Olly Alexander who is the UK’s Eurovision entry this year has said he “respects” fans’ decision to boycott the song contest due to Israel’s inclusion.

The Years & Years star has also said he feels some of the language used against contestants has been “very extreme”.

Olly, who will be representing the UK at the competition in Malmo, Sweden next week with his song Dizzy, rejected calls for him to withdraw from the contest amid the conflict in the Gaza strip earlier this year.

But in a new BBC documentary titled Olly Alexander’s Road To Eurovision ‘24 which follows the singer as he prepares for the show, he has opened up about making the “very hard decision” to continue with the competition.

The 33-year-old explained: “A lot of the contestants and myself have been having a lot of comments that are like ‘You are complicit in a genocide by taking part in Eurovision’ which is quite extreme. It’s very extreme.

“I understand where that sentiment is coming from but I think it’s not correct.

“It’s an incredibly complicated political situation, one that I’m not qualified to speak on.

“The backdrop to this is actual immense suffering. It’s a humanitarian crisis, a war.

“It just so happens there’s a song contest going on at the same time that I’m a part of.”

He continues: “People are in despair and want to do something.

“People should do what’s right for them.

“If they want to boycott Eurovision if they don’t feel comfortable watching, that’s their choice, and I respect that.

“Eurovision is, it’s meant to be like an apolitical contest, but that’s like a fantasy.”

The UK at Eurovision: 68 years of musical highs and lows (2024)

In the programme, the singer says he is taking everything “day by day” as he admits it is a “very hard decision”.

“My plan is to just focus on putting on a good performance in Malmö”, he adds.

“My team, everyone’s worked so hard, and we’re in the final stretch now.”

How Israel’s Eurovision song entry caused controversy

Following the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war, Queers for Palestine circulated a letter signed by actors Indya Moore, Brigette Lundy-Paine and Maxine Peake calling for Alexander to stop participating.

In March, Olly along with Irish hopeful Bambie Thug and Danish entrant Saba as well as other Eurovision artists released a joint statement, backing “an immediate and lasting ceasefire” but refusing to boycott the event.

That same month, Israel unveiled its new entry as Hurricane, performed by singer Eden Golan.

Her original track, October Rain, had caused controversy as the lyrics were thought to reference the Hamas attacks of October 7 before being changed following the backlash.

Last month, Jean Philip De Tender, the deputy director general of the European Broadcasting Union who organises Eurovision, said he understands that the song contest takes place “against the backdrop of a terrible war in the Middle East” and this has provoked strong feelings, but criticised artists being “targeted” on social media.

Jean added: “While we strongly support freedom of speech and the right to express opinions in a democratic society, we firmly oppose any form of online abuse, hate speech, or harassment directed at our artists or any individuals associated with the contest.

“This is unacceptable and totally unfair, given the artists have no role in this decision.”

When is the UK performing in Eurovision 2024?

Olly will first be performing at the 68th Eurovision Song Contest during Tuesday's semi-final on May 7.

For the first time, artists from the Big Five countries (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK - plus host nation Sweden) will each perform their entries in full live during the first and second (May 9) semi-finals.

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However, as the Big Five are guaranteed places in the final (May 11), none of them will technically be “competing” in either semi-final.

All three live programmes (both semi-finals and the grand final) will once again be broadcast live on BBC One and BBC iPlayer in 2024.

Olly Alexander’s Road To Eurovision ‘24 is available on iPlayer from 6am on Sunday (May 5) and will air on BBC One on Tuesday at 10.50pm.