‘Me and John give so much all year’
Fast-talking, Christmas-partying, hair-raising Jedward look surpisingly measured and suave as they model suits and talk of traditional family festivities
John and Edward Grimes aka Jedward in the The Merrion Hotel, The Front Hall, Upper Merrion Street, Dublin 2 wearing Kennedy Blue suit in superfine wool (€745) from Louis Copeland. Photograph: Alan Betson
John and Edward in grey flannel diced check jackets (€749) from Louis Copeland in the Merrion Hotel. Photograph: Alan Betson
Picture, if you will, Christmas on planet Jedward: presents under the Christmas tree, logs on the open fire, boughs of holly decking the halls, and John and Edward Grimes bouncing off walls. You wouldn’t be far wrong there: if anything can get Ireland’s famous musical twins excited – and a lot of things do – it’s the arrival of Christmas Day and the chance to become like two little boys again, getting high on selection boxes and eagerly opening their presents from Santa. Sounds like total mayhem.
To many who have watched the Jedward phenomenon with bemusement, and not a little puzzlement, the identical twins from Lucan, Co Dublin, may seem like two kids in a state of permanent arrested development. But the two young men who lope into the Merrion Hotel for our cover photoshoot are certainly not little boys anymore. Gone is the squirrel-like skittishness – the boys’ movements seem more measured, less twitchy. They’re not powered so much by nervous energy anymore, but by a more relaxed kind of enthusiasm. At 22 years old, it seems that Jedward – gasp – might actually be growing up.
They still talk fast, though; their sentences leapfrogging over each other while arriving at the full stop in unison. They marvel at the massive Christmas tree in the hotel lobby: “They must have had to cut it in half,” reckons one (I’ll need a few minutes to learn to distinguish between the two).
One is wearing his hair up in the Jedward trademark; the other is wearing his in the boys’ more recent flick-over fringe style – not so vertiginous, but definitely more suited to this new phase in the twins’ career.
With Jedward’s most recent album, Young Love, showing disappointing sales, and recent UK concert dates showing a lot of bum-less seats, it looks as if the novelty may wearing off for the former X Factor and Eurovision contenders.
Their three-album contract with Universal has finished, and Louis Walsh has taken a managerial backseat – their mum, Susanna Gordon, now looks after their day-to-day business.
The boys have written and recorded most of their next album and are shopping for a label to release it. They’ve just returned from a promotional trip to Australia, where they’ve been laying the groundwork for a wider global assault in 2014.
From there, it was straight into rehearsals for their panto at the Olympia; this year it’s Beauty and the Beast. They’re still jet-lagged from their visit Down Under but, ever the troupers, they’re getting on with the work in hand.
They’ll be doing 36 shows over the Christmas period, but they get Christmas Eve and Christmas Day off – and that’s when the boys will get down to the serious business of having a holly jolly Christmas.
“It’s kind of a weird time this year, because our Christmas tree isn’t even up yet,” says John. “’Cause we’re getting this extension to our house and that affected the whole routine this year.”
“We don’t really have a routine,” chips in Edward. “Everything’s spontaneous, we just make everything up. We don’t have a timetable, we just go with it and bring the energy, and if there are any awkward silences, we’re just straight in there to fill it up.”