Crazy horses couldn’t keep the Osmonds away this Christmas

The Osmonds come to Portsmouth. From left: Merrill, Jimmy and Jay Osmond.

The Osmonds come to Portsmouth. From left: Merrill, Jimmy and Jay Osmond.

Dom Elton, far right, plays with the Mayfield house band, Dan Sawyers, Aaron Hartley and Gregg Powell.
 Picture Ian Hargreaves  (170490-1)

‘It’s all about getting
the artists as much exposure as possible’

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It is, as they say, the most wonderful time of the year. And what could be more fitting for the festive period than some wholesome family fun with the Osmonds’ Christmas Extravaganza?

The show celebrates the famous family’s ties with the legendary entertainer Andy Williams and his Christmas specials. The Osmonds were regulars on Williams’ hit TV show in the ’60s.

Speaking from his home in Utah, USA, Jimmy Osmond tells The Guide: ‘My brothers were discovered by Walt Disney, which is where Andy found them, and they became the featured act on all of Andy’s shows and the background singers on all of his records and stuff, and I just joined the group when I was three. From there it’s been 50 years on.

‘We ended up becoming good buddies – he was my neighbour and mentor and friend.

‘I was gobsmacked when before he passed away he called me up and asked me to help keep his legacy going. From the ’60s, an Andy Williams Christmas show has been a tradition, and it’s still uninterrupted.’

Along with his brothers Jay and Merrill, Jimmy will oversee a variety show spectacular, featuring nostalgic footage of Andy Williams from Christmases past, including Christmas classics such as Silent Night, Merry Christmas Everybody, and Last Christmas as well as The Osmonds own hits Love Me For A Reason, Crazy Horses, Down By The Lazy River and more.

I was gobsmacked when before he passed away, Andy Williams called me up and asked me to help keep his legacy going. From the ’60s, an Andy Williams Christmas show has been a tradition, and it’s still uninterrupted

Jimmy Osmond

Special guest stars from Britain’s Got Talent – ventriloquist Steve Hewlett and one of the show’s stand-out young singers Charlie Green – complete the bill alongside the Moon River singers and dancers.

‘When we brought the show over last year, people loved it and it did so well because you guys know how to celebrate.

‘Hopefully the idea and the feeling when you come to the show is that it’s like watching an Andy Williams Christmas show or an Osmonds Family Christmas show, with that kind of pace and hopefully it has the warm and fuzzies.

‘The cross-section of people who go to these covers everyone from grandparents to young children, that’s why we keep the variety, so there’s something for everyone.

‘I kind of host it, so I’m up there the whole time, and it’s quite fun. But it’s about celebrating all the Christmas classics with all the stuff you know. It’s quite simple.’

Jimmy has become something of a staple on UK TV in recent years –with appearances in I’m A Celebrity... Come Dine With Me, Popstar to Operstar and, most recently, this year in Celebrity Masterchef, where he made it to the final.

‘I love it over there,’ he laughs. ‘I’d live in England if I could get a proper job.’

How was Masterchef for him?

‘It was so great. I like pressure, I grew up that way, and it’s definitely pressured, and totally different to anything I’ve ever experienced.

‘I’m used to making a fool of myself with people watching, but this was really something. Every time I’ve done something like this, like when I did the jungle, I make these great friendships that have lasted, and I hope this will be the same for me.

‘They don’t suffer fools gladly on that show, that’s for sure.’

And he’s been enjoying all the new chances his British TV work has given him. ‘You love all of these little experiences because they’re part of your life, they open up opportunities to lots of different things. When I was in the jungle I had no idea what I was getting into. Oddly enough it opened up so many opportunities for me, but I didn’t go in there with that expectation, because I had nothing to sell or do, and I had turned it down a bunch of times because I thought it was so random.

‘It gives you a connection with people. When you do these shows you feel like you really get to know each other, and there’s this unique chemistry you only get from doing these shows, and it’s so neat.’

Portsmouth Guildhall

Sunday, December 18

portsmouthguildhall.org.uk

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