Eurovision Song Contest 2024 - UK act Olly Alexander explains how he’s preparing for the Grand Final in Malmö

by 24britishtvMay 7, 2024, 9:01 p.m. 42
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The world’s biggest music competition returns this May as the 68th Eurovision Song Contest, one of the longest-running and most-watched non-sporting events in the world, is broadcast live from Malmö on the BBC. On Saturday 11 May, the Grand Final will be hosted by commentator Graham Norton, live on BBC One and BBC iPlayer. Over on BBC Radio 2 and BBC Sounds, Scott Mills and Rylan will be leading the commentary on the airwaves. Following Loreen’s victory in Liverpool last May, seven time winner Sweden takes over as host of the much loved competition. This year also marks the 50 year anniversary of ABBA giving Sweden their first iconic win with ‘Waterloo’. Multi-award winning music superstar, Olly Alexander will be flying the flag for the United Kingdom with his song ‘Dizzy’. Comedian, singer and two-time Eurovision host Petra Mede takes hold of the presenter reins alongside Hollywood star Malin Åkerman, live from Malmö Arena. Twenty-six incredible acts perform in a bid for the most points, but only one will be crowned the new Eurovision Winner. The Eurovision Song Contest Grand Final airs Saturday 11 May at 8pm on BBC One, BBC iPlayer, BBC Radio 2 and BBC Sounds.
• Eurovision 2024 on the BBC - Everything you need to know

How are you feeling about representing the UK for Eurovision 2024? I'm feeling very proud to be representing the UK with my song ‘Dizzy’. I can't believe that it's happening to be honest with you, this whole experience feels like a dream. I've watched Eurovision since I was a kid and now that I'm going to be out there on the stage, flying the flag for my country. It's quite overwhelming but very exciting. Tell us about your song ‘Dizzy’, and what it means to you? ‘Dizzy’ is about an overwhelming feeling of love that someone gives you where they've swept you off your feet and they're literally turning your world upside down. The song is about that feeling, and I love it, I love the song so much, and I just can't wait to perform it. What can we expect from your performance? I think what's important at Eurovision is to stand out, and so I am aiming for my performance to be truly unforgettable, to surprise the audience and to intrigue them. I want to leave them with something that they will never forget and of course, I hope to bring an element of dizziness to the performance and capture the feelings of the song. Have you ever been to Sweden? I've been very fortunate to have visited Sweden a number of times. It's a beautiful country. I've played there on tour quite a few times. I recently played a show there in Stockholm at a theme park called Gröna Lund. It's a very famous Swedish venue, Elton John, Prince and Jimi Hendrix have all played there and now so I have I, I loved it. Do you have any rituals before performing? Will you be taking any good luck charms with you to Malmö? I only really have one pre-stage ritual and that is to hug whoever I'm going on stage with. I like to give them a hug and just take a few deep breaths. Also, my mum has given me a good luck charm. It's a traditional Swedish statue, a wooden horse called a Dala horse that I'll definitely be taking to Sweden. Have you had a listen to the competition? Yes, I've listened to every artist’s song at this year's Eurovision, there's a lot of really great songs by some great artists. I think the competition is quite stiff. Which past Eurovision artist would you most like to duet with? Oh, there are lots of fantastic, previous Eurovision contestants that I would love to collab with. If I had to pick one, I would say Mahmood who has represented Italy more than once. I think he's a great artist. What is your favourite Eurovision song of all time? This is extremely difficult because there are so many amazing songs! I'm going to pick the song that I think birthed my Eurovision love and obsession. I was about six or seven years old. It was the UK representative that year. It was Gina G, with ‘Ooh Aah... Just A Little Bit.’ Commentator on BBC One and iPlayer

What was it like hosting Eurovision on home turf last year? Hosting Eurovision on home turf last year was extraordinary. The standout moments for me were the whole arena singing "You'll Never Walk Alone" and that amazing reaction after Mae Muller had performed. I've never heard anything like it. Do you think hosting in Liverpool last year has bought a new found love of Eurovision to the UK? I think the UK has always loved Eurovision and having the Grand Final in Liverpool just made that love more intense. Hopefully everyone this year will rally around young Olly and cheer him on his way. Have you ever been to Sweden before? I've only been to Sweden when they have hosted Eurovision, so, as far as my memory serves, this will be my third trip. I'm really looking forward to it because they always put on a great show. What do you think about the UK entry this year? Having a bona fide pop star representing the UK this year is a great start. Olly has already done all the things that it’s impossible to prepare someone for. He has played to huge crowds, he can relate to the cameras, and he is used to high pressure situations. Add to that, the fact that the song is a massive bop and I think we could do really well this year. Other than the UK, do you have any personal favourites from this year’s entries? In a year when lots of countries are trying to recreate the mayhem of Finland’s entry from last year (Cha Cha Cha,) I think a big ballad like Mon Amour from France might do very well, but I have to say I also have a soft spot for Nemo representing Switzerland, and look out for Belgium too! What’s more nerve-wracking for you, the Eurovision final or interviewing A-list celebrities? I think the nerves are very different doing Eurovision compared to my own show. Big celebrities can be very intimidating, but nothing can prepare you for a live broadcast that often lasts for almost four hours. There isn't the safety net of an edit. If you say it, people can hear it, and sometimes as the evening wears on it becomes harder to remember that! This year celebrates 50 years since ABBA won the contest in Brighton, do you have any favourite memories of ABBA since then? ABBA occupy such a special place in all our lives and their music has been on such a strange journey from huge pop hits, that became cheesy favourites, back to being really credible songs again. I can't think of any other group who have done that. The fact that their holograms can sell out shows every night tells you something about how much everyone loves ABBA.

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