Hair is the key to showbiz fame, says Engelbert


The veteran crooner has revealed himself an admirer of Dublin’s most famous twins, writes KAREN FRICKERin Baku

THE UK’S Eurovision competitor Engelbert Humperdinck was full of praise for Ireland’s representatives, Jedward, when the three met yesterday during a photo opportunity at a Baku hotel. Humperdinck admired the twins’ “talent and energy” and said he’d been following their careers since they first competed in The X Factor in 2009.

In particular, he noted that the brothers clearly understood the key to showbusiness success: “You’ve got to start with the head.”

Jedward’s blonde quiffs have become their unique selling point, just as Humperdinck will forever be associated with his perma-black hairdo: “For me, it all started with the sideburns and the hair,” Humperdinck said.

Communication did not always flow clearly during the meeting — in response to one of the brothers’ rapid-fire, Dublin-accented comments, Humperdinck jokingly asked, “Is he speaking English?”

The mood overall was light-hearted and positive, despite the fact that the septuagenarian crooner and the 20-year-old Irish twins are competing against each other for top Eurovision honours on Saturday.

Jedward said they felt very “lucky” to have drawn the 23rd out of 26 performance slots in Saturday’s final: acts performing later in the evening tend to score well. Humperdinck, by contrast, will lead off the evening’s events in first position: “I just hope I keep that lead,” he quipped.

The European Broadcasting Union, which organises Eurovision, revealed yesterday that eight of Tuesday’s qualifying acts were the top choice of both the professional juries and televoters, whose votes each count for 50 per cent of the total score. One act made it into the final because of particularly high scores from the juries, while another made it in because they were a strong audience favourite.

Tuesday’s semi-final was the best attended in the history of the contest running heats, an EBU spokesman said yesterday.

Hotly tipped acts in tonight’s semi-final include Sweden’s Loreen with Euphoria, which many polls rate as most likely to win the contest overall; Nije ljubav stvar, composed and sung by Serbia’s Zelkjo Joksimovic, who has long chased Eurovision victory (he placed second as performer/composer in 2004, and third as composer in 2008), and Stay, an archetypical upbeat Eurovision number from Norway’s Tooji.

In keeping with their no-expense-spared approach to hosting this year’s contest, the Azeri organisers are assembling the last five Eurovision winners (from Russia, Serbia, Norway, Germany and Azerbaijan) to perform the interval act tonight.