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Olly Alexander: Can Dizzy put Eurovision 2024 on tour?

Olly Alexander: Can Dizzy put Eurovision 2024 on tour?

  • Written by Mark Savage
  • BBC News music correspondent

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Olly Alexander reveals his Eurovision participation on Radio 2

For decades, Eurovision fans have wondered why the UK downplays its role so much.

We produce world-beating pop stars like Ed Sheeran and Dua Lipa – but our Eurovision entrants were largely untested amateurs, singing songs so disappointing they might as well have walked onto the stage waving the white flag.

The tide turned in 2022, when Sam Ryder brought his Bowie-inspired Spaceman to Turin, blowing away the cobwebs (and more than a few speakers) with the force of a bull in his live vocals.

He duly took second place – the best result for the UK since 1998.

Thanks to this success, the UK sent rising pop star May Muller to last year's competition.

Her song, titled I Wrote A Song, was a pop anthem that won acclaim from fans, but a lackluster presentation and problematic vocal performance ruined her chances.

The UK finished the night in 25th place out of 26.

what is next? The BBC could have conceded defeat and returned to the ranks of reality show runners-up, or it could have doubled its position.

Enter Olly Alexander – the former front man of chart-topping pop band Years & Years, Bafta-nominated actor, and who's been obsessed with Eurovision all his life.

“It goes right back to my childhood and watching the show with my family, ordering pizza and spending all night in front of the TV watching this crazy, amazing show,” he told BBC News last year.

“It's like a spiritual homecoming for me because I love Eurovision so much.”

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His participation in the Strictly Come Dancing grand final was revealed last December, another sign of how seriously the BBC is taking the competition this year.

Three months later, he finally revealed the song he would be performing. A pulsing electro anthem called Dizzy, premiered on streaming services at midnight, before its radio premiere on Zoe Ball's breakfast show on Friday morning.

Will it make you dizzy with excitement, or will it simply leave you feeling nauseous?

Judgment

First impressions are good. This is a sleek, streamlined slice of modern pop (imagine the Pet Shop Boys on a trip to disco) anchored by a descending chord progression that's instantly recognizable to anyone who's heard Gloria Gaynor's I Will Survive or Miley Cyrus' Flowers.

Unlike those songs, which are about coming out of a breakup, this is more about falling head over heels in, getting knocked off my feet and kissing me on the mouth in love.

Won't you take my hand and spin me round and round until the moment never ends?

Meanwhile, the verses are written (intentionally?) in the mangled English that characterizes the best Eurovision songs. “Beautiful garden / eternal flowers,sings Alexander, apparently quoting directly from the Interflora website.

Image source, Getty Images

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Alexander duetted with Elton John at the 2021 Brit Awards

However, what's most important is that the hook is instantly memorable – a huge advantage in a competition where you only have one chance to make an impression.

If there's a criticism, it's that the song could get a little harder. Instead of building to a climax, the final chorus is very polite. Without wanting to trivialize things, the song is in desperate need of a donkey.

Dizzy for Eurovision? Here's a look at the must-see moments: legendary victories, scandals, controversies, and more.

But all of that can be modified for performance. There's no rule that says live copy has to sound like radio editing; And a few well-timed fireworks can easily bring down a house (not literally, one would hope).

As always, staging is crucial, and this is one area where Alexander excels.

elevator Britt's 2021 performance of “It's a Sin”.Walking past Sir Elton John's piano was one of the most memorable concert performances in years. His dazzling, intricately designed Glastonbury set the following year proved that he had the ability to command a large audience.

Eurovision opportunities

The other variable is his competitors.

In other words, the UK needs to work hard to differentiate itself.

Personally though, I can't see Dizzy faltering too badly. Alexander is a beloved performer with a reputation across Europe, and the song benefits from his cheerful charisma.

It may not attract Mystery Points across the board, but it will be difficult to drop to last place.

All eyes will be watching when Alexander turns in Malmo next May.

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