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Olly Alexander’s Dizzy is not the Eurovision banger the UK needs

Olly Alexander is the UK's hope for Eurovision
Olly Alexander is the UK's hope for Eurovision - Redferns

Olly Alexander must love the Eurovision very much to risk his career with something as pleasantly unexceptional as this. It is not nul points for Dizzy, but I just can’t see it as a take no prisoners banger to put Britain back on top of the Euro pile.

Dizzy will be this year’s British Eurovision entry, written and performed by the flamboyantly charismatic 33 -year-old Alexander, former frontman with synth pop darlings Years and Years and acclaimed star of 2021 C4 drama It’s A Sin.

Unveiled today, Dizzy is an interesting modern electronic dance pop song, a blend of Balearic beats and sugary sentiments delivering upbeat sentiments with a minor chord melodic tension, very much in the style of last year’s winner, Tattoo by Sweden’s Loreen. If you can’t beat ’em, well, steal their moves. But is this what the once great British pop superpower is reduced to: imitating the Swedes? It used to be the other way around.

To be fair, Dizzy sounds like a top 10 hit, a short bittersweet blast of shiny modern dance pop, blending the ecstatic with the melancholy: upbeat verse, downbeat chorus, upbeat verse, downbeat chorus, brief atmospheric interlude for dancers to strut their stuff and Olly to mutter something meaningful in a Pet Shop Boys style, big choruses and out before Tik Tok users get bored. It clocks in under 3 minutes long and has no fat on its dancing bones.

But I can’t hear anything to lift it up above the pack. In the final few bars, Alexander’s fluid voice starts to soar, but where there should be fireworks it fades away. The song doesn’t have the earworm insistence or obvious moment of camp drama to win in a competition that is all about sensation and gimmickry.

Alexander’s career is certainly not in any kind of trouble (yet) and he genuinely seems to have pitched his hat into the ring out of love for the competition. But the name Mae Muller should be enough to send chills down any pop star’s spine. This time last year, Muller was a talented ingenue with songwriting smarts and her whole career ahead of her. For a brief, shining moment, she was hailed as our brightest pop hope in years, and feted everywhere she went.

Olly Alexander
Olly Alexander

After an underwhelming performance saw her voted second last at the Eurovision in Liverpool in May, Muller’s debut album failed to dent the top 30, her triumphant arena tour was cancelled due to lack of interest, she “parted ways” with her record company and released a statement about taking a “hiatus” from the music business. She now seems to be bouncing back and has an adoring cult fanbase, but it can’t have been easy. “The pressure was insane,” she said in a recent interview. “Would I do it again? I don’t think so.”

Alexander’s a compelling performer, with an established young fan base, so maybe, just maybe, he will put together enough of an eye and ear catching delivery to elevate Dizzy above its obviousness. If he’s lucky and the winds blow the right way, the song’s energy and Alexander’s charisma will help him avoid ignominy. It’s good enough to make supporters feel he has a chance, and surely won’t lead to national embarrassment. But Dizzy is too formulaic and eager to please to put hearts and heads in a spin.