After a good rehearsal, Jedward all set for final


EUROVISION’S FIRST dress rehearsal yesterday found Jedward in excellent form ahead of tonight’s song contest final.

Their rehearsal was flawless and the Dublin brothers could not have wished for a better placement – 23rd – in the live performance of this year’s 26 songs.

The irrepressible energy and inventive staging of their performance contrasts well with the intense Balkan rock song Crno I Belo, sung by Kalliopi from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, that immediately precedes it.

Jedward’s Waterline then kicks off a cracking finish to the show, followed by Serbia’s Zelkjo Joksimovic with the ballad Nije Ljubav Stvar, Ukraine’s anthemic Be My Guest and Moldova’s zany Lautar.

“We’re so overwhelmed by the support we got from Ireland,” John and Edward Grimes said yesterday. “We heard it was 1.5 million viewers for the semi-final – that was bigger than last year – so we’re hoping on the final to go to two million. We think we’ve made Eurovision a massive family event in Ireland – everyone’s at home having a Eurovision party, getting the Irish flag out to support Jedward.

“Eurovision brings lots of cultures together,” they continued, “and we’re all about the culture of Ireland. We bring so much fun, so much life, like the Russian grannies bringing all those cool dance moves.”

Those Russian grannies – aka the Buranovskiye Babushki – sing sixth tonight and liven up what is otherwise a slow start.

Irish viewers will nonetheless want to assume viewing position promptly, in order to catch the much-talked-about first performer, the UK’s Engelbert Humperdinck, who was in excellent voice during yesterday’s rehearsal – a considerable improvement after a shaky vocal performance in run-throughs earlier in the week.

When he met Jedward earlier this week, Humperdinck (76) advised them on the optimal use of hand microphones – held far enough away to not block visibility of their mouths – and viewers will see a vintage display of this technique in Humperdinck’s performance. The power of his voice remains impressive.

Eurovision wouldn’t be Eurovision without a few dramatic key changes and while Humperdinck’s Love Will Set You Free offers a fine one, it may well be eclipsed by that offered by Spain’s Pastora Soler, who sings 19th (about 90 minutes into the show). While her song Quedate Conmigo starts slowly, it builds to a blistering climax.

Soler found herself generating heat of a more unwelcome sort on Thursday when she told ABC Punto Radio that representatives of the Spanish broadcaster had instructed her not to win the contest.

“I think it is not the moment, neither for Spain nor for Spanish public to win Eurovision. If we won, I think it would be impossible to stage the next edition because it costs so much money,” she was quoted as saying.

Yesterday, however, she insisted that her comments had been taken out of context by a “very bad” journalist. “Spanish public television want to win, and me too,” she told the BBC World Service. Although it is the EU’s fifth-largest economy, Spain is currently struggling with a sovereign debt crisis like several other European countries, including Ireland.

The Oddschecker betting website yesterday had Sweden as the favourite to win, followed by Russia, Serbia, Italy, the UK, Romania and Ireland.