So who’s the lucky act who gets to take the pimp slot closing the first Semi-final? Oh, it’s Jedward … again! After riding a wave of momentum in the second semi-final last year, Jedward backflipped their way to an impressive 8th place last year, rehabilitating the fortunes of the once-unstoppable Irish nation at Eurovision.
Indeed Ireland hold several contest records, the most wins with 7 to their name. Three of these were consecutive victories in the 90s, another record. It’s got the highest average points total, and 34 top ten finishes out of 45 entries. Against this backdrop, the wheels really fell off the Irish machine in the 00’s, with a number of songs not qualifying, and poor results for those that did.
So Jedward appeared to be the saviours of Irish pride last year, so much so that they got to do it all again this year. The twins rose to notoriety on the UK’s 2009 X-Factor, and turned into a much talked-about novelty act, with limited vocal prowess being papered over with ridiculous staging.
Even finishing 6th in X-Factor didn’t slow them down, with a hit single and a stint on Celebrity Big Brother, so it was easy to assume that their 2010 entry was another joke for a bit more of the spotlight. There was a large degree of self-knowing in “Lipstick”, with another flashy stage-show to cover up for the vocal shortcomings. But at its core, “Lipstick” was a solid and instantly memorable pop song, with devastatingly effective visuals. So their victory seemed well deserved.
But what’s this? They seem to be taking themselves a bit more seriously with a more straightforward pop effort that feels more like an unused Westlife B-Side from 10 years ago (though it never did One Direction any harm).
The problem is that Jedward (as many novelty acts in the X-Factor did) stopped being fun as soon as they decided they weren’t going to be the joke act anymore, and everyone realised that under all that showboating were just a pair of inept pouting teenagers. I’m afraid history seems to be repeating itself if that music video is anything to go by.
Are they going for a modelling shoot? Aren’t they in on this joke and playing a role for a bit of fun and celebrity? I’m not sure anymore, and it leaves me with a rather cynical feeling in my stomach. They’ve tasted European success after “Lipstick” last year (though curiously not in the UK), is there really a market for a pair of shamelessly pouting and “Blue Steel”-ing guys if the songs aren’t up to much?
I think Ireland needs another wake-up call.