Like a politician on a mission to shake hands, Donny Osmond marched up to the people near the front of a line with approximately 600 fans at Burnsville’s Southern Lights.
He immediately began glad handing, giving out one hug. More hugs would come later when his fans got their moment and photo with Osmond, a teen heartthrob who can still make hearts skip a beat.
I teased Osmond by saying he had walked in like Mitt Romney. “I’m running for office?” joked Osmond, adding, “ I don’t think so.” No, Osmond is more likely to run away from elective office, based on what he told me during this Q&A. “I’ve been really fortunate. I have had fans following me for I don’t know how many years.”
Osmond was at the lighting store, while in town for another musical engagement with Marie, to promote the latest items from Donny Osmond Home Furnishings, designed with his wife Debbie. It was a MyTalk FM107.1 Jason & Alexis Show event.
I got to know Osmond well when he was here starring in a “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” tour stop. One night during the encore Osmond acknowledged me from high above the stage in a way that was absolutely enthralling for me and my date. We talked about that, a hysterically funny encounter Osmond had upon seeing Fancy Ray in person and Donny’s passion for home design.
There is a little something beyond the video credit …
Q: How much input did you have in the design of this furniture?
A: A lot. In fact, my wife and I are flying to Los Angeles to start designing the next generation. What’s coming out in January we absolutely love; we did that last February. This is an industry where you’ve got go keep going and going all the time and produce stuff. My wife and I love it. As a matter of fact I put that in our kitchen [he said gesturing to a lighting fixture] not too long ago. I don’t see the orb in here. The orb, I’m going to give away. Watch my Facebook because I’m going to be giving away an $800 chandelier.
Q: You are responsible for two of the most wonderful moments in Twin Cities media and one of them happened to me. I was at a performance of “Joseph” at the State Theatre. During the encore you were hoisted up on a line and you sailed over the crowd. You were waving to people including me and you said, “C.J.,” impressing the devil out of my date.
A: Seriously? Did you marry him? [No.] Well, I didn’t impress him very much.
Q: Your other great moment in local media history was when Fancy Ray came to your dressing room while you were putting on makeup for “Joseph” and you said, I know you. I saw you on TV. And he said, What did you think? and you said, You were awful [actually, he said ‘terrible.’ Here’s that moment on YouTube.
A: Was I kidding or was I serious? [Told him I didn’t know but he was accurate!]
Q: I assume if Mitt Romney had become president, you would have become a regular at the White House?
A: I love Mitt Romney. He came to our show in Vegas a few months ago and I asked him, Are you going to jump into the race? and he said, No way. He’s done. Maybe … most definitely I would’ve been asked to perform at the White House.
Q: How Mormon are you? Are you going to church every Sunday?
A: I’m a Mormon. I don’t fake it. I’m not a hypocrite. I’m not the kind of person who thinks everybody [should be]. No. I love the lifestyle, the family unity.
Q: I’ve seen a picture of your extended family, Donny. Can you name everybody in the photo?
A: Absolutely not. My grandkids, my children, obviously, I can name all of those. There are just too many people. In fact, there’s a line I say in our show: We used to have a big Christmas party with all the Osmonds getting together; that’s kind of like the whole state of Utah.
Q: How many grandkids are you up to now?
A: Eight. Hold on. I don’t show many people this, C.J., but since you’re such a close, personal friend of mine … I’m going to show you a picture. Prepare yourself. You’re about to see the cutest baby on the planet, and I’m not kidding either. This is my eighth grandbaby, born in Texas. That’s little Leo.
Q: Is Leo a redhead?
A: Leo’s is a redhead. He has a gorgeous mom who’s a redhead.
Q: When Grandpa’s in charge of fixing breakfast for the grandkids, what does he prepare?
A: Cereal. [Big laughs]
Q: So you’ve got a singing group with the grandkids if you wanted to, eh?
A: But you know, I’m not going to force any of my grandkids. I didn’t force my children. This can be a tough business. I heard a really cool saying: If you’re not into it, get out of it. If you can’t get out of it, get into it. It’s a great saying. I put that on my Pinterest account.
Q: Do you take your wife dancing more after becoming a “Dancing with the Stars” champion?
A: Probably a little less, after “Dancing With The Stars.” She saw the Argentine tango I did with Kym Johnson. You know what [Debbie] calls the Argentine tango dance? The You-Can-Sleep-On-The-Couch dance.
Q: You’re not a man a wife has to worry about, though?
A: Nooooooooooooooooo. Nooooo. But when you are doing “Dancing With The Stars,” you have to have chemistry with your partner. In the rehearsal hall it’s nothing but blood, sweat and tears. Just working hard. When you get on stage and she’s wearing practically nothing, the lights, it’s very sexy. But that’s the only time that happens; on stage, live on television.
Q: When it comes to arguments, I’ll bet you don’t win many against Marie?
A: [Laughter] C.J., you are a very smart woman.
Q: Do you and Marie ever strongly disagree about a song that should be in your show?
A: All the time. Very honestly speaking, both of us are producers; the show we put on stage in Vegas and when we travel, we both produce that show. We’re constantly butting heads, but what’s interesting about working with Marie, we’ve done it for so many years, we know exactly how to put on a show. There’s give and take, both sides. It’d be great if we had an arbitrator, to say, No, you’re going to do it this way, but we can work things out and when the curtain goes up we put on a show and it works.
Q: You’ve been doing it forever.
A: In fact, C.J., the other day in Vegas we has a massive computer glitch and the show came to a screeching halt. All we had to do is look at each other and we knew what we were going to do and the show continued. It’s in our blood.
Q: Is there anything you hear on the radio right now that you think would make a good song for you?
A: I wish I [had] done “Sugar.” I would have loved to have done that song by Maroon 5. I was listening to, not that I love his lyrics, Drake. He’s got some amazing grooves. I don’t like what he says but my son Christopher likes to DJ. He and I were downstairs in his studio, writing some songs and listening to Drake for inspiration. We came up with some cool stuff. … I like to stretch … not that I’m going to do a rap album. But I love to just push the envelope and try new musical things, whether R&B or funk or country. That’s what I do. I’ve been doing it 53 years now. I love Sam Smith’s stuff. In fact, the doctor who got him back on stage is the same doctor who operated on me.
Q: I think you should do a parody video of “Can’t Feel My Face,” changing the meaning to your face being frozen by the cold. You know what that song’s about, right?
A: Yeess, I know but come on, listen to the groove.
Interviews were edited. To contact C.J. try firstname.lastname@example.org and to see her, check out FOX 9’s “Jason Show.”