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  • Writer's pictureEmma Garrie

Twins at Eurovision: A look at the dynamic duos who have rocked the big stage

Image Source: SVT / Janne Danielsson

You might think you're seeing double when Norwegian twins Marcus and Martinus Gunnarsen take to the Eurovision stage in May to represent host country Sweden.

Performing as Marcus & Martinus, the 22-year-old brothers will open the Grand Final with 'Unforgettable' on Saturday 11 May.

However, the identical twin brothers are far from the first set of twins to take to the Eurovision stage. Let's take a look back at some other twins who have rocked the stage at Eurovision over the years!

Alice and Ellen Kessler - 1959 - Germany

Alice and Ellen Kessler, 22, already had well established entertainment careers when they became the the first set of twins to perform at Eurovision in 1959. Having studied ballet since the age of 6, their parents escaped to West Germany when they were 18 where they began their performance careers.

At the time of their Eurovision performance, they were in residence at 'The Lido' in Paris but moved to Italy in 1960, gaining popularity after spending five years appearing on the RAI television variety show 'Studio Uno'. The pair also became popular in the US in the 1960s, appearing on 'The Ed Sullivan Show' and the CBS variety show. The twins returned to live in Germany in 1986.

The girls performance of 'Heute Abend wollen wir tanzen geh'n' ('Tonight we want to go dancing') finished in 8th place with a total of 5 points.

Sophie and Magaly Gilles-Giovannoni - 1980 - Luxembourg

French identical twins Sophie and Magaly Gilles-Giovannoni were just 17 when they performed the quirky 'Papa Pingouin' ('Poppa Penguin') for Luxembourg in 1980. The song finished in 9th place with 56 points and became a huge hit in France, selling over one million copies.

Unfortunately, the girls' follow-up singles sold poorly and they were they dropped from two different record companies before disbanding in 1981. Very sadly, Magaly died of AIDS in 1996 and Sophie passed away in 2019.

Gökhan and Hakan Özoğuz - 2004 - Turkey

In 2004, host country Turkey was represented by rock/ska band Athena with 'For Real'. The group featured 27 year old twin brothers Gökhan (lead vocals and guitar) and Hakan Özoğuz (guitar and backing vocals) along with Doğaç Titiz and Ozan Musluoğlu. Athena finished 4th on 195 points.

The twins started the band as children, releasing their first album in 1993 and going on to have a number of chart hits in Turkey in the 1990s and 2000s. The band has seen a number of line-up changes over the years but was still releasing music as late as 2022. Gökhan and Hakan have both been judges on the Turkish version of 'The Voice' and interestingly two of Gökhan's children are also twins.

Daniela and Veronika Nízlová - 2008 - Czech Republic & 2011 - Slovakia

Twin sisters Daniela and Veronika Nízlová have appeared at Eurovision twice! In 2008 they were backing singers for Tereza Kerndlová in the Czech Republic entry 'Have Some Fun' but didn't make it through to the the Grand Final.

In 2011, the girls were back as the main act, this time performing under the name of Twiins for Slovakia. Unfortunately 'I'm Still Alive' missed out on the Grand Final, finishing in 13th place in Semi-Final 2. Now 36, the pair released several singles in the years following their Eurovision appearance. One of these was 'One Night Stand', a collaboration with American rapper Flo Rida who went on to feature with Senhit in San Marino's Eurovision act in 2021.

Martin and Stefan Filipovski - 2009 - Macedonia

Twin brothers Martin and Stefan Filipovski performed as Next Time with 'Nešto što kje ostane' ('Something that will remain') in the 2009 contest. The two had only begun appearing under this name a year earlier after being discovered performing at children's music festivals and in local garage bands.

Unfortunately, the Macedonian duo failed to make it through to the Grand Final. Although they finished 10th in their semi-final, the rules in 2009 saw only the top 9 songs from each semi progress. The 10th spot was reserved for the highest placed country on the back-up jury scoreboard that had not already qualified. From this semi, it was 12th place finisher Finland that moved through so the boys unluckily missed out.

Next Time are still releasing music with their third album released in 2022.

Alena and Ninel Karpovich - 2010 - Belarus

Twin sisters Alena and Ninel Karpovich, 25, formed part of 3+2 who performed 'Butterflies' for Belarus in 2010. Other members of the group were Elgiazar Farashyan, Yulia Shisko, Artsem Mikhalenka and Mihail Mikhalenka. They were also joined on stage by the song's Swedish composer Robert Wells.

The group members were all finalists of the television program 'New Voices of Belarus' in 2009 and were put together by Belarusian television channel ONT. 'Butterflies' finished in 24th place with 18 points. Alena and Ninel both hosted the Belarusian national lottery show together for a year and have also released several singles as a musical duo.

John and Edward Grimes - 2011 & 2012 - Ireland

Perhaps Eurovision's best known twins are Ireland's John and Edward Grimes, otherwise known as Jedward. The pair first represented Ireland in 2011 as 19 year olds with 'Lipstick' finishing in 8th place on 119 points. The song charted in various countries across Europe and saw them appear on the television program 'Celebrity Big Brother' later that year amongst numerous other television appearances.

The brothers won the Irish national selection again in 2012 and competed with 'Waterline', finishing in 19th place on 46 points. The years following have seen them continue to release new music, appear in advertising campaigns and pantomimes and even do some modelling. They regularly keep fans updated with their careers via their social media accounts.

Anastasiya Andreyevna Tolmacheva and Maria Andreyevna Tolmacheva - 2014 - Russia

Twin sisters Anastasiya and Maria Andreyevna Tolmacheva, 17, represented Russia as the 'Tolmachevy Sisters' with 'Shine' in 2014. They finished in 7th place with 89 points but this was far from the first time they had appeared at Eurovision.

At just 9 years old, the pair won Junior Eurovision for Russia in 2006 with 'Vesenniy Jazz'. In 2009, the sisters made an appearance as the opening act of the first semi-final in Moscow. In 2010, the sisters were part of an interval act at the Junior Eurovision Song Contest in Belarus, where previous winners of the contest sang their winning songs in a medley.

Both sisters went on to be part of the Russian jury at the 2019 contest.

Lorent Idir Ardouvin and François Djemel Ardouvin - 2014 - France

'Twin Twin' represented France in 2014. Comprised of brothers Lorent Idir and François Djemel along with Patrick Biyik, the trio received only two points and finished in 26th (last) place with 'Moustache'. Whilst they didn't appear identical on stage due to their distinctly different hair styles, Lorent and François are actually twins, although neither use their surname Ardouvin when performing.

The group formed in 2009, performing at hundreds of concerts and festivals before releasing an EP in 2011 and debut album in 2013. Since their Eurovision performance they have released a further six singles and one album with their latest release being 2019 album 'Paradiso'.

Amy and Shelley Vol - 2017 - The Netherlands

Fraternal twins Amy and Shelly Vol and older sister Lisa, formed OG3NE, and represented The Netherlands with 'Lights and Shadows' in 2017. The song was co-written by their father Rick and finished in 11th place on 150 points. Inspired by their mother Isolde's battle with a rare form of cancer, sadly she passed away just two months after the contest.

The Vol sisters also got their start at Junior Eurovision. In 2007, performing as Lisa, Amy & Shelley they finished in 11th place with the self-penned 'Adem in, adem uit'. They released a number of singles under this name before rebranding as OG3NE and winning 'The Voice of Holland' in 2014.

After their appearance at Eurovision, they released another three albums and three 'Home Isolation' EPs between April and June of 2020. Their latest album is 2020's 'A Magical Christmas in Concert', however the trio have gone on to release three more singles during 2022 and 2023.

Tural and Turan Bağmanov - 2023 - Azerbaijan

Azerbaijani twins Tural and Turan Bağmanov, 22, performed as TuralTuranX, to sing 'Tell Me More' in 2023. The brothers began playing piano at school before branching out to the synthesizer and guitar. Later they formed a band with a friend and also performed as street musicians during the COVID pandemic when they were unable to book their usual indoor gigs.

Inspired by ‘60s and ‘70s music and styles, 'Tell Me More' was written by the twins along with two friends. They applied to represent Azerbaijan at the Eurovision Song Contest and were selected internally from five acts. Unfortunately the duo finished 14th in their semi-final, giving Azerbaijan their worst ever Eurovision result. The boys have continued on with their music releasing single 'Reasons to Get High' in 2024.

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