Saturday 27 May 2017

They can't sing. They can't dance. They've come a long way

As their new biography appears, Jedward give their views on this year's 'X-Factor' and their American dream. Kim Bielenberg reports

Kim Bielenberg

Kim Bielenberg

To their detractors they are like a pair of pesky flies who keep buzzing around your ear at a picnic.

A year after Jedward became implausibly-quiffed household names on The X Factor they continue to have a bewilderingly devoted following of ardent admirers.

One over-enthusiastic fan summed up the feeling of many fans in a message to them on Twitter: "I want you both in my bed right now, one covered in chocolate sauce and the other in baby oil.''

The tuneless twosome could never claim to be the musical heirs of the Beatles. One critic said: "They sing like drunks in a midnight choir (and dance like goats on mescalin)."

Despite these brickbats they are an entertainment phenomenon that simply will not go away. Now they hope that their act, whatever it consists of, will prove popular in America.

The twins are now understood to have an ambition to become TV stars on the far side of the Atlantic, where they are complete unknowns.

They recently revealed that they secured acting roles on the Disney Channel and they hope to front their own programme on American TV.

"They don't know us yet in the States but any Americans we meet tell us we look 'very wholesome', which is supposed to be the best thing they could say," says Edward.

Since their appearances on The X Factor the pair have already appeared in two fly-on-the-wall documentary series, released an album and they are on a non-stop tour.

After their ITV series Jedward Let Loose, where they had to cope in an apartment on their own, proved popular, they were commissioned to do a third documentary series, set in America.

Few celebrities have managed to turn out a biography when they have just passed their 19th birthdays. Jedward -- Our Story is just about to be published. It may not trouble the literary critics with its poetic vision, but it will probably sell by the truckload.

The Lucan pair and their management team have cleverly used new media to keep their name in the spotlight.

This week, they reached a target of 100,000 followers on Twitter. Thanks to the micro-blogging site, all of these fans can follow their every move in minute detail.

The Twitter fans virtually know what John and Edward have for their breakfast (any seasoned Jedwardologist will be aware that they favour Coco Pops with water), and what they have been dreaming about

Scant in punctuation, their tweets are occasionally mystifying, with comments like: "The minute you walk into a glass door is the moment you discover that glass doesn't taste like glass! its tasteless.''

We know the feeling.

If X Factor years are like dog years Jedward are well on their way to old age.

Most of their fellow contestants on last year's show have been forgotten. The lucky ones might get the odd gig with a captive audience on a cruise liner, or do a turn in a holiday camp.

Even the name of last year's winner, Joe McElderry, hardly trips off the tongue.

At this stage John and Edward are like grizzled reality show/talent show veterans.

According to the pair, The X Factor's key figure, Simon Cowell, has been advising this year's contestants to "be more like Jedward".

Last year, they helped to keep the ratings of the show above 15 million with their meticulously-executed oddball antics.

So, it is no surprise that Cowell wants to recreate the twins' magic.

"Simon Cowell is telling them to be more like us -- as in not to be boring and just be themselves," John said this week.

The pair visited the show last weekend and mingled with contestants.

"We're like their mentors this year,'' said John

"We've met the other contestants and we have been going around giving them advice on the show.''

So what is it like watching The X Factor rather than competing in it?

"We know exactly what the others are going through as we've been there ourselves and we know how intimidating it can be,'' said John.

"It's really weird watching the show as that was us going through all that only a year ago. We're dying to run out and just storm the stage."

Jedward firmly believe that the three Irish acts in the last 12 -- including the Tesco worker Mary Byrne -- have got what it takes to go all the way.

"These guys are so fantastic, and so talented," said Edward.

John and Edward do not worry that they will be eclipsed now that a new batch of X Factor acts are up and running.

"There's no need for us to worry about the competition from these new Irish stars as we know our act is totally unique."

Certainly, there is little sign that arrival of a fresh string of X Factor warblers has stopped the Jedward carousel from spinning.

The twins are booked up for concerts until well into next year, and there is no escape from them on television for the foreseeable future, either.

As well as the US-based documentary series and the biography, they are bound to pop up on The X Factor during the current series, particularly if ratings begin to flag.

Their fame is only likely to be redoubled when they appear in the jungle in the reality show, I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here, later in the year.

As Edward, the more articulate of the two puts it: "I would so go into the jungle. I'm sick of the way there are so many trees and no one ever climbs them'."

Increasingly their career is likely to switch away from music to TV.

Even their manager Louis Walsh has admitted that their future is more likely to be as models or TV presenters than pop stars.

"They're not Lennon and McCartney, they're not Simon and Garfunkel -- they're Jedward," said Walsh.

One music industry executive agrees that they are more likely to have a successful career as presenters than recording artists.

"Nobody could say that their album was a great pop record (it was released to a critical mauling in July), but you never know what will happen,'' said the executive.

"If they are picked up by one of the TV channels in America, they could become even bigger stars than they are now.''

Irish Independent

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