IRELAND’S EUROVISION hopefuls Jedward will face a late night tonight if they want to make it into Saturday’s final of the song contest – being set to perform after 1:30am local time.
The 20-year-old Lucan twins are the final act, of 18, to perform in tonight’s semi-final – which will be held unusually late in local time, in order to account for the time difference between the host country of Azerbaijan and that of central Europe.
Baku is the farthest ahead of Central European Time that any Eurovision host city has ever been, three hours ahead of mainland Europe and four hours ahead of Ireland, where the contest has traditionally kicked off at 8pm.
The time difference means both semi-finals and the final itself will need to begin at midnight local time – prompting a particularly late night for Jedward, who won’t take the stage at the Baku Crystal Hall until around 1:30am.
Tonight’s performance will only count towards half of the votes for making Saturday’s final; last night each of the 18 acts performed for each country’s juries, whose scores will be matched with those of the public televote this evening to gauge the 10 qualifiers.
The twins are expected to make it through this evening’s semi-final in spite of their late night; the market on Betfair offers odds of 1.36 on the lads being among the top 10 acts in tonight’s vote, making them the eighth most likely act to qualify with ‘Waterline’.
Countries like Russia, Denmark and Romania – who traditionally do well under the contest’s informal bloc voting system – are among the other acts expected to qualify from tonight’s eliminator.
Paddy Power ranks the twins at 14/1 to win the contest outright in Saturday’s final, behind favourites Sweden at 15/8 and Italy, which returned to the contest last year after a 14-year absence, at 7/1.
Ireland has won the contest more often than any other country – seven times in all – but its last victory came in 1996, the last year in which the contest was fully decided by jury voting.
The video below, via AKOETV, shows the twins performing for the continent’s juries last night: