In Brief

Eurovision Song Contest 2019: Madonna to perform at Tel Aviv final

Could the Queen of Pop help bring the world together amid anger over Israel hosting event?

Madonna will perform on stage at the Eurovision Song Contest finale in Tel Aviv this May, the European Broadcasting Union has confirmed.

The Queen of Pop is expected to sing one of her classic hits along with a new song. According to Israeli newspaper Haaretz, the chart-topping star has “butted heads” with the contest’s producers over the new track’s political messages.

All the same, the show will go on despite the reported row, and despite the $1m cost of bringing Madonna and her 160-strong entourage to the contest.

The entire bill is being footed by Sylvan Adams, a Canadian-Israeli billionaire businessman who has led the charge to get the pop star to Tel Aviv for Eurovision.

Adams calls himself “the self-appointed ambassador to Israel” on his business cards, and has previously played a similar role in bringing the prestigious Giro cycling race to Israel, reports news site From the Grapevine.

As well as promoting Israel, Adams is said to hope that Madonna’s presence will grab the attention of viewers in North America, where Eurovision is not well known.

Twitter users have been celebrating the news of her upcoming gig.

Israel won the right to host this year’s Eurovision finale after its entry topped the public vote in Lisbon last year. However, critics across the globe have been calling for a boycott of the event in protest at the Middle Eastern nation’s treatment of the Palestinian territories.

Former Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters has urged the BBC not to broadcast the contest, and 50 UK artists have signed an open letter asking organisers to push for a location change over “Israel’s systematic violation of Palestinian human rights”.

BBC One remains scheduled to air Eurovision on Saturday 18 May.

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