Irish identical twins John and Edward Grimes first rose to fame in 2009 as contestants on the sixth season of British talent competition The X Factor. The teenage pop singing duo quickly became known for their enthusiastic dance routines and distinctive towering hairdos. Mashing together their first names, they became known as Jedward and over the ensuing years established themselves as widely known pop stars with three consecutive Irish chart-topping albums to their credit. They have also represented Ireland in the Eurovision Song Contest, twice reaching the finals. Augmenting their musical career, the brothers parlayed their success into other media outlets as well, becoming popular television presenters and starring in reality shows like Celebrity Big Brother and Celebrity Coach Trip.
Natives of Dublin, the Grimes Brothers grew up performing together and were inspired by pop acts like Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, and the Backstreet Boys. They joined the X Factor's cast in October 2009, just several weeks shy of their 18th birthday, and in spite of their unpolished act and eventual sixth place finish, they became breakout stars, earning the approval of X Factor judge Louis Walsh, who soon became their manager.
With Walsh's help, Jedward signed a contract with Sony Music and released their first single, a mashup of "Under Pressure" and "Ice Ice Baby," in early 2010. The song topped the charts in Ireland and peaked at number two in the U.K., although it dropped to number 12 the following week and eventually slumped off the U.K. charts entirely. Sony responded by dropping the band from its roster. The twins quickly rebounded, signing a three-album deal with Universal the very next day and rush-releasing their debut album, Planet Jedward, which appeared in July of that year. A covers album, Planet Jedward found the duo reworking various pop, rock, and R&B hits. It sold well, peaking at number one on the Irish album charts and number 17 on the U.K. album charts.
After Jedward's Bad Behavior Tour ended in 2011, the brothers competed as housemates on the U.K. reality TV game show Big Brother 8, they represented Ireland in the Eurovision Song Contest with the single "Lipstick," ultimately finishing in eighth position. In 2012, Jedward once again represented Ireland in the Eurovision contest with the song "Waterline." That same year, they released their third studio album, Young Love. It hit number one in Ireland, but failed to achieve more widespread success elsewhere. Over the next several years, the duo remained active in advertising, charity work, modeling, and presenting the children's show Jedward's Big Adventure. In addition to appearing on various television shows, they also popped up in third, fourth, and fifth sequels if the campy Sharknado film series. Following a seven-year gap, Jedward resumed their music career in 2019 with their fourth album, Voice of a Rebel. ~ Andrew Leahey