Eurovision star Olly Alexander breaks silence after UK's 'nul points' nightmare

Olly Alexander attending the Brit Awards 2024 at the O2 Arena, London. Picture date: Saturday March 2, 2024.
Olly Alexander represented the UK in the competition -Credit:PA

Olly Alexander, Britain's Eurovision Song Contest entrant for this year, has shared his thoughts following the nightmarish event in Sweden.

Despite gaining no points from the global voting audience on Saturday evening, the Years and Years singer faced a barrage of criticism over concerns relating to Israel's involvement.

The star broke his silence via an Instagram Stories post on Sunday afternoon, congratulating Switzerland's Nemo on their victory. He wrote: "Nemo ! ! ! You did it ! ! I'm so so proud of you. It's been such an honour to be on this journey with you. You broke the code."

Despite the public disappointment, Saturday's contest peaked as the UK secured 46 points from the jury. Olly showcased his powerhouse vocals and viral staging during his Dizzy performance at Malmo Arena, representing Britain.

Unfortunately, his outstanding effort and choreography failed to charm European voters.

Furthermore, fans pointed out potential sound issues during Olly's number that caused an uproar across social media platforms. Reports have stated that there seemed to have been an off-kilter moment during his stint, which comes off the back of critical remarks from previous semi-final performances, reports the Mirror.

Unfazed by past setbacks, Olly put on a passion-filled performance of his hit song 'Dizzy', earning thunderous applause. Yet, the excitement of some viewers was marred by baffling audio issues.

Some spectators even suspected that they couldn't hear the backing track.

Discontent poured in over sound quality, with fans questioning whether the microphone or singer's own audio was too low. Social media channels filled up with riled comments, with an X user lamenting: "I think Olly (United Kingdom) mic failed again like it did in rehearsal."

And another adding: "Just me or was Olly's mic turned down what happened? ".

Not everyone was supportive of Olly's Eurovision stint. The discontent centered on Israel's participation in the contest amidst ongoing military operations initiated by Benjamin Netanyahu against Palestine.

Prior to being unveiled as the UK's contestant last December, Alexander had already signed a letter criticising Israel as an "apartheid regime", rousing intense censure from fans and activists alike for not pulling out of this year's Eurovision. The Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement - a nonviolent initiative run by Palestinians seeking boycotts, divestments, and economic sanctions against Israel - has been urging Eurovision fans, hosts, performers, and workers to steer clear of this year's show and suggested viewers skip Saturday night's broadcast.

In his BBC documentary, Olly confronted the calls for him to pull out. The actor from It's A Sin became emotional when broaching the controversy and backlash he has faced.

Queers For Palestine made one final attempt to plea with Olly mere hours before the grand finale, asking him to withdraw at the last minute in a show of solidarity with the Palestinian people.

Queers For Palestine, who have been campaigning for several months for Olly and other acts to quit, sent an open note to the UK entry on Instagram. In their message to the 'Dizzy' singer, they said: "Can you hear your fans chanting all over Europe for you to do the right thing and boycott Eurovision? Despite the slogan 'United by Music', this Eurovision will forever be remembered as among the most complicit: United by Genocide. The organisers, the European Broadcasting Union (@ebu_hq) are protecting genocidal Israel by refusing to exclude it from the contest, and are instead banning all shows of solidarity for Palestine."

"Olly, once you take the stage on Saturday there is no going back. We know that the last few months have been a hard time for you. Being asked to sacrifice such a big career moment is no easy choice, and we appreciate the thought you must have put into it. As many of us know, taking a stand can be sincerely challenging, but your community stood with you in opposition to Israel's pinkwashing of genocide with the Voices 4 London letter you signed. You still have the power to make a difference we are all looking to you."

The statement continued: "We know you must feel dizzy with the pressure. But we ask one last time: join the millions of us around the world who support Palestinian liberation and are prepared to make sacrifices when necessary and when called upon to do so by oppressed communities."

"We in Queers for Palestine salute the countless venues and organisers across Britain from Edinburgh to Bristol, London to Brighton and all over Europe, who have cancelled Eurovision screening parties, heeding the call from Palestinians and their own communities, queer and otherwise. They recognise that what they stand to lose is minor in comparison to the genocide being inflicted on Palestinians in Gaza every day."

"As we write this, Israel is on the verge of invading Rafah, the last designated "safe zone" in besieged Gaza, after bombing it for days. Whatever glitz and glamour of Eurovision remains, after being so thoroughly tarnished by the EBU's failure to ban apartheid Israel, can only constitute a disgraceful artwashing and pinkwashing of genocide. You should have no part in it, as we believe you recognise."

The plea concluded: "Olly, as a beloved queer icon you have substantial influence. As drag queen said on BBC Newsnight yesterday to all of us, 'This is something you can do. Boycott.' We will be boycotting Eurovision until Israel is banned. You can still join us. You will be rich in our love and admiration, and in your heart for having done the right thing."

Fans bombarded the comment section with heart-wrenching pleas. One follower vented: "@ollyalexanderr what's more important, a performance, or the lives of millions? " Another interjected: "@ollyalexanderr You know the right thing to do, please have the courage to make a stand," and a third pleaded: "@ollyalexanderr don't sacrifice your integrity for mainstream financial gain. stand with your queer community in solidarity with Palestine."

Last October, Alexander voiced his support for Palestine and called for an end to the Israeli-Hamas conflict. He endorsed a statement from LGBT group Voices4London, which labelled Israel as an 'apartheid regime' accused of trying to "ethnically cleanse" Palestinian territories.

Yet, despite growing calls for him to join the BDS movement's boycott of Israel over its Eurovision participation, Alexander has chosen to remain neutral, describing it as "an incredibly complicated political situation, one that I'm not qualified to speak on."

In his revealing BBC documentary, Olly Alexander's Road To Eurovision '24, he emotionally addressed why he's ignoring the boycott calls. The 'It's A Sin' actor expressed his turmoil in the documentary, saying: "A lot of the contestants and myself have been having a lot of comments that are like 'You are complicit in a genocide by taking part in Eurovision' which is quite extreme. It's very extreme," visibly affected by the criticism.

"I understand where that sentiment is coming from but I think it's not correct," he asserted.

He elaborated further: "It's an incredibly complicated political situation, one that I'm not qualified to speak on. The backdrop to this is actual immense suffering. It's a humanitarian crisis, a war. And there's a song contest happening at the same time that I'm involved in."

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