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Olly Alexander breaks down in tears over Eurovision Israel controversy

May 3rd, 2024

Olly Alexander reportedly broke down in tears during an interview when addressing the current controversies relating to Israel’s participation in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest.

Alexander will represent the UK with his song ‘Dizzy’ at the grand final of the contest in Malmö, Sweden next Saturday (May 11). However, he has been subject to strong calls to boycott the competition over Israel being allowed to compete due to its ongoing war with Gaza, in the name of showing solidarity with Palestine.

In a new interview with The Times, Alexander admitted he had been struggling after the interviewer noticed that he seemed out of sorts during his performance at a Eurovision pre-party in London.

“Yes, I struggled that day,” he said. “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.”

He reportedly began to cry when asked if the controversy had marred his Eurovision experience. “Obviously there are a lot of things I wish were different,” he said. “And this is so much bigger than me and Eurovision, it really is.

He continued: “Obviously, I wish there wasn’t a war or this insane humanitarian crisis. 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 went on to say he supported “a ceasefire, returning the hostages, the safety and security of all people in Gaza. All the Palestinians and the people in Israel” – 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,” he said. “I’m still hoping to enjoy some aspects of it.”

In this photo illustration, Eurovision Song Contest 2024 (ESC) logo is seen on a smartphone and a pc screen. The Eurovision Song Contest 2024 is scheduled to take place in May 2024 in Malmo Sweden. (Photo Illustration by Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

A week before the pre-party, a group of 450 artists called Queers For Palestine wrote an open letter to Alexander urging him to boycott Eurovision.

In the letter – which can be read in full here – the signatories urge the musician to boycott the 2024 Eurovision Song Contest due to the inclusion of Israel. “By refusing to expel Israel from the competition, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) is providing cultural cover and endorsement for the catastrophic violence that Israel has unleashed on Palestinians,” it reads.

Responding in a personal statement posted on his social media accounts, he said: “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.”

Last year, Alexander was one of many who signed a pro-Palestine letter, calling Israel an “apartheid state” and accusing it of genocide.

Signed before he was confirmed as the UK’s Eurovision entrant, supported the open letter from LGBTQ+ activist group Voices4London, which called for a ceasefire in Gaza and for Israel to allow aid into the area. The letter also condemned “Zionist propaganda” amid the war with Hamas.

Meanwhile, Alexander made a cameo appearance in last night’s episode of EastEnders

Alexander visited the iconic Queen Victoria pub on Albert Square, where he was introduced as a friend of Johnny Carter (played by Charlie Suff). The latter character explained that the pair “go way back”, adding: “Years and years, in fact.”

This content was originally sourced and posted at NME »
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