Donny Osmond ducked me so often last month, he should have dressed as one.
I tried wrangling the costumed superstar on the phone, in text, even in two visits to the Donny & Marie Showroom at Flamingo Las Vegas.
And every time, he ducked away. For a good reason. He was a finalist on the Fox TV spectacle, “The Masked Singer,” which was part competition show, part parlor game and silly all the way.
T-Pain (as the Monster) won the series title. Osmond was second and R&B legend Gladys Knight (as the Bee) was third.
Next year, we’ll set betting lines on this show. Jay Kornegay, do you hear me?
For the uninitiated, viewers of “The Masked Singer” were given clues throughout the series to guess the identities of these masked singers. Osmond came up with most of his clues himself.
“The peacock costume itself was my idea,” Osmond said. “Nobody figured out that the costume itself was a clue.”
“For NBC,” he said. “My TV appearance was on the Peacock Network.”
Osmond agreed to be on the show only after his longtime friend and casting directer Deena Katz, who also recruited him for “Dancing With the Stars,” convinced him the show would not be cheap. It wasn’t. The production, the costumes, the judging panel (Jenny McCarthy, Ken Jeong, Robin Thicke and Nicole Scherzinger) made for a high-quality — somewhat daffy — prime-time series.
Osmond did not miss any D&M shows in Las Vegas, but came close twice. “The Masked Singer” tapings ended in L.A. at 6 p.m.; Donny & Marie take the stage at Flamingo at 7:30 p.m.
“We had to cut it very close,” Osmond said. “That’s why I had to tell Marie I was the Peacock — she might have had to go on live without me, because of the show.”
That strategy essentially unmasked Osmond before the series finale on Feb. 27. During an interview with Access Hollywood, Marie actually tipped off that Donny was the Peacock by saying, “I told him he should have used harder clues,” but that comment was deep into the show’s run when viewers had essentially figured out the Peacock’s identity.
“I heard some pretty wild guesses,” Osmond said. “One was Tom Jones. I don’t think he can still dance like the Peacock. And when I talked about ‘Blurred Lines,’ Weird Al Yankovic became a popular choice. Robin was convinced it was Weird Al.”
That’s because Yankovic has performed a parody of Thick’s dance-club hit.
“I actually got an e-mail from Weird Al after I was unmasked,” said Osmond, who himself has used the song as inspiration in his own solo career. “He said, ‘Now I know it wasn’t me!’ “
Donny & Marie have added a clip in their act, showing Osmond performing on the as the Peacock on the Fox show.
“It comes up, and everyone starts chanting, ‘Pea-cock! Pea-cock!’ ” Osmond said, laughing. “It’s really the weirdest thing.”
The future of Donny & Marie on the Strip has been a side topic ever since Osmond began appearing on the singing show. We’ll know for sure within two weeks that D&M will almost certainly closed their 11-year run at Flamingo this November. Osmond is focusing on recording his 62nd album, which will coincide with his 62nd birthday Dec. 9.
“There will be some collaborations on this album you would never imagine,” Osmond said. “I’m being very progressive with this one. No covers. I’m in the process right now.”
He’s not ruling out a return to “The Masked Singer,” either.
“I think there are opportunities there, as a guest judge,” he said. “I mean, who better? I know what it’s like to be in that costume. I am the Peacock.”
‘Fantasy’ cuts MJ act
Anita Mann, producers of the long-running adult review “Fantasy” at Luxor, has cut the Michael Jackson routine performed by ace comic Sean E. Cooper in the middle of the show. Mann had choreographed Jackson early in his career, when he was in “The Jacksons,” TV series, and Mann has said he was the greatest dancer she ever worked with.
But the jarring allegations against Jackson in the HBO documentary “Leaving Neverland” led Mann to remove the routine from the production. She said in a statement:
“We have decided to remove that portion of the act from Sean E. Cooper’s comedy routine during the show, as we want to respect the sensitivity of the issue.”
Cooper has parodied Jackson, to devastating effect, for many years as the production’s comic interlude. At one point, as Jackson, Cooper calls to a male audience member by name and says, “Is that you? You’re all grown up!”
The act was cut prior to Wednesday’s performance. Fortunately, Cooper has plenty of material to fill, and performs an especially inspired James Brown routine.
What Works In Vegas
Piff The Magic Dragon, who has added 5:30 p.m. dates to his schedule at Bugsy’s Cabaret at Flamingo Las Vegas. The earlier dates are added to his usual 8 p.m. shows on March 25, March 28, April 18 and April 21, with more to come.
Hearing that the towering, non-verbal and brilliant Puddles Pity Party is returning to Cleopatra’s Barge at Caesars Palace in April … Expect more news, recording-wise and otherwise, from 1Oak Nightclub at Mirage headliner Matt Goss, who celebrates his 10th anniversary in Vegas in June … Chris Wayne and Mike Tyler of the Naked Magicians have faced some unexpected audience participation — from folks peeking through the windows and calling out to the duo at Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club at MGM Grand. “We’re hearing these shouts and we didn’t know where they were coming from,” Wayne said. That never happens to Garrett … Pia Zadora of Pia’s Place at Piero’s Italian Restaurant is a hit at the Whitney Museum of Art, in the “Andy Warhol — From A to B and Back Again” exhibit. Zadora sat for Warhol, who was a big fan of hers, in 1983.
Former Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman will have a martini in one hand and clippers in the other (what could possibly go wrong?) for my annual St. Baldrick’s head-shaving at 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Nine Fine Irishmen at New York-New York. This is my seventh, but Goodman’s first, shaving event. He promises, “I’ve been practicing with a strait-edge.” Lovely. But hey, you can still donate to my St. Baldrick’s page to fight childhood cancer.
John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His PodKats podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.