FORMER 'Eurovision' winner Paul Harrington yesterday claimed that pop twins Jedward won't be able to sing live at the song contest and are unlikely to even make it out of the semi-finals.
Harrington, who won the competition for Ireland in 1994, was speaking as he launched a rival entry by singer Don Mescal and songwriter Ronan Hardiman to compete against Jedward in Friday night's 'Late Late Show Eurosong Special'.
Praising Mescal (40) as a "strong singer", Harrington said this was in stark contrast to brothers John and Edward Grimes, who he said would have difficulty performing live.
"Jedward are great young fellas with great energy but I think they will struggle singing at 'Eurovision', where you're up against some of the best singers in Europe.
"It is going to matter on the night because if it's a singing competition, with Jedward we're definitely going to lose or not even make it through the semi-finals," Harrington predicted.
The other contenders are the Vard Sisters, Nikki Kavanagh and new male-female quartet Bling, whose members were chosen by EMI head Willie Kavanagh.
Ireland's 'Eurovision' entry will hope to be selected for the main contest after taking part in semi-finals in Dusseldorf, Germany on May 12.
Describing the Jedward entry as "two young fellas 'lepping' about the place", Harrington said Westlife would have been a better Louis Walsh bid to win 'Eurovision' for Ireland.
"Westlife are world-class performers. Hugely polished, great singers and with a following all over the continent, and beyond. I've no doubt Westlife could win 'Eurovision' for Ireland," he added.
But yesterday Harrington was putting his weight behind a 'Eurosong' bid by vocalist Mescal and composer Hardiman with their track 'Talking With Jennifer'.
The pair's chances have been improved by a decision from RTE which will give regional juries two-thirds of the votes in deciding the winner of Friday's 'Late Late Show'. The other third will be phone votes.
The move is intended to off-set any advantage Jedward may have had with phone voters after a 30-second sample of their Eurovision entry 'Lipstick' was uploaded to the web in error but later removed.
But Jedward's mentor Caroline Desmond said it was "premature" to question her act's singing abilities before Friday night's programme.
"The public will decide on the song they most like on the night," she said.