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Olly Alexander Is Having a Hard Time Participating in Eurovision 2024 But Continues to Stand His Ground

'I’ve just felt really sad and distressed,' Alexander told The Times. 'But I still believe it’s a good thing when people come together for entertainment.'

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Source: MEGA

Alexander is representing the U.K. in the upcoming contest.

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If you live in Europe or, realistically, anywhere outside of the U.S., it might surprise you learn that there are Americans whose sole knowledge of the Eurovision Song Contest may literally be the 2020 Will Ferrell / Rachel McAdams movie that poked good-natured fun at the competition (Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga). But no matter where you live, it should come as no surprise that the war in Gaza has caused some ripples in this year's contest.

Then again, political uprisings have caused ripples in the Eurovision Song Contest - a pointedly apolitical competition - on many occasions in recent years. In 2021, Belarus was given the boot for submitting songs with political content, and in 2022 Russia was banned after invading Ukraine. Now, the issue is that Israel is being allowed to compete, despite the war in Gaza.

Olly Alexander, who is representing the UK with his song "Dizzy," revealed in a new interview with The Times that he's really having a hard time with the situation, specifically because he's being bombarded with calls to boycott the competition, something he simply isn't willing to do.

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Source: Eurovision

The pointedly-apolitical competition has been roiled by global politics several times in the past.

The interviewer for The Times suggested that Alexander seemed out of sorts during his performance at a Eurovision pre-party in London, and Alexander conceded the point.

“Yes, I struggled that day,” Alexander admitted. “I was holed up in a room trying not to have a breakdown. Normally, you get on stage and turn it on, but I felt really unable to do that. It was tough… I just could not get it together and then I felt ashamed of myself and embarrassed. Obviously there are a lot of things I wish were different. And this is so much bigger than me and Eurovision, it really is."

“Obviously, I wish there wasn’t a war or this insane humanitarian crisis," he continued. "I wish for peace and I have found this experience, at times, extremely… I’ve just felt really sad and distressed. But I still believe it’s a good thing when people come together for entertainment. That’s why I wanted to do Eurovision."

Alexander also acknowledged his support for a ceasefire, returning the hostages, the safety and security of all people in Gaza, and all the Palestinians and the people in Israel, but he indicated that whether or not he participated in Eurovision “isn’t going to make a difference to those things, so that’s why I’m still doing it. I believe it’s good to come together with music."

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Source: MEGA

Alexander has found himself in the middle of fierce debate over the contest amid the violence in Gaza.

In a statement released via his social media accounts on March 29, Alexander wrote the following:

“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 EV 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.”

The letter Alexander references was signed by Bambie Thug (Ireland), Gåte (Norway), Iolanda (Portugal), Megara (San Marino), Nemo (Switzerland), SABA (Denmark), Silvester Belt (Lithuania) and Windows95Man (Finland).

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The letter read as follows:

“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.”

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