Donny and Marie Osmond laughed, they clowned, they made faces — a brother-and-sister act still going strong 32 years after America first started its love affair with the then-teenage hosts of their own prime-time variety show.
The ageless siblings are coming back to prime time at 9 p.m. ET on Friday, when they will host the Miss USA pageant live from Las Vegas on NBC. On Thursday, they checked in with TODAY’s Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb to talk about a pageant that has worked hard to keep up with the times.
“It changes as people change,” Marie said after Kotb observed that since Donald Trump got involved with it, the pageant no longer has that “old school” look.
“Old school was old school, but it was hip for them,” Marie Osmond said.
The interview was beset by technical problems that made it difficult for the Osmonds to hear the questions. So they filled in with pantomime and their signature megawatt smiles.
They said they’ve met the contestants, and, Marie reported, “Everybody is very, very nervous and excited.”
Donny said there wouldn’t be any map questions, a reference to last year’s Miss Teen USA pageant in which one contestant stumbled semicoherently through a question about geography.
“The girls are very sharp, they’re really excited to show that they can compete, that they’re articulate, intelligent, excited about their career paths and choices,” Marie said. “What this is about is looking good and loving life and having fun and being supportive of each other.”
Rachel Smith, Miss USA 2007, will crown her successor Friday at the conclusion of the two-hour telecast on NBC from the Theatre for the Performing Arts at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas
Miss USA travels the nation as an advocate for breast and ovarian cancer awareness, education, research and legislation. Each contestant from 50 states and the District of Columbia will be judged in three categories: swimsuit, evening gown and interview.
Marie Osmond, the baby sister of the Osmond brothers, started her more than 40-year career on “The Andy Williams Show” at the age of 3. As a teenager, she became one of the youngest people ever to host a prime-time television show, “The Donny & Marie Show,” with her brother.
A successful author, singer, Broadway actress and entrepreneur, she is proudest of raising eight children and being a founder of the Children's Miracle Network, which has thus far raised more than $3.4 billion for children's hospitals throughout the U.S. and Canada. She most recently made entertainment headlines when she fainted after a performance on “Dancing With the Stars.”
Donny Osmond, a teen heartthrob performing with his brothers in "The Osmonds," began his career at the age of 5, and by 13 had already collected the first 18 of his 33 gold records. He’s sold more than 80 million albums and recently released his 55th record, “Love Songs of the ’70s,” which shipped gold in the United Kingdom.
Donny has also had starring roles on stage as Joseph in Sir Andrew Lloyd Weber's “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” and last year on Broadway as Gaston in “Beauty and the Beast.” In more than 40 years in entertainment, Donny has been a singer, actor, television host, author and motivational speaker.
Donny and his wife of 29 years, Debbie, have five children and two grandchildren.
This year is the 50th anniversary of the Osmonds as a performing family. The seven performing Osmonds are going on tour for the first time in 27 years in the U.K., Australia, and Asia in May and June, and Donny and Marie are reuniting after many years for a run in Las Vegas in July.
The Miss USA pageant judges are: Heather Mills, contestant on season four of "Dancing With the Stars"; Rob Schneider, star of "I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry"; Joey Fatone, host of "The Singing Bee"; Kristian Alfonso, entrepreneur and star of NBC's "Days of our Lives"; Olympic gold-medal swimmer Amanda Beard; Christian Siriano, this season's winner of Bravo's hit show "Project Runway"; San Diego Chargers linebacker Shawne "Lights Out" Merriman; celebrity hairstylist Ken Paves; Kelly Carlson, star of "Nip/Tuck"; and Vanity Fair's celebrity journalist George Wayne.
The Miss Universe, Miss USA and Miss Teen USA Pageants are a Donald J. Trump and NBC Universal joint venture.