Grimes twins win the hearts of Europe in Dusseldorf
WHETHER YOU'RE a fan of Jedward or you cannot see what all the fuss is about, it's impossible not to be proud of the lads after their phenomenal effort on Saturday night.
As the votes were tallied and the outcome of the Eurovision 2011 unfolded, it never really felt like they had a shot at the top spot. But the anticipation was palpable as they hovered amongst the top 10, sliding excitedly up and down before finally resting at an impressive eighth place.
John and Edward Grimes admittedly may not be the most talented of singers. That absence of obvious talent was the reason that only two years ago, they took to the X Factor stage and were booed by audiences.
They had the country divided over whether to throw support behind the only Irish competitor in the British talent show that season, or to be embarrassed by the hostile response they generated. 24 months later and the lads have won the hearts of Europe. They are worth a small fortune and they have legions of fans (albeit screaming young tweens) in Ireland, England and, no doubt very soon, across the continent.
Not too bad considering the boys are the fresh young age of 19 years.
When I was 19 I was studying at university amassing a huge university debt and working three part time jobs to get by, not travelling to Germany representing my country and performing in front of an estimated 300 million viewers around the world.
You have to hand it to them, they have proven to be rather smart in playing the fame game. And with Louis Walsh driving them, the man responsible for some of the biggest acts to come out of Ireland, they're on a winning streak that, hopefully, will not end too soon and will surely set them up for life.
Like it or not, the music industry these days is as much about the ability to please a crowd as it is about talent and what pop stars lack in talent, they can often make up for in showmanship. Jedward are a prime example. Their energy is endless and it is easy to see the brothers do work exceptionally hard.
Each year, Australia holds a Eurovision weekend, and while they cannot vote in the Eurovision contest, voting is open for fans to decide who their favourite performer is. This year the results differed significantly from Europe, and with Jedward coming in first with 8,350 votes ahead of Greece in second with 7,120, it seems 'Jedmania' is sweeping across the globe. Winners Azerbaijan, meanwhile, came in last with only 245 votes.
Watching as the results of the 2011 voting were revealed on Saturday night, it was difficult not to feel a touch disillusioned with Eurovision. It is sad to think that a talent contest which saw the rise of international sensations like ABBA has now become a practice in block voting.
Azerbaijan's Ell and Nikki sang a nice song that was not undeserving, but are they to become the next big thing out of Europe, or will they be but a distant memory by the 2012 competition?
Meanwhile Belgium, with their unique blend of A Capella harmonies and funky beat boxing, missed out on a grand final place that rightfully belonged to them. Then again, maybe Eurovision isn't quite ready for such obvious originality.