There’ll be an extra judge watching all the moving and shaking on the Strictly dance floor this weekend as singer Donny Osmond flies in from the USA to sit alongside Len, Bruno, Darcey and Craig. Here, the 1970s pop superstar tells What’s On TV about his guest appearance as a Strictly Come Dancing judge…
Have you seen much of Strictly Come Dancing before?
“I have seen it, but it’s difficult because we don’t get it over here in the States. You have to YouTube it, but I’m certainly well informed about the format since I won the American version of the show.”
Would you say winning Dancing With the Stars in 2009 secured you this guest judge spot in Strictly?
“Most definitely. And I judged on the US show last season, so I think they were quite impressed with my judging skills. I’m not a harsh judge but I’m a critical judge. I know what the dancers are going through, especially as I’ve been performing for 50 years. So I will look at the dancers’ overall performance and the chemistry between them, not so much technique. If they’re enjoying it, you’ve got to see it in their face because otherwise the audience isn’t going to enjoy it.”
You were judged back in 2009 by Len and Bruno, so are you looking forward to meeting them again?
“I can hardly wait to be with Len and Bruno again! Len was extremely tough on me and after one of my dances, he just said: ‘That was a mess!’Funnily enough I had to agree with him! I did mess it up and deserve that critique, but he was very very critical. He’d never smile. I worked my butt off. Len was such a stickler.”
“Bruno was great. I love the way he talks, as he gets so flamboyant with his explanations.”
Have you heard what Craig is like? Are you fully prepared for his sarcasm and acid-tongue?
“I hear Craig is a real butt-head – really, really mean and critical. I thought nobody could be more critical than Len but apparently Craig is… I’m glad I’m not dancing in front of Craig, let’s put it that way. I’m not going to be like him and look at the minute details. As I said, it’s going to be all about the performance for me, so it’s going to be a nice juxtaposition between Craig and me.”
Have you heard of any of the stars we’ve got dancing this year?
“I have and this week I’m going to be reading up on everybody so I’m going to be well versed as to who they are and how they’re dancing.”
Which did you find the most difficult dance in Dancing With The Stars?
“I would say the jitterbug was very, very difficult for me because the legs are constantly moving. The Argentine Tango was my favourite dance, but my wife saw that sexy dance and she calls it the ‘you can sleep on the couch’ dance!”
Do you think singers and musical performers have a bit of an edge?
“Not at all. There’s a football player over here in the US called Emmitt Smith who won the trophy. He had no dance experience, but he was agile and would go the extra mile and work hard…”
The audience takes to the person who goes on the biggest journey, don’t they?
“What’s interesting, I don’t know the statistics over there, but sometimes it’s very challenging and not very good to stay at the top of the leader board the entire time because you lose the audience votes because the underdog is who people vote for. I was at the bottom of the leader board at the 7th week and I was going to be kicked off. And at the beginning of 8, 9 and 10 it just kept climbing and climbing and I won it. I was the underdog who won!”
What makes Strictly and Dancing With The Stars so successful?
“It’s pure variety and people love variety. We call it reality TV but in reality people love to be entertained. People like to see people out of their element, like the sports people. Yes it’s nice to see a singer prevail, but if you get a dance-trained person in there you go ‘oh they’re going to win anyway.’ They do have a disadvantage in a way because they have to go the extra mile to be even better than they are. These shows are great because they pit all these different talents and different dynamics against each other.”
You’ll be performing a song too, from your new album Soundtrack of My Life…
“I’m going to be performing Moon River from my album, and I think a couple of the pro dancers may be dancing to it. I’m just glad I’m only singing in front of Craig and not dancing for him.”
*Donny will appear as guest judge on Strictly on October 11 and 12. His new album Soundtrack of My Life is released in November, and you can preview some of the songs on this free Donny Osmond App