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Eurovision star Olly Alexander admits he’s ‘ambivalent’ about the Union Jack-Meghna Amin-Entertainment – Metro

He’s waving the flag in just a few days.

Eurovision star Olly Alexander admits he’s ‘ambivalent’ about the Union Jack-Meghna Amin-Entertainment – Metro

Olly Alexander has admitted he’s ‘ambivalent’ about the Union Jack (Picture: REX / GETTY)

Eurovision star Olly Alexander has admitted he’s ‘ambivalent’ about the Union Jack, as he prepares to fly our flag at the Song Contest in just days.

The Years and Years singer, 33, is following in the footsteps of Mae Muller and Sam Ryder, and will be taking his song Dizzy to the stage.

However, he’s already been met with some controversy as fans have urged him to boycott the competition over backlash against Israel’s inclusion amid the ongoing war.

And while he’s rejected the call to boycott, standing beside Ireland’s entry Bambie Thug as well as entrants from Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Switzerland, Denmark, Lithuania and Finland in an open letter, he has spoken about believing in the ‘unifying power of music’.

However, he’s not so convinced by the unity of the Union Jack, admitting it can be ‘divisive’ in his opinion.

Speaking to and other press ahead of taking to the stage in Malmö, Sweden – where the competition is being held following Loreen’s incredible win in Liverpool last year – Olly said: ‘I’ve grown up in the UK, there’s a lot that I love about the UK, maybe the people and I’m lucky to have grown up in the UK.

‘I too have an ambivalent relationship with the Union Jack and what that represents to people because it can feel divisive, it can feel nationalist, but it can also feel like a representation of what’s good about the UK and what makes it good – it’s the inclusivity, the diversity.

‘I am choosing to kind of focus on those aspects of what I believe being in the UK has given me in my upbringing as well.’

The star will be performing his song Dizzy at the Eurovision Song Contest (Picture: Ian West/PA Wire)

He went on: ‘I hope to reclaim the Union Jack in a positive way and when I’m going to be out there waving my flag, waving the Union Jack at the flag parade, it’s for all the good things that have come from growing up in the UK and being British and yeah, I think definitely focusing on that side of things.’

Speaking about his experience being a queer artist at Eurovision, the It’s A Sin star continued: ‘Historically Eurovision has been a great place for queer performers, obviously the queer audiences have really embraced Eurovision and performers have gone on to win Eurovision.’

However, the star has been met with hate over his identity on social media, though he’s found a community with the other contestants.

He said: ‘We know that obviously, all of us as contestants we’re in a spotlight, we’re going to get judged harshly, and for the queer performers, we’re going to get a lot of backlash and hate just for being queer and just for being out there and visible.

‘But there’s a lot of value in being your authentic self and being out on a stage and being proud of who you are being able to perform at Eurovision is a privilege so I think yeah, we’ve all had some really good discussions about what it’s taken for us to come here to perform at Eurovision and having each other it’s been been really, really good.’

Olly is ready to ‘provoke’ audiences with his performance (Picture: Harry Durrant/Getty Images)

‘I plan to be as gay as possible.’ (Picture: Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)

As well as admitting the Union Jack can be ‘divisive’, Olly revealed he plans on being the same when it comes to his performance, and is ready to ‘provoke’ audiences.

‘I think if you’re going to take a song to Eurovision, the last thing you should do is be safe,’ he explained.

‘And as an artist, I love to provoke a little bit to just cause a little bit of discussion and intrigue, and of course, I said right at the beginning of this process, I plan to be as gay as possible.’

‘Not everyone’s going to love it, but I think that’s a sign of a strong performance,’ he added.

And despite fans already loving his rehearsals and showering him in support for his unapologetically queer performance, Olly admitted he has nerves going into the final, saying: ‘I definitely have nerves. I’m always a bit nervous and something like this, with so many people watching, and TV is live, there’s always elements that are out of your control and that does bring nerves.

Olly has already considered losing the competition, but thinks he’s already won by ‘taking part’ (Picture: CHRISTINE OLSSON/TT/TT News Agency/AFP via Getty Images)

‘It’s very exposing to be in the competition, because you’re literally being pitched against all these other people. That’s part of the fun of it, you know? But people are there to judge and being judged can feel kind of quite overwhelming because it’s like, “Oh no, I hope people don’t judge me too harshly” but that’s why I’m just trying to do my best and put something out there that I’m going to be proud of.’

His nerves have even caused him to ‘dream’ about Eurovision ‘constantly’, as he revealed he’s thinking about it all the time and has gone through every element, including what could go wrong, and coming in last place.

‘It’s happened in my head already in one way or another,’ he said, but added that he’ll be proud of himself no matter where he finishes.

‘I’m just not going to focus on where I place in the final because as long as I just do a performance and do my best, then that’s all that matters,’ he said.

‘Of course I’d love to have a good result but you just never know what’s going to happen on the night, like so many things are out of your control.’

He added: ‘Whatever will be will be and I’ve made my peace with that. It’s already a good result for the UK, just the fact that I’m doing it.’

And despite fans backing him all the way, the odds haven’t been standing in his favour in recent days, with Switzerland’s entry Nemo as the favourite to win.

‘I saw that one of my odds said that I had a 1% chance at winning, so I like those odds, it’s better than zero!’ Olly laughed.

Adding that he thinks there are some ‘really hot favourites for the win’, and that there’s ‘no clear, clear, clear front runner’, which he thinks makes things more exciting, the musician said he feels as though he’s won just by taking part.

‘I love my song Dizzy, so it already feels like to have this platform and to perform in front of this many people is really a win,’ he shared, insisting: ‘I feel like I’ve won by taking part.’

Olly went on: ‘The odds are a big thing obviously for the media but within the Eurovision community, the audience really like keeping an eye on the odds, and I think it’s part of the fun for favourites, to see who is going up or down in the odds, and I feel like I’m a bit drawn into it.’

He added: ‘There’s always a surprise, you just never know what’s going to happen. So I don’t know. I think it’s all part of the drama, I quite like the drama of the odds. My odds are low but don’t count me out just yet!’

The Eurovision Song Contest Semi-Finals air on Tuesday, May 7, and Thursday, May 9, at 8pm on BBC One and iPlayer. The Grand Final airs on Saturday, May 11, at 8pm on BBC One and iPlayer.

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