Tuesday 13 November 2018

Europe is gripped by Jedmania as nerveless duo seize moment

Ken Sweeney in Dusseldorf

THEY may have faced Simon Cowell and survived, but pop twins Jedward will face their greatest test this evening in front of an audience of millions around Europe.

Competing in the second semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest, the 19-year-olds will either win a place in the main event on Saturday night or be sent back to Ireland with their Eurovision dream in ruins.

But if they were nervous, they certainly weren't showing it yesterday.

"This is like 'X Factor' all over again for us. We know what to do. This is our moment. We want Ireland to know we are ready," the duo said.

However, it seems like the whole of Europe is ready for Jedward too. The Lucan brothers are now 11/2 to win the overall competition behind France at 7/4.

Bookies Paddy Power estimates they alone will lose over €2m if Jedward qualify from tonight's semi-final and go on to win Eurovision.

Due to this and mass media interest in the pair the bookmaker has been forced to slash their odds of winning the competition from 14/1 to 11/2.

"Jedward came, saw and charmed Europe. I've never known an Irish act to be this talked about. I remember being at this stage with Dustin and no one thought he was going to win," Julian Vignoles, head of the Irish delegation, claimed.

MCD's Caroline Downey, who has led Jedward's Eurovision bid, said: "Europe gets Jedward. Germany, Sweden, Russian, Austria -- we have been inundated with requests for interviews."

Jedward won more fans last night when they performed in rehearsals for tonight's semi-final at the 24,000-seat Esprit Arena in Dusseldorf.

Their performance of 'Lipstick' tonight will be marked by juries around Europe, those scores will then be added to the text votes they receive.

Prior to their run-though, the four-star hotel in the centre of Dusseldorf that Jedward are staying at was at serious risk of being overrun by adoring fans.

"We can order room service and RTE will pay for it all. Only joking. Louis (Walsh) is arriving tomorrow but he's staying in a more expensive hotel because he doesn't do four-star. We're not joking about that," said John.

Meanwhile, former Irish Eurovision winner Johnny Logan, who is also in Dusseldorf for the contest, has offered grudging support for the pair.

The singer said he had heard "good reports" about Jedward.

"I was previously quoted as saying they were an embarrassment to Ireland. That is a misquote, what I said was, I find it embarrassing to watch their behaviour but I wish them the best of luck. I hope they make everybody proud back home, the song is great but I'm really glad they have got four good backing vocalists," said Logan.

Broadcaster Marty Whelan yesterday revealed how he overcame technical difficulties to provide RTE's commentary on Tuesday night's first semi-final.

"The lines went down and I ended up chatting to myself. In the end I had to do the commentary for two hours over the phone. It was like a long phone conversation with my mother," Marty said.

The twins will perform last in the second semi-final tonight, they will need to finish in the top 10 to make it to the main contest. They would join 10 other acts, including Serbia, Greece and Azerbaijan, who qualified from the first semi-final and automatic qualifiers: France, the UK, Germany, Spain and Italy.

The Eurovision semi-final starts on RTE Two at 8pm tonight.

Irish Independent

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