Madonna plans to perform during the Eurovision Song Contest in Israel next month, but her appearance during the interval of the annual festival could prove controversial amid calls to boycott the event, according to reports.
Accompanied by a 65-person entourage, including backup dancers, the 60-year-old pop icon is expected to perform two songs – a popular hit and a new single – in Tel Aviv on May 18, according to the Israeli daily Haaretz.
Her appearance, was first announced by local promoters Live Nation Israel, is expected to cost $1 million, which will be paid for by Canadian billionaire businessman Sylvan Adams.
“I’m excited and proud to host Madonna in Israel and to bring her to the Eurovision which will be held in Tel Aviv,” Adams said in a statement to the Jerusalem Post.
“I believe that the performance of Madonna at the Eurovision – accompanied by dozens of professional backup dancers – will make a significant contribution to the success of the event and to the strengthening of Israel’s positive branding in the world,” added Adams, who has bankrolled concerts in Israel to support the Jewish state and fight boycott movements.
Stars including Pink Floyd’s Rogers Waters and fellow musician Brian Eno, as well as filmmakers Ken Loach and Mike Leigh, have called for a boycott of the event.
“We, the undersigned artists from Europe and beyond, support the heartfelt appeal from Palestinian artists to boycott the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 hosted by Israel,” they said in a latter published by The Guardian.
“Until Palestinians can enjoy freedom, justice and equal rights, there should be no business-as-usual with the state that is denying them their basic rights.”
The Material Girl and the contest’s producers also have already butted heads apparently because the new song she plans to debut contains political messages, Haaretz reported.
Madonna first performed in Israel in 1993, then again in 2009 and 2012. She has also visited the Holy Land on other occasions in the context of her interest in Kabbalah.
The show, which is being held in the country after Israeli singer Netta won last year’s contest in Portugal, will be hosted by model Bar Refaeli and veteran Israeli TV personality Erez Tal.
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