Jimmy Osmond talks Celebrity MasterChef and bringing the Andy Williams Christmas Show back to the UK

John Anson – July 8, 2016


IT’S seven in the morning in LA, we’re only just in July and I’m talking to Jimmy Osmond about Christmas and MasterChef.

“Hey buddy, I’m up and at it today,” he laughed. “It’s early but I’m here, I’m not a late night guy.

“Don’t you find that the older we get, we start getting up earlier?”

For many people Jimmy will always be ‘Little’ Jimmy Osmond, the youngest member of the singing dynasty which threatened world domination in the 1970s. Jimmy had the hit Long Haired Lover From Liverpool in 1972 when he became the youngster person to ever have a number one single aged just nine.

Now 53, Jimmy will be back on our TV screens this week taking part in Celebrity MasterChef in which well known personalities try to prove their hidden culinary talents.

“I’ve always loved to cook but I never thought I’d be in a cooking competition that’s for sure,” said Jimmy, who will taking on boxer Audley Harrison, TV presenter Cherry Healey, antiques expert David Harper and Strictly heart-throb Gleb Savchenko.

Singer, entertainer and businessman he may be but how good is Jimmy Osmond the chef?

“I think I’m all right,” he said. “I had a restaurant when I was quite young.

“When we were growing up Donny and Marie would pretend they had a hotel when we went on tour and I wanted to play with them so I always pretended that I had a restaurant called Jimmy’s.

“I ended up having that restaurant and I still own the building today but it was just a burger place.

“The food I cooked was just the kind of food regular guys would eat. On MasterChef it’s a whole different level.”

Jimmy has been sworn to secrecy about his time on the show but revealed he thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

“Greg Wallace and John Torode (the presenters of MasterChef) are hilarious and great fun but it’s a lot of pressure and I actually found it quite emotional,” he said.

“You put yourself up there but you don’t think it’ll get to you. I’m used to pressure but this was something else.”

As he talks about the show it’s clear he’ll be worth watching.

“I’m usually OK at being out of my comfort zone but I had a little bit of a ….. oh, you’ll see,” he said mysteriously.

“I did have a few catastrophes but if you fancy watching it I think you’ll have a big laugh when it comes to me. I made a mess that’s for sure.”

With MasterChef have been filmed earlier this year, Jimmy has the festive season firmly on his mind. With brothers Jay and Merrill he will be bringing the Andy Williams Christmas Spectacular back to the UK for a special seasonal run which includes dates at both Preston Guild Hall and Burnley Mechanics.

The show sold out when it came to the UK for the first time last year.

“It did really well,” said Jimmy. “You guys know how to reminisce and hold on to traditions and the show’s just the perfect fit.”

Part variety show, part seasonal spectacular the 2016 production will feature two stars from Britain’s Got Talent, ventriloquist Steve Hewlett and singer Charlie Green plus the Moon River Singers and Dancers

The format is unashamedly nostalgic, based on the classic Andy Williams shows which were an institution on American television.

The Osmonds have a deep connection with the legendary entertainer. He gave them their first break and they would appear on the show every week.

“It was fun,” said Jimmy. “We grew up on his show and it was like being on Britain’s Got Talent every night. Because of all the exposure that we had people got to know us and see personalities from an early stage.”

Andy Williams had his own theatre at Branson, Missouri, which staged variety shows all year round. On his death, Jimmy took over the running of the theatre.

“His show was important to us,” said Jimmy, “and it’s fun to continue his legacy. Andy was always classy. You just don’t see people like him any more.”

Jimmy is delighted to be bringing an old fashioned Christmas across the Atlantic.

“I love it over there,” he said. “I’ve done five pantomimes and other shows so I’ve spent a lot of Christmases over there and my family have too.

“I think we all become children at Christmas but in the UK you know how to celebrate the traditions of the season.

“You guys wear the jumpers and have fun, relax, enjoy it and reminisce and that’s perfect mix for a show like ours.”

The show includes footage of vintage Andy Williams Christmas shows plus seasonal songs and the Osmond brothers revisiting their extensive back catalogue.

“We’ve tried to make parts of it more contemporary it by introducing music that a younger audience will know as well,” said Jimmy.

“But we have stick to Andy’s original formula. He never wanted anything longer than a three minute song. He always packed it full of music and action and dancing so we try to do that as well.”

The Andy Williams Christmas Extravaganza, Preston Guild Hall, Wednesday, December 21 (01772 804444) and Burnley Mechanics on Wednesday, December 28 (01282 664400). Jimmy Osmond will be on Masterchef on BBC1 at 8pm on Thursday.

Article originally posted with the Lancashire Telegraph

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