Madonna has been confirmed to be performing at the final of the Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv this Saturday (May 18) after doubts emerged this week that the performance would go ahead.
In a tweet this evening, Eurovision said: “We can confirm that international pop icon @Madonna will perform two songs during the Grand Final of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest including her 1989 hit, Like A Prayer, and brand-new track, Future.”
On Monday, Eurovision executive supervisor Jon Ola Sand said that a contract for the performance had yet to be signed and said negotiations were in their “final stage.”
Madonna reportedly arrived in Israel on Tuesday
The pop star reportedly arrived in Israel on Tuesday to prepare for her planned performance—despite the fact that details had not yet been finalised.
She is rumoured to receive a payment of at least $1 million for performing the two songs on the popular show.
The news comes as Madonna continues to face sustained pressure from Palestinian and LGBT+ groups to cancel her performance as a part of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel.
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“We can confirm that international pop icon @Madonna will perform two songs during the Grand Final of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest including her 1989 hit, Like A Prayer, and brand-new track, Future.”
– Eurovision organisers
Responding to the calls to boycott, Madonna said: “I’ll never stop playing music to suit someone’s political agenda nor will I stop speaking out against violations of human rights wherever in the world they may be,” the statement said, quoted by Reuters.
“My heart breaks every time I hear about the innocent lives that are lost in this region and the violence that is so often perpetuated to suit the political goals of people who benefit from this ancient conflict. I hope and pray that we will soon break free from this terrible cycle of destruction and create a new path towards peace,” it added.
Palestinian campaigners said Madonna still had time to pull out
The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) sent her an open letter earlier this week in which they urged her to pull out of the contest.
“Israel’s decades-old regime of occupation, apartheid and settler-colonialism explicitly uses international artists and events to cover up its human rights abuses,” the letter said.
“At a time when fewer and fewer major artists are performing in apartheid Tel Aviv, Eurovision is exactly what Israel’s far-right government needs to distract from its crimes.”
However, others have come out in support of Eurovision in Tel Aviv, and of Madonna performing at it.
Just weeks ago, an organisation called the Creative Community For Peace released an open letter that had been signed by various celebrities in which they condemned Eurovision boycotts and said that music “transcends boundaries and brings people together under a common bond.”
“We believe that unifying events, such as singing competitions, are crucial to help bridge our cultural divides and bring people of all backgrounds together through their shared love of music,” the open letter said.