It started in the taxi. Or should I say in both of the taxis. On the way to Dublin airport at an unGodly hour on Friday morning, the taxi driver asked me where I was going. When I told him, we had the usual Irish chat about John and Edward, and the Eurovision in general. How it was all a bit of fun, and the voting would be great crack, and fair play to them, and remember X Factor, and who would have thought they'd have more than 15 minutes in them. Good natured banter. And then, as we pulled up at the snazzy Terminal Two he turned to me, seriously. "Wish them luck from us all now. We could do with a bit of good news."
Four hours later I was sitting in another taxi, travelling from Dusseldorf Airport to Jedward's top secret base (rendered a little less secret by the girls sitting on the ground outside). My Leaving Cert German is a little rusty. But within two minutes of getting into the cab I recognised that the DJ was talking about Eurovision. And shortly after then I heard "Jedvard, aus Irland, und Lipstick". They, and Lena the reigning champion, seemed to be the only acts he was interested in.
Something is afoot. There is an air of confidence around the Irish camp. And it's not just about winning. Of course, that would be nice. But there is a sense that no matter what happens on Saturday night, we got it right this time. We sent the right lads to do the right job at the right time. We're all used to watching Jedward perform on screen, the full on OMG OK guys high five craziness. As interviewees they are the exact same. But having worked with them and along side them for a couple of days now I can also tell you that they are among the most professional stars I've ever interviewed. Polite, obliging, incredibly enthuasiastic even when they are being asked the same questions over and over again. And their relationship with their fans is second to none, they genuinely seem moved by the fact that so many people have travelled here to see them and they make time for them as often as possible.
Eurovison is a long long competition. Saturday nights' final is just one in a line of performances and press conferences Jedward have had to do, and indeed 50% of the vote has already been decided by the national juries. I don't know if the twins are going to win Eurovision, it's a difficult contest to predict and it's a very strong year. But I do know how hard they've worked over here and that they've impressed everyone who has dealt with them. No matter what the result, Ireland should be very proud. We wish them the best. After all we could do with some good news around here. High Five.
Arts and Media Correspondent, RTE News