Monty’s Eurovision Countdown 2024 Part 37 – United Kingdom

I’ve never been much of a nationalist when it comes to Eurovision (I like the songs I like, irrespective of which country they represent) but one thing does make me happy to be from the UK and it’s that I get to round off this annual Countdown with my home entry. No disrespect to the Vatican City but I hope they never send their own song and spoil this minor alphabetical pleasure.

That said, the BBC Eurovision team is doing its damndest to stir my national pride. Sam Ryder’s second place finish and the unexpected honour of hosting in 2023 brought an unparalleled level of interest in the Contest here. That, combined with Eurovision’s growing credibility, has led to us sending the biggest star (still at the height of their popularity) that we have for decades, and I am right here for it.

I love Olly Alexander. As well as enjoying his work as a music artist and an actor I’ve been impressed by his commitment to queer activism. Seven years ago, he made a documentary about LGBTQ+ mental health which my work collaborated with him on, a great watch still on the BBC iPlayer. I was so excited when his surprise announcement came, during the final of the BBC’s biggest weekend primetime show just before Christmas. What a leap from the days we embarrassedly snuck out our song on the interactive Red Button service hoping nobody would notice.

Of course, it’s not who you send but what, as entries by national superstars from Patricia Kaas to Alla Pugacheva demonstrate. Could Olly pull off a song as Eurovision perfect as his first UK number 1 King was? (Yes, I’ve championed him for Eurovision all these years.)

No, is the short answer. But Dizzy is a good pop song. I like the production, with echoes of 80s Pet Shop Boys, and the spoken bit in the middle. Olly’s also got experience and charm as a performer. But – and there definitely is one – this is a bit one level. Musically Olly’s played all his cards by the end of the first chorus and (that spoken bit aside) you know exactly where this is going for the rest of the song. It feels like it ends a little too early as well; it’s certainly not the first pop song to have its full potential hampered by Eurovision’s 3 minute rule.

That said, I still think Olly has kept a card or two up his sleeve. I don’t think we’ve yet seen everything Dizzy has to offer. The BBC has form in keeping a “Eurovision version” of the song up its own sleeve until the night, so (and I’m writing this before we get a glimpse of the Malmö performance) don’t be surprised if there’s something yet to come.

Having co-written the song himself, Olly has few others to blame if it’s unsuccessful, but he’s also up against a number of factors outside of his control. There’s no way he could have known that 2024 would be the year of queer twinkish pop with Lithuania and especially Switzerland bringing more creative examples that could hoover up some of Dizzy’s votes.

10 pointsI’m thrilled an artist like Olly is embracing Eurovision. I hope it’s the start of more UK acts with current and ongoing popularity seeing it as a great platform and something fun and aspirational to do. But I’ve been in this game for a long time now and the savage and fickle judgement of the public and press alike could turn on a sixpence. The interest we’ve reignited in this silly little TV show that I love, and which has given me so much, could wane as quickly as it’s grown if we get another poor result. I so hope this is on the left-hand side of the scoreboard in the early hours of May 12th.


Photo: Richie Talboy/EBU

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