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Olly Alexander and Elton John join forces for ‘glorious’ performance of ‘It’s a Sin’ at the BRITs

The pair's cover of the Pet Shop Boys' 1987 track has already topped the UK iTunes chart.

By Alastair James

Words: Alastair James

Elton John and Olly Alexander lit up the stage at the BRIT Awards last night with a stunning rendition of the Pet Shop Boys’ ‘It’s a Sin’.

During Tuesday night’s eagerly-anticipated ceremony at London’s O2 Arena, the pair paid homage to Russell T Davies’ hit TV series of the same name, about the Aids crisis of the 1980s, which Olly also starred in. 

Proceeds from the single, which had already topped the UK iTunes chart by Wednesday morning (12 May), are going to the Elton John Aids Foundation

“It’s a Sin and it’s glorious”

Photography: John Marshall

The performance was introduced by Elton John’s husband, David Furnish, who highlighted the stark differences between the global reaction to the Coronavirus pandemic last year and the emergence of HIV in the 1980s.

“The whole world reacted immediately. Governments took action, cities closed down, scientists created vaccines, and we all talked about it night and day Quite rightly given the pain and suffering wreaked on so many people the world over.

“But when the same thing happened in 1981, there was silence.


“People with HIV and Aids were treated with ignorance, fear, shame and stigma. That silence allowed Aids to grow into the greatest disease affecting our planet. But we fought back.”

Furnish also drew attention to the strides that have been made since the 80s and how different HIV treatment is today, including “Undetectable = Untransmittable” on a global stage.

The performance was a hit with viewers at home, with many fans praising the pair online.

“It’s a Sin and it’s glorious” tweeted one viewer.

Some fans claimed the performance between the 74-year-old legend and the 30-year-old Years and Years star was one of ‘the best ever’. 


The duet was teased ahead of the awards show, with Elton John posting an image with the word ‘It’s’ on Instagram, followed by Years and Years posting a similar image with the word ‘A’ and then the BRITs Instagram account posting the word ‘Sin’. 

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A post shared by Elton John (@eltonjohn)

Posting a picture of the two of them on Instagram after the performance, Elton John said he was “So happy to share this very special new version of ‘It’s a sin’ with myself and @ollyyears of @yearsandyears in support of the Elton John AIDS Foundation.”

The same image was posted by Years and Years adding the money was going to “an important organisation which supports innovative HIV prevention, education programs, direct care and support services to people living with HIV”.

Photography: John Marshall

Meanwhile, It’s a Sin writer Russell T Davies commented: “THE BEST”.

You can watch the full performance of Elton John and Years & Years’ ‘It’s a Sin’ below.