A Week In Radio
by Elisabeth Mahoney
April 12, 2012
"It's been 40 years since I had a No 1 hit with Puppy Love," Donny Osmond told listeners to his new Sunday night show on Smooth Radio. Before playing the track, he recalled singing the song live on stage in the early days: "The girls started screaming and I forgot the words."
The four-hour show from Las Vegas could do with a little more of this layer of him reminiscing about his career. Otherwise, it's several relaxed tracks played back to back, with gaps so long between Donny's links that you start wondering what on earth he might be doing during the music, and a smattering of slightly odd entertainment stories. The first was Kate Winslet's reaction ("Make it stop! Make it stop!") on seeing herself in 3D in Titanic.
Musically, the show suits its slot (8pm-midnight) with its easy-going classics, and Donny is certainly smooth enough to feel at home on the station. "I beat Celine Dion as best singer in Las Vegas," he said of a recent award before playing some Dion. He talked about a Chinese fad for pillow fights to de-stress, then pretended to write "Marie" on a pillowcase ("Hey, Marie, can I see you for a minute?"). It's all very slickly done, but more chat from Donny would improve things. One unintended giggle: the commercial break after Puppy Love featured a rather neatly placed ad for dog food.
Annie Nightingale's Eternal Jukebox (Radio 2), a one-off show for Easter Monday, was a far livelier affair, crackling with fidgety energy. "Hello, hi, hey!" said Nightingale after the opening track: Killer Queen. From there, she explained, the idea was that each track would spark a connection from "the jukebox in my head". The result was a meander through beautiful music – Prefab Spout, This Mortal Coil, Ian Dury, Fleetwood Mac, Bob Marley – yoked together with much style and verve by Nightingale. It was a huge treat for those of us who grew up listening to her Sunday night show, but who aren't majorly drawn to the grime and dubstep she plays on Radio 1. More, please.