They’re the twin brothers who reached 8th place in the 2011 Eurovision Song Contest in Dusseldorf, landing Ireland’s only top 10 finish since 2000. Thanks to their slick performance and the pop anthem ‘Lipstick’, the brothers earned a legion of devoted fans across the continent. Such was their popularity that they returned to the 2012 contest in Baku with their bubble-gum pop-rock track ‘Waterline’, which landed in 19th place.
From the beginning, Jedward had a clear brand: Gaga-esque, futuristic costumes; a hyperactive, physical presence; and an endearing, child-like naivety. Since their breakout, They’ve released 4 albums (with three number 1 albums in their native Ireland), placed third in the UK’s Celebrity Big Brother, and fronted multiple children’s TV series for both RTÉ in Ireland and the BBC in the UK.
However, for as many adoring fans the brothers Grimes won over, there was always a certain sardonic and haughty dismissal of the boys’ undeniable talents in the UK & Ireland mainstream. This may be due to their initial rise to fame on The X-Factor UK, and their positioning as the token, novelty-act in the 2009 series. Eleven years on since that X Factor debut, John and Edward Grimes are matured 28 year old artists with a lot to say.
Jedward took to Irish TV’s biggest chat show, RTÉ’s The Late Late Show, last Friday night (25th September). As the host pointed out, the pair have been very vocal on Twitter in response to the anti-mask and anti-restrictions protests that have been rising in many countries as the COVID-19 pandemic marches on. This has included publicly calling out celebrities on Twitter, including Noel Gallagher from Oasis and Jim Corr from The Corrs.
John explained the pair’s frustrations:
“I feel like there was so much misleading information online. You had figures (who) people looked up to over the years and I feel like it was throwing the people. Those people who are against it (masks and restrictions), you might want to go outside, but (that’s) all ‘me, me, me’. You need to think of everyone, you need to be more caring, and just more thoughtful“.
Edward took a more direct approach, addressing protesters straight down the camera lens:
“Hi, how are you? Wear your mask. People are dying. People have died. People have not been able to go to funerals. They won’t have some family members this Christmas. You wear your mask, change your ways, educate yourself….it’s not a protest if your spreading a virus and not wearing a mask“.
Edward then went on to elaborate on his viewpoint to the host. Speaking of the protesters, he said:
“It’s not even about masks, they stand for so much stuff that’s wrong in the world and it’s just the tip of the iceberg….this demographic of people have so much anger in them“.
Showing incredible emotional strength, the lads also opened up about the death of their mother last year. Explaining how it affected him, Edward said:
“You just sort of disconnect from the world, cause the person that kept you anchored in the world, who gave birth to you, is gone and now you don’t know where you should be, what you should be doing.“
Jedward finished the interview with an acoustic performance of REM’s Everybody Hurts, dedicated to the memory of their mother. The full interview can be found on the RTÉ Player (geographical restrictions may apply in some countries).