Olly Alexander steals the show at Mighty Hoopla with Girls Aloud reunion: ‘I think I cried’

Olly Alexander on stage with Girls Aloud members Nicola Roberts and Kimberley Walsh from band Girls Aloud at Mighty Hoopla festival.

Years and Years singer Olly Alexander has prompted calls for a Girls Aloud reunion after bringing out half of the band as part of his set at Mighty Hoopla festival. 

Mighty Hoopla is often seen as one of the most inclusive and celebratory festivals in the UK, attracting a huge queer audience by putting pop music and pure campery front and centre. With Years and Years headlining on Sunday night (4 June), this year’s festival was no different.

While Olly Alexander’s set was always going to one of the best performances of the weekend, he faced some tough competition: on Saturday (3 June), Destiny’s Child icon Kelly Rowland took to the main stage, while the weekend also saw stellar performances from Scissor Sister Jake Shears, Eurovision winner Loreen, and lockdown hero Sophie Ellis-Bextor.

Plus, the weekend was a haven for wild drag talent like RuPaul’s Drag Race UK stars Danny Beard and Tayce, and drag kings Don One and Chiyo.

It was tough to call which performance would steal the whole weekend, but Olly Alexander, 32, claimed victory with one of the most jaw-dropping surprises to ever grace the Mighty Hoopla stage.

After whizzing through his back catalogue of hits including “Desire”, “Play” and “Eyes Shut”, and first bringing out Jake Shears for a rendition of Scissor Sisters’ hit “Filthy/Gorgeous”, Alexander welcomed Girls Aloud stars Nicola Roberts and Kimberley Walsh to stage.

You may like to watch

The trio performed Girls Aloud’s chart-topping hit “The Promise”” as well as one of the very best pop singles to ever come out of the UK – “Call The Shots”.

Entirely unsurprisingly, the queer fans in the audience who grew up listening to Girls Aloud ascended in unison, with some sharing that the surprise made them weep.

“I am dead [at] Olly Alexander bringing out Jake Shears and two of Girls Aloud,” one person wrote on Twitter. “I have no more tears left to cry. One of the best sets I’ve ever seen.”

“Did I cry when Years & Years brought Nicola & Kimberley to sing “The Promise” and “Call The shots”? Yes, like a b***h. Girls Aloud forever,” wrote another.

Others have seen the shock performance as the perfect excuse for Girls Aloud to stage a reunion and headline their own set at next year’s Mighty Hoopla.

“I think some sort of Girls Aloud reunion in a few years time would be incredible,” one person shared on social media, while another said: “The way I would do literally anything to get girls aloud back, you don’t understand.”

Girls Aloud dominated British music throughout the noughties, achieving four number one singles and one Brit Award, but split up in 2013.

Band member Sarah Harding died in 2021 after being diagnosed with breast cancer, and the remaining four members, which includes Cheryl and Nadine Coyle as well as Nicola Roberts and Kimberley Walsh, have spent the months since raising money in her honour. 

The group held a reunion of sorts earlier this year to re-release their debut single “Sound of the Underground”, while a deluxe version of their debut album of the same name will be released later this month.

While the re-release was welcome news for Girls Aloud fans, Walsh has previously ruled out a full-blown reunion, suggesting it would be “too painful” without Sarah Harding.