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07th May 2024

Olly Alexander says he’s ‘ambivalent’ about ‘divisive’ Union Jack

Charlie Herbert

olly alexander union jack

‘It can feel nationalist, but it can also feel like a representation of what’s good about the UK’

Eurovision’s Olly Alexander has admitted to having an “ambivalent” attitude towards the Union Jack ahead of the song contest this weekend.

Alexander, who rose to fame as Years and Years, is the UK’s entry for this year’s Eurovision, and will be performing his song Dizzy in Saturday’s final.

However, ahead of the big show in Malmo, Sweden, the singer has revealed he has mixed feelings towards the Union Jack.

The 33-year-old admitted he has an “ambivalent relationship” with the flag, adding that it can “feel nationalist,” Metro reports.

But he went on to say that the Union Jack, or Union flag, can also be a representation of the “inclusivity and diversity” of the United Kingdom.

Speaking to media ahead of the first Eurovision semi final on Tuesday night, Alexander 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.”

Olly Alexander will be performing for the UK at Eurovision on Saturday (Getty)

He continued: “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.”

Eurovision fans will get to see the It’s A Sin star deliver a live performance of Dizzy during Tuesday’s semi final.

As the UK’s entry, Alexander is already through to the final on Saturday alongside Germany, France, Spain and Italy. These are the ‘big five’ countries who provide the main funding for Eurovision, so qualify automatically for the final every year.

After the contrast of Sam Ryder’s second placed finish in 2022 and Mae Muller’s second to last finish in 2023, it looks like Alexander may find himself in mid-table this year.

The bookies have him as a 60/1 shot to lift the trophy on the night, but this still puts him in the top 10 contestants most likley to win.

Speaking about his chances, the Brit said: “I saw that one of my odds said that I had like a 1 per cent chance of winning so I like those odds. It’s better than zero!

“I think it’s all kind of part of the drama, kind of quite like the sort of the drama of the odds,” he added. “My odds are low, but don’t count … me out just yet.”

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

“Hopefully, it’s already a good result for the UK, just the fact that I’m doing it.”

The Eurovision Song Contest Semi-Finals take place on Tuesday, May 7, and Thursday, May 9, at 8pm. The Grand Final is on Saturday, May 11, at 8pm. The semi-finals and the final will all be aired on BBC One and iPlayer.

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