BBC is accused of snubbing Olly Alexander as UK’s Eurovision act

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The BBC has been accused of overlooking chart-topping TV star Olly Alexander as the UK’s Eurovision entrant due to a ‘grossly unfair’ deal with the contest’s selectors.

The Mail on Sunday has learned the lead singer of the band Years & Years put himself forward to represent the nation in this year’s competition.

But the artist, 31, who received widespread acclaim for his role in Channel 4‘s HIV drama It’s A Sin, was ‘dismayed’ after learning only stars selected by the London management company TaP were eligible for selection.

Snubbed: The BBC has been accused of overlooking chart-topping TV star Olly Alexander as the UK's Eurovision entrant due to a 'grossly unfair' deal with the contest's selectors

Snubbed: The BBC has been accused of overlooking chart-topping TV star Olly Alexander as the UK’s Eurovision entrant due to a ‘grossly unfair’ deal with the contest’s selectors

The Corporation’s deal appointing TaP to lead the search for the UK contestant meant that Alexander, who is signed to Polydor, was not considered. 

Instead, TikTok star Sam Ryder headed to Italy for last night’s final.

One music manager said: ‘With his stage presence and personality he [Olly] would have been a great choice.

‘It’s fair to say he was left quite deflated. I don’t think they will use the same methods again because it is grossly unfair.

Eurovision: The Mail on Sunday has learned the lead singer of the band Years & Years put himself forward to represent the nation, but Sam Ryder (pictured) was chosen

Eurovision: The Mail on Sunday has learned the lead singer of the band Years & Years put himself forward to represent the nation, but Sam Ryder (pictured) was chosen 

‘The only reassuring thing is that Olly has been told he stands a good chance of being selected if he puts his name forward next year, as long as the rules change.’

TaP helped catapult British singer Dua Lipa to global stardom before she parted ways with the firm in February. Ellie Goulding, Lana Del Ray and Cruz Beckham are also signed to them.

TaP owner Ben Mawson, who has two children with the host of Austria’s 2015 Eurovision show Mirjam Weichselbraun, was selected as the BBC’s Eurovision collaborator after pitching a documentary about Britain’s attitude to the competition. 

He told NME magazine: ‘I remember thinking, ‘Why do we do so badly every year? Is it political, or is there more to it than that?’

Disappointed: Olly, 31, was left 'dismayed' after learning only stars selected by the London management company TaP were eligible for selection

Disappointed: Olly, 31, was left ‘dismayed’ after learning only stars selected by the London management company TaP were eligible for selection

BBC Studios, the Corporation’s commercial arm, began partnering with music firms in 2019, having formerly selected songs through a talent show.

It comes after the nation was left gobsmacked after the UK came in second at the Eurovision final, the nation’s highest place for more than two decades.

Ukraine clinched victory at the Eurovision Song Contest on Saturday after winning a stomping 439 points from the public tele-vote, giving them a grand total of 631, with the UK coming in closely behind.

Britain had stormed to the top of the leaderboard after the jury vote with 283 points, and earned an extra 183 points from the public, putting them in second place with 466.

Surprised: It comes after the nation was left gobsmacked after the UK came in second at the Eurovision final, the nation's highest place for more than two decades. Pictured: Sam Ryder

Surprised: It comes after the nation was left gobsmacked after the UK came in second at the Eurovision final, the nation’s highest place for more than two decades. Pictured: Sam Ryder 

Despite the UK’s poor Eurovision history in recent years, Sam Ryder, 32, amazingly broke the trend with his popular performance of Space Man, bucking the ‘nil point’ trend.

And Graham Norton couldn’t help but express his surprise as he humorously insisted that it was ‘not a glitch’ or a ‘sketch’ as the UK kept creeping up the leaderboard.

Responding to his success during the final at Turin’s PalaOlimpico arena, Sam gushed: ‘Thank you so much… there’s so much gratitude sitting around in this green room… what an experience.’ 

Wow! The UK incredibly came in second place - the nation's highest place for more than two decades - during the Eurovision Song Contest on Saturday following years of 'nul points'

Wow! The UK incredibly came in second place – the nation’s highest place for more than two decades – during the Eurovision Song Contest on Saturday following years of ‘nul points’ 

Joy: Ukraine clinched victory after winning a stomping 439 points from the public tele-vote, giving them a grand total of 631, while Britain came in second place with 466 points

Joy: Ukraine clinched victory after winning a stomping 439 points from the public tele-vote, giving them a grand total of 631, while Britain came in second place with 466 points

And viewers were equally as shocked by the UK’s popularity, as ‘what is happening’ quickly began trending on Twitter as the tension increased during scoring.

One person tweeted: ‘I love the fact that WHAT IS HAPPENING is trending because the whole of the UK is collectively losing their minds about us not being complete pariahs in #Eurovision.’

Another wrote: ‘FRANCE GAVE THE UK 12 POINTS? WHAT IS HAPPENING?! IS EVERYONE OK? #Eurovision’

A third added: ‘What is happening????? did we somehow end up in the multiverse?? why is everyone giving the uk points??’

Amazed: Viewers took to Twitter to share their shock as 'what is happening' began trending on Twitter as the nation couldn't believe the UK ranked so highly, beaten only by Ukraine

Amazed: Viewers took to Twitter to share their shock as ‘what is happening’ began trending on Twitter as the nation couldn’t believe the UK ranked so highly, beaten only by Ukraine 

Thrilled: The UK stormed to the top of the jury leaderboard (pictured) before the public vote saw them move to second place at Saturday's final Eurovision Song Contest

Thrilled: The UK stormed to the top of the jury leaderboard (pictured) before the public vote saw them move to second place at Saturday’s final Eurovision Song Contest

And a fourth said: ‘I DON’T KNOW WHAT IS HAPPENING, BUT I’M LIVING!!! #UnitedKingdom #EUROVISION.’

While a fifth penned: ‘Love that the British response to doing well in EV is that WHAT IS HAPPENING is trending.’

Another added: ‘The UK was in second place in Eurovision?! What is happening oh my god.’ 

And one person joked: ‘I was too busy doing my What is Happening in front of the TV to realise everyone on Twitter was losing their #Eurovision2022 minds as well! Can we send @SamRyderMusic to Eurovision every year?’ 

TikTok star Sam – who shot to fame with his lockdown covers on the video-sharing platform – changed the UK’s run of bad luck after scoring nil points for the past two years.

Overjoyed: TikTok star Sam - who shot to fame with his lockdown covers on the video-sharing platform - has changed the UK's run of bad luck after scoring nil points for the past two years

Overjoyed: TikTok star Sam – who shot to fame with his lockdown covers on the video-sharing platform – has changed the UK’s run of bad luck after scoring nil points for the past two years

In the green room, an overjoyed Sam said: ‘Honestly, this amazing. It’s wicked.

‘We signed up here to come and sing we enjoy music, and I know that every single artist involved this year absolutely smashed it. 

‘Everyone was a credit to themselves and a credit to what Eurovision is all about; unity peace, love, togetherness, inclusivity and expression 

‘Thank you for having us, appreciate [it].’  

Prime Minister Boris Johnson congratulated Sam for his performance, tweeting: ‘Incredibly proud of Sam Ryder and how he brilliantly represented the UK tonight.’

Winners! Despite the UK's success, it was Ukraine's Kalush Orchestra who took home the crown after moving viewers with their poignant performance of Stefania

Winners! Despite the UK’s success, it was Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra who took home the crown after moving viewers with their poignant performance of Stefania

Despite the UK’s success, it was Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra who took home the crown after moving viewers with their poignant performance of Stefania amid the war in the country.

The group – made up of rapper Oleh Psiuk, Ihor Didenchuk, Vlad Kurochka, Tymofii Muzychuk and Oleksandr Slobodianyk – wowed with their performance, which merged rap with folk and featured breakdancing, flutes and bold ensembles.

After taking to the stage, they thanked everyone for supporting their country amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

After they were revealed as the champions and performed the song for a second time, they said: ‘Thank you, thank you so much.’

They had been given special permission to travel to Italy, as men their age are currently fighting for their country back home.

Impressive: The group - made up of rapper Oleh Psiuk, Ihor Didenchuk, Vlad Kurochka, Tymofii Muzychuk and Oleksandr Slobodianyk - wowed with their performance

Impressive: The group – made up of rapper Oleh Psiuk, Ihor Didenchuk, Vlad Kurochka, Tymofii Muzychuk and Oleksandr Slobodianyk – wowed with their performance

The band said of the song, which is a tribute to mothers: ‘We’re showing off our roots, and we’re showing how to take something from the past and make it work for the present.

‘That’s why we’ve found success at home, and we hope that we can find that sort of reception internationally, as well. We take something old, and we make it sound modern.’

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was quick to praise Ukraine and described their win was ‘a clear reflection of not just your talent, but of the unwavering support for your fight for freedom’.

He wrote: ‘Congratulations to Ukraine for winning the Eurovision Song Contest 2022.

‘It is a clear reflection of not just your talent, but of the unwavering support for your fight for freedom.’

Gratitude: After taking to the stage, the group thanked everyone for supporting their country amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine

Gratitude: After taking to the stage, the group thanked everyone for supporting their country amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

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