life. Well, unbeknownst to them, their normal life just got disrupted [laughs]. they got a chance to be rediscovered. When you see these people, there are some really talented people that are insurance salesmen and whatever, you know? It’s a very interesting take on what could have been.
It’s airing at a good time of year, too. A lot of families are home together, it’s something you can watch together. It gives the idea that maybe you shouldn’t give up on your dreams.
Well, you just never know. Particularly nowadays, the opportunities and avenues for being discovered are a lot greater than it’s ever been. We’re taking that whole concept to the next level. Hopefully, it’ll go to series.
If you could say one thing to people about watching, why should they tune in?
That could be me [laughs]. Seriously, it could have been me. It just shows that if you got talent and you’ve got a little chutzpah and you’ve got a little luck behind you, your life could change. Some people want it, some people don’t. Obviously, these five people thought “you know what, let’s give it a shot.” I really like the fact, and I don’t know if this is in the preview reel, but one of the contestants said “If I win, it’s not going to change my life at all. I’ll still be a mom, still be doing what I’m doing. It’ll just be a wonderful experience to be able to have a taste of what stardom is like.” It’s very intriguing from my point of view, to see these people that could have been superstars but decided they didn’t want to pursue it because they didn’t make that cut off.
You’ve been in and around the business virtually your whole life. What advice do you have for people either just starting out or trying to get back into it?
Don’t ever give up on a dream, because you never know what could happen to you. Any embryonic dream, if it’s halfway decent, can be discovered. Talent can be discovered. Don’t ever give up on your talent. There are a lot of naysayers out there. Believe me, I have been through them all. Starting my career when I was 5 years old, well professionally, starting at 4, throughout that 45 year, 46 year history, there have been so many people who say, “Oh you’ll never be anything more than just Andy Williams’ back up singers.” Well, you gotta prove them wrong. “Oh you’ll never been anything other than the kid who sang Puppy Love.” Well, you gotta prove them wrong. “Oh, the Donny and Marie Show will never be successful. No one wants to watch two little teenagers on television.” Well, you gotta prove them wrong. And then in the 80’s, “Oh you’ll never have another hit record.” Well, I was called a comeback in the 80’s when Soldier Love came out. When I did Joseph. “Oh you know, it’ll last for 6 months and it’ll be over with”. Well, 6 years later, I thought “oh I better find something else to do, I’m getting tired of this one.” Over and over and over, people say. “Donny and Marie will never work in Vegas.” We just extended for 2 years after an initial 6 month contract. So, you never give up. You never know what could happen!
How do you and Marie manage to always get along? I have a brother and a sister and I don’t think we could stay so positive!
You only see the positive stuff [laughs]. We shut the cameras off when it changes [more laughter].
It’s nice to hear that even famous brothers and sisters get in little tiffs.
[Donny laughs] Oh yeah. We’re normal.
You have a big family – 5 kids, 2 grand kids. Is anyone in the business?
Well, not in a professionally way. They’re very musical because they’re surrounded by it. My oldest, he decided, he doesn’t want anything to do with it. He went into PR. He works for a firm here in Salt Lake City that does high tech PR. It’s kind of fun for me because I get all the information on stuff that’s coming out before it comes out. He’s not supposed to tell me but he does anyway! My second son, in a couple years, we’ll call him Dr. Osmond. He’s going for physical therapy, he’s going to be a physical therapist, so he’s going through medical school. My third son is going to be a professional photographer. He’s shooting a lot of shows in Las Vegas now, he did Marie’s and my show. My fourth son, of course, he’s still in high school, so it’s hard to know what he wants, but [laughs] he’s DJing now. And my fifth son, he’s 10. He’s just cute.
What can fans expect when they come to see you and Marie in Vegas?
Oh, pure variety, dude. I’m sorry, I called you dude [laughs]. Pure variety. It’s done in a way that’s different than what we used to do in the 70’s. Variety of the 70’s is kind of dead. Variety is alive, but it’s got a different face to it. But you come to The Donny and Marie Show, you get all different styles of music. You get the dancing, the singing, the production and that’s one of the things that Marie and I said in our minds before we hired anybody to help produce this show for us. That, we just don’t want to put everything in the kitchen sink in the show, because there’s a lot of shows out there where you’re overwhelmed with production, but you’re not entertained. So we decided that, yes, we’ll raise the bar on production level, but you’ve got to put personality into the show, and I feel that’s part of why the Donny and Marie show works is that Marie and I really do give our personality to the show as well as production.
Don’t forget to tune in tonight at 9PM on ABC to REDISCOVERED to see 5 lucky people get their chance to fulfill their dreams!