Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 1 October 2014

Jedward did their best to bankrupt Ireland, bless their cotton socks

X Factor twins lost out to some Moldovans in funny hats - but that's really not such a bad thing, writes Gene Kerrigan

Jedward - during last minute rehersals with Backing singers Morgan Deane and Leanne Moore in Dusseldorf
DUESSELDORF, GERMANY - MAY 12: John and Edward Grimes of the band Jedward from Ireland peform in the second semi-finals of the Eurovision Song Contest 2011 on May 12, 2011 in Dusseldorf, Germany. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
Jedward's Eurovision journey. 2011

The nagging fear of Jedward winning Eurovison takes away from the enjoyment.

Watching the Eurovision Song Contest, we knew that the cost of winning the damn thing and staging it next year would push us even more quickly over the edge into national bankruptcy.

We longed for good songs, to ensure someone else would be stuck with the bill.

The first song, however, was from a smiling Finnish chap with a guitar, and lyrics he found in a Christmas cracker. "Da-da-dum, da-da-dumda," he sang, in the best Eurovision tradition.

To ensure that the songs remained peripheral, and national loyalties prevailed, voting began before a single note was sung. For some reason, what appeared to be the HB ice cream logo hung above much of the action.

When they showed that 90-second time-lapse video of how the Germans transformed a Dusseldorf stadium into a massive TV studio -- God, that must have cost millions. Of course, the Germans didn't have to worry -- sure, weren't their banks due another tranche of free money from Ireland.

The show had the traditional 'funny' presenters, living down to the standards of yesteryear. And the compulsory peculiar act from Moldova, men with funny hats. A woman circled them on a unicycle, as they performed a dance drawn from someone's nightmare. These people know how to avoid staging an expensive event.

Denmark had a group with a lead singer who started out to grow a Jedward hairstyle and lost his nerve.

Lithuania's song, like most entries, was sung in English, then went into French -- then the singer began performing the lyrics in sign language, eager to cover every voting demographic.

Jedward did their best to bankrupt us, lepping around the stage with the dedication that comes from knowing that Louis Walsh had a team of snipers in the rafters, to take them out if their energy flagged.

Not to worry. These guys may not be singers, or dancers, their patter may be infantile -- and there may be something creepy about watching 19-year-olds speaking like 10-year-olds -- but they know how to take a stage and jump up and down on it until it screams for mercy.

When they were done, Marty Whelan sounded like his lower half had melted into a warm, slushy puddle. Marvellous, he gushed, and every pre-teenager on the island screamed in agreement.

When the French song arrived -- said to be the favourite -- it turned out to be a mock operatic piece, the kind of thing you sing when you're marching off to invade somewhere. It didn't so much end as peter out.

Blue did their best for the UK, but looked and sounded like something from another age.

"I mean, it'd be fine for a wedding", said Graham Norton, underwhelmed by the interval act. He was being kind.

Our spirits lifted as the voting left us trailing badly. Then, to soften us up for Her Majesty's visit, the UK gave us 12 points.

Suddenly we were in trouble. But happily, the surge ebbed and we fell lower, beneath the Moldovans in the funny hats. Jedward will survive, on their energy and hard neck, and Croke Park is spared an expensive transformation.

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