UK Eurovision Star Olly Alexander Becomes Tearful As He Addresses Backlash Over His Involvement

"It’s very extreme. I understand where that sentiment is coming from, but I think it’s not correct.”
Olly as seen in his new documentary about the lead-up to Eurovision 2024
Olly as seen in his new documentary about the lead-up to Eurovision 2024

Eurovision competitor Olly Alexander had a tearful moment as he discussed the political backdrop this year’s contest is set against during a new documentary.

As a result of the ongoing conflict in the Middle East, some fans have been calling for a boycott of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, due to the inclusion of Israel as a competitor.

After the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) confirmed that Israel would be taking part in the contest as usual, an open letter was 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 contest.

As part of a new BBC documentary titled Olly Alexander’s Road To Eurovision ’24, the It’s A Sin star opened up about the backlash he and several other competitors have received over their involvement.

Olly at the Eurovision launch in Malmö over the weekend
Olly at the Eurovision launch in Malmö over the weekend
Martin Sylvest Andersen via Getty Images

He explained: “A lot of the contestants and myself have been [receiving] a lot of comments [saying] ‘you are complicit in a genocide by taking part in Eurovision’, which is quite extreme. It’s very extreme.

“I understand where that sentiment is coming from, but I think it’s not correct.”

Olly continued: “It’s an incredibly complicated political situation [and] one that I’m not qualified to speak on. The backdrop to this is actual immense suffering. It’s a humanitarian crisis – a war.

“You know, and it just so happens there’s a song contest at the same time, that I’m a part of. People are like in despair and want to do something.”

Becoming tearful, Olly insisted: “People should do what’s right for them, if they want to boycott Eurovision, if they don’t feel comfortable watching, that’s their choice, and I respect that, you know?

“Eurovision is, you know, it’s meant to be, like, an apolitical contest, but that’s, like, a fantasy.”

Olly previously said in response to calls for him to pull out of the competition: “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.”

Before it was revealed he’d be representing the UK at Eurovision, Olly was one of more than 1,400 signatories on an open letter expressing solidarity with Palestine, and accusing Israel of “genocide” and referring to it as an “apartheid state”.

Earlier this year, it was reported that Eurovision 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 Sweden this weekend, with a rewritten version of her original song, now titled Hurricane, after being changed from October Rain.

The 2024 Eurovision Song Contest will be taking place in Malmö, Sweden all this week, following Loreen’s historic victory last year.


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