Jedward at the Olympia: A Reply

audience-at-olympia1Regular readers of Essentially Pop will know part of our remit is to promote music that deserves to be heard. We have no preconceptions – we listen to all genres, we review each act on its own merits, based not on what we’ve heard, nor what we’ve been told. In other words, we aren’t swayed by popular opinion, which for the most part is quite often a false impression put out by the media for whatever reason. Essentially Pop is about the MUSIC.

We love John and Edward here, and a lot of the reasons above are why. We believe they deserve to be heard, that the reputation they have, particularly in their homeland of Ireland and the UK is false and plays on something they were portrayed as five years ago, when they first appeared on the X Factor for a few short weeks.

We know how hardworking they are. We know that they have to work so much harder than most acts, simply because they have been portrayed as not talented. We also know that this is a false portrayal, and that those who say it have neither listened to their music nor actually know anything about them.

With all that in mind, when we read Lauren Murphy’s article in yesterday’s Irish Times, an alleged review of Jedward’s concert at Dublin’s Olympia Theatre on 24 October, we felt a reply was warranted.

They may have recently turned the ripe old age of 23, but Jedward don’t do ‘mature’. Neither do their audience: alongside the excitable kids, tweens and teenyboppers waving glowsticks and homemade signs are a group of grown women dressed as Crayola crayons.

As someone who went to the concert, I can assure Ms Murphy that John and Edward do indeed do mature. I was one of the privileged people in attendance at the “VIP Soundcheck Experience” which preceded the concert, and was very proud to listen to them talk about their influences, to hear John speak at length about how they write songs, and how they produced their album, going into detail about equalising the sound of each part of the song, and so forth.

The audience in attendance at the Olympia concert was far from “excitable kids, tweens and teenyboppers” (teenyboppers? What’s that anyway?). With an average age of 30 the audience ranges from the very young to the very old – but that’s the appeal of the Dublin twins – nobody feels out of place, everybody feels welcome. Age is just a number.

I know the two ladies who were dressed as crayons (and yes – there were only two). To quote one of them, in her reply to the article:

I’d like to point out that my fellow crayon and I both hold managerial positions in our careers. I personally own property, spend my spare time volunteering with children in social care and with young people with disabilities. I listen to podcasts from The Economist, visit the theatre, and hold an interest in Eastern European history. I am a keen marathon runner. Jedward fans don’t do mature? Pffft.

Jedward are about fun. Jedward are about enjoying yourself. Jedward are about BEING yourself. Living outside the box and being Free Spirits, if you like. Most of all, Jedward are about not caring what other people think, and following your dreams, regardless of what crap people want to put on you.

Their self-written songs are all about this. The four that we’ve heard so far, “Free Spirit”, “Ferocious”, “Perfect Wonderland” and “Silent Raindrops”, are ALL empowering songs, encouraging the listener to realise life isn’t a bed of roses, but at the same time, nothing is insurmountable. People should be free to live as they want, without feeling the need to conform to what society says they should. They are songs with a conscience.

The language of Ms Murphy’s article is interesting. It’s as if she’s gone to the Olympia concert with a remit of her own, to portray the twins as the airheaded novelty act that their previous management promoted them as. Words like, “excitable” (used twice), and “zippy”. Better words to have used would have been, “talented”, “entertaining” – even “EDM”, “dance” and “beats”.

Ms Murphy also describes “the smattering of exasperated dads rubbing their temples” – truly, the only father I saw in the audience was also at the VIP Soundcheck Experience, with his young son. BOTH were having an amazing time. During the concert they left their seats and moved to the front to dance – with Edward reaching out to hold the young boy’s hand. Far from being exasperated, the Dad was enjoying himself.

Ms Murphy would have done far better to have actually interviewed John and Edward, or even interview the fans, but instead, the whole article smacks of lazy journalism. “Space cadet personalities”? She further goes on to imply that the twins are cynical, which would be completely at odds with them having “space cadet personalities”. You can’t have both, Ms Murphy, and fortunately fans know that neither is true. The twins have brilliant minds, and anyone saying otherwise has clearly never even listened to them. It is high time people stopped believing what they were told 5 years ago, and started using their own brains. John and Edward love their fans. They love what they do. During the sound check experience, when asked what question they would like to ask their fans, John replied that he would like to know what it is about them that make people become their fans. FAR from being cynical, the twins are humble, and constantly amazed that people have stuck with them for as long as they have. They love their fans. They appreciate everything their fans do for them, and they do so much for THEM.

Ms Murphy comments that the twins’ banter was a “little mind-fraying”. That’s just her opinion. The Olympia was a sold-out concert, and commanded an audience who had flown in from all corners of the globe, many of whom who have been doing so for upwards of three years to attend Jedward gigs. Quite a lot have been there right from the very start. That fact alone is mind-blowing in a world that chews up musical acts and spits them out like some cast away gum. Why do we do it? Because we love John and Edward – because we love their music – and also, because to us, they represent what anyone can do if they simply set their minds to it. They are following their dreams – and we are very proud to be even a small part of that journey.

In conclusion, I”ll leave you with this, a video shot at the concert, by John and Edward, showing the audience:

Lisa Hafey went to see Jedward at the Olympia Theatre in Dublin. She is an unashamed Jedward fan, and most definitely not a teenybopper.

About the author

Lisa has been writing for over 20 years, starting as the entertainment editor on her university newspaper. Since then she's written for Popwrapped, Maximum Pop, Celebmix, and ListenOnRepeat.

Lisa loves all good music, with particular fondness for Jedward and David Bowie. She's interviewed Edward Grimes (Jedward), Kevin Godley, Trevor Horn, Paul Young, Peter Cox (Go West), Brendan B Brown (Wheatus), Bruce Foxton (The Jam), among many many more. Lisa is also available for freelance writing - please email

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