The human cocktail of adrenaline and exuberance that is Jedward took over Belfast yesterday.
Crying with joy were those who had camped overnight outside a Belfast city centre music store to ensure their place in the queue to see the Dublin duo of Edward and John Grimes.
There was bitter disappointment for some who just missed the cut and couldn’t get their hands on one of the 400 lucky wristbands that were available on a first come, first served basis at the Donegall Arcade HMV store, where the twins were signing copies of their new album.
And whether you love them or hate them, admire them or ridicule them, few could fail to respect the 19-year-olds for the time and attention they gave to each and individual swooning fan who passed by them yesterday in search of an autograph, a hug or the even the chance to steal a kiss.
All the while they exuded nearly combustible energy, bouncing up and down and dancing.
Since appearing on the X Factor in 2009, the boys have stormed their way to three top five singles, a No 1 album and a spot representing Ireland in the Eurovision Song Contest.
Eight-year-old Kirsten Haddock was among the lucky ones who got to meet the pair.
The Currie Primary School pupil perfected the starstruck look as she received a big hug from each and now she can’t wait to tell her P5 friends this September of her star encounter.
Cousins Aimee and Asha Coulter from Belfast were also rendered almost speechless by their encounter with Jedward, particularly Asha, who planted a kiss on Edward’s cheek.
Maria Stritch (19) said she and her friends are familiar faces to Jedward, after travelling halfway round Europe to get up close and personal with the twins.
Fifteen-year-old Nicole Smyth and Ailish O’Leary (19) even said they spent time with Jedward in Dusseldorf during time off from their Eurovision rehearsals in May.
“We got to spend the day with them because they weren’t busy and they are really nice.”
Maria concurred: “They know us all and they always have something to talk about with you, because they’ve seen us so much.”
Love them or hate them, they are born entertainers
By Maureen Coleman
They are the Marmite of the music industry — but love them or loathe them, you certainly can't ignore them.
There's no escaping Jedward — they're everywhere. Since the madcap Irish twins divided the nation with their X Factor performances, they've gone on to notch up a number one album, their own television show, advertising endorsements and a rumoured inclusion on Channel 5's Big Brother. And, of course, they represented Ireland in this year's Eurovision Song Contest, which boosted their popularity across the Continent.
At the tender age of 19, the pair are said to be worth a cool £3.5m — not bad for the boys deemed “vile little creatures” by Simon Cowell.
Their visit to Belfast's HMV store yesterday to sign copies of their upcoming album was greeted with the same hysteria as befits chart-topping boybands like Westlife.
So why does the Jedward juggernaut keep on rolling? While the Terrible Twins may not be the most skilful singers and their dance routines are more chaotic than choreographed, they do actually have a talent. And that's to entertain.
I spent time with the twins earlier this year when they visited Seymour Hill Primary School in Belfast. I expected them to be full-on, in-your-face and, to be honest, irritating.
What I discovered was that, yes, they were full-on, but they were also two very sweet kids, who took time out to talk to every single pupil in that school hall, to make every child feel included. They sang, they danced, they carried on like the clowns they are, but they put smiles on the faces of the children and their teachers. They entertained. And they can't be faulted for that.