Why a family reunion is off the cards, says former teen idol Donny Osmond

Donny Osmond remembers touching down at Heathrow Airport in 1972 to a raucous reception and later, at the luxurious Churchill Hotel in central London, watching a special broadcast about his family’s arrival.

“There was a commentator, a person from Scotland Yard and a child psychiatrist, and they were talking about whether Donny Osmond should be deported,” he says with a chuckle.

“They were saying, ‘Is Donny Osmond healthy for our children because he’s creating such havoc in our country?’. My brother Alan turned to me and said, ‘You remember this moment, because this never happens’.”

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When the former teen idol, now 65, arrives in the UK this autumn for his latest tour he does not expect to receive the same hysterical welcome, but there is still growing excitement for the live dates.

Osmond will bring his Las Vegas show to arenas around the country and mark 50 years since he and his siblings, The Osmonds, first performed in the UK.

Speaking from Vegas where he is in the midst of his residency, the singer of hits including Puppy Love, Young Love and When I Fall In Love tells me he has a special relationship with the UK.

“The whole Osmond mania thing that took place in the early 70s, that ignited the United States.

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“The US was a very good market for me but it wasn’t until my brothers and I went over to the UK that that wave of excitement spilled over into the United States.

“So really it was the UK that was responsible for that Osmond mania era of my life.”

In the years since The Osmonds’ string of hits, including Crazy Horses, propelled the family from a quiet life in Ogden, Utah, to worldwide stardom, Osmond has remained busy.

There was his starring role in Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, a 11-year run in Vegas performing alongside his sister Marie, and a stint on The Masked Singer US where he came runner-up disguised as a peacock.

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Still, he feels his British fans appreciate his music in a more pure way.

“What’s interesting about UK people is that they really enjoy the music,” he explains. “Yeah, it’s the image and all that kind of stuff too. But people in the UK appreciate the music.

“In fact I’m more of a musician in your country than I am here. I’m more of a television personality, concerts and recording and stuff, but over there they really listened to the music. And so as a musician, I appreciate that.

“But there’s also a loyalty factor from the UK fans that just hasn’t waned. Now obviously it’s not like it used to be in the 70s. But how fortunate in my 60 years in showbusiness and it’s still happening.

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“So there’s something about those UK fans. They’re loyal and dedicated for sure.”

Osmond says the key to his longevity in showbusiness – he recently released his milestone 65th album – is reinvention.

“Reinvention is the key to everything, especially when you hit it big as a teen idol, a teenybopper,” he suggests.

“You have to really dig yourself out of a hole over time because it’s fantastic in the moment but then what happens is that all these little teeny boppers that loved you grow out of it.

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“They think that music, the Donny Osmond music, is for kids. Well, Donny Osmond progressed too.

“But it takes a long time for that reinvention process to take place and I’m enjoying the spoils of it now because it’s been a long time.”

Created with Raj Kapoor, who has produced the Oscars and Las Vegas residencies of stars including Mariah Carey and Backstreet Boys, Osmond’s show features more than just songs from his back catalogue.

There is a full Broadway production of his Disney hit from Mulan, I’ll Make A Man Out Of You, and, believe it or not, an “Auto-rap-ography” – a rap song charting his career.

Does he ever worry about sinking into complacency?

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“That’s the poison right there,” he responds. “That’s the danger that so many people get into. I have hit the plateau. I’m a star, now I can coast. Well, that’s the beginning of the end. Every show you deliver you leave 100 per cent on stage. I actually leave 110 per cent on stage. That is why I am dragging a little today.”

Osmond says his audiences have changed over the years and he wants to change with them

“Nowadays the attention span of a fan, regardless of the demographic, is that of a nanosecond.

“They used to be the flavour of the month, flavour of the year. It’s now flavour of the moment because there’s so much out there thanks to social media.

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“In a great way social media has been able to give the opportunity for so many other artists, but it’s also more competitive now.”

You might imagine he no longer feels the pressure but Osmond says otherwise.

“You could use that word but it’s more of a responsibility if you want to launch a long career,” he offers.

“You have to administrate your career in a very intelligent way these days. You can’t just release whatever feels good.

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“You have got to be true to yourself but you also have to be aware of what’s going on.”

This was illustrated in his most recent album, Start Again, where he worked with contemporary pop songwriters.

The Osmond family have played together in various line-ups over the years but Donny suggests retirement and illness means they have played their final show together.

“Everyone has pretty much retired,” he muses. “Marie still performs out there. Of course I do. But the rest of them have pretty much stopped. So I don’t think that will ever happen.”

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Osmond may be well into his 60s but retains the looks of a man in his 30s. He plans to keep performing as long as he can.

“It’s going to be on my watch,” he says, defiantly. “I see the light at the end of the tunnel personally, to be honest with you, because I’m 65. I will be 66 when this tour happens.

“I feel like I’m in my 30s because I take care of myself. But there’ll be a time obviously.

“But you look at Mick Jagger. Why retire when you enjoy what you do? As long as there’s an audience, and they want to see you, and you have the stamina, that R word just doesn’t apply.”

Donny Osmond’s first UK tour in six years will see him at Hull Bonus Arena, Hull on November 28 and Leeds First Direct Arena on December 10. Tickets available now