Olly Alexander Reacts To Calls For Him To Pull Out Of This Year's Eurovision Song Contest

Some Eurovision fans are calling for a boycott of this year's event due to Israel's involvement.
Olly Alexander performing on Saturday Night Takeaway last month
Olly Alexander performing on Saturday Night Takeaway last month
Kieron McCarron/ITV/Shutterstock

Olly Alexander has spoken out amid calls for him to pull out of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest due to Israel’s involvement in the competition.

It was announced towards the end of last year that the former Years & Years frontman will represent the UK at Eurovision next month with his single Dizzy.

However, due to the ongoing conflict in the Middle East, many Eurovision fans have voiced their upset that Israel will still be allowed to compete in 2024.

Last week, an open letter signed by more than 100 queer artists and allies was published, calling for Olly to withdraw from the competitition in solidarity with Palestine.

The Palestine-led BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement has also publicly urged Olly to back out of the competition.

Over the weekend, Olly released a statement in response to the group Queers For Palestine, which read: “I wholeheartedly support action being taken to demand an immediate and permanent ceasefire in Gaza, the return of all hostages and the safety and security of all civilians in Palestine and Israel.

“I know some people will choose to boycott this year’s Eurovision and I understand and respect their decision. As a participant I’ve taken a lot of time to deliberate over what to do and the options available to me. It is my current belief that removing myself from the contest wouldn’t bring us any closer to our shared goal.

“Instead, I’ve been speaking with some of the other [Eurovision] contestants and we’ve decided that by taking part we can use our platform to come together and call for peace.

“I hope and pray that our calls are answered and there is an end to the atrocities we are seeing taking place in Gaza.

“I’d like to thank the many signatories of this letter whose work I deeply admire and respect and hope that we can continue to work together in creating a better world for all of us.”

Around this time, Olly also co-signed a statement from nine different acts competing in Eurovision this year.

“We want to begin by acknowledging the privilege of taking part in Eurovision,” the group said.

“In light of the current situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and particularly in Gaza, and in Israel, we do not feel comfortable being silent.

“It is important to us to stand in solidarity with the oppressed and communicate our heartfelt wish for peace, an immediate and lasting ceasefire, and the safe return of all hostages. We stand united against all forms of hate, including antisemitism and islamophobia.

“We firmly believe in the unifying power of music, enabling people to transcend differences and foster meaningful conversations and connections.

“We feel that it is our duty to create and uphold this space, with a strong hope that it will inspire greater compassion and empathy.”

Eurovision organisers previously faced pressure to drop Israel from the competition, which they refused to do, releasing a statement insisting that the event is a “competition for broadcasters – not for governments”.

It was later reported that bosses had taken issue with Israel’s submitted song due to its supposedly “political” lyrics, with the country’s national broadcaster Kan saying they would rather withdraw from the competition than change the song.

However, the Israeli delegation later appeared to have had a change of heart, when it was confirmed last month that Eden Golan will be representing Israel in Malmö this May, with a rewritten version of her original song, now titled Hurricane, after being changed from October Rain.

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) told BBC News at the time: “The Contest’s Reference Group, its governing board, made the decision to accept the song Hurricane for the upcoming competition after careful scrutiny of the lyrics.

“It was agreed that Hurricane met the necessary criteria for participation in accordance with the rules of the competition.”

Eurovision will be held in Malmö, Sweden this May, following Loreen’s historic victory for Sweden in 2023.


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