Oh, Brother! Here Comes Another Generation of Osmond Boys Making Beautiful Music Together
updated 05/05/1986 AT 01:00 AM EDT
•originally published 05/05/1986 AT 01:00 AM EDT
The new act was the boys' own idea. Explains Michael: "One night, we were watching an old tape of my father and my uncles singing on The Andy Williams Show, and it looked like fun. After the show, we told Dad we wanted to sing like he did."
"Curiously," says Alan, "the boys learned four-part harmony where I learned it—in Yellowstone National Park. When I was a kid, Dad was driving us through the park, singing, when I picked up his harmony. Last summer, when we took the kids to Yellowstone, they learned to sing barber-shop style in the motor home."
The new Osmond Boys had been wowing Mormon church groups and Rotary clubs for nearly a year when talent scout Eugene Jelesnik invited them to audition for Talent Showcase, his local Salt Lake City TV show. Jelesnik, who had featured the Osmond Brothers 24 years before, was so impressed that he junked his regular competition format and devoted the entire half-hour program (it aired April 20) to the new Osmonds. "They're lucky," laughs their father. "When Wayne, Merrill, Jay and I made our Talent Showcase debut, we lost to a tap dancer."
The six-hour taping was the boys' first brush with real showbiz: long hours, hot lights, and the order "Cut! Take it from the top again...and again." "It's all part of the business," said Douglas, as he straightened his cummerbund—"cucumberbund," as Scott called it. "Dad, my diaper hurts," little Jonathan whispered between takes. His father pulled up the tyke's pants and promised him a surprise if he smiled and sang louder than his brothers. He didn't even need to ask.
Off stage, Suzanne and Alan, who met at a Brigham Young University basketball game 12 years ago, are diligent about creating a comfortable nest for their songbirds. They take the boys hiking, camping or out for pizzas and a movie every Saturday. Sundays are spent quietly, attending Sunday school at a Mormon chapel and visiting relatives.
Mom has the boys up every morning at 6:30 to practice singing and piano before classes at their elementary school a few blocks away from their 10-bedroom home on Osmond Lane in Provo, Utah. The brothers sit in chronological order at the dinner table, each assigned his own color cup and plate. The older boys get a $2 weekly allowance, Scott and Jonathan, $1. When they are naughty—they say they rarely are—they must deposit 250 into a "Party Jar," used for pleasure trips.
There are plenty of Osmond cousins to play with. Jay, 31, and Jimmy, 23, are the only Osmond Brothers still single. "Out of 32 grandchildren, Mom and Dad only have seven granddaughters," says Alan. "So you see, we're carrying on the tradition in more ways than one."