Eurovision 2019 crowned its winner, this year, with The Netherland’s Duncan Laurence, taking home the trophy, for The Netherlands, which is the first time in 44 years that The Netherlands were crowned winners of the Eurovision Song Contest. However, the evening wasn’t without its controversy, after Madonna’s, the Queen Of Pop, hotly-anticipated appearance, at the 64th Eurovision Song Contest, in Israel, sparked backlash and drew a mixed response from viewers.
ICYMI the Israel and Palestinian flag was shown briefly on the back of two of the performers at the end of Madonna’s performance.
The EBU and broadcaster KAN have said they were unaware that this was going to happen and that it didn’t occur during rehearsals. pic.twitter.com/iBi6HKZK8c
— Scott Bryan (@scottygb) May 18, 2019
Celebrating the 30th anniversary of her 1989 album, ‘Like A Prayer’, Madonna dawned a black cape and eyepatch before performing a re-worked version of its title track atop a high, staircase stage. The singer was surrounded by hooded dancers in monk-like outfits, which when ripped off revealed dancers wearing gas masks adorned with flowers. During her politically charged performance, two of her dancers could be seen with Israel and Palestinian flags on their backs.
As well as being off-key and a poor performer, Madonna managed to violate the EBU’s principle of non-political engagement by adding the Israeli and Palestinian flags to the back of two dancers backs. What a waste of money she was #Eurovision2019 https://t.co/jCsK1YcUq8
— Luke Baker (@BakerLuke) May 18, 2019
Speaking about the political charged performance, the Israeli culture minister, Miri Regev, has criticised the display of Palestinian flags during the Eurovision song contest final, in Tel Aviv, on Saturday the 18th of May 2019.
Regev, a right-wing minister, known for his provocative stances, told journalists, before a cabinet meeting, on Sunday that, “It was an error! Politics and a cultural event should not be mixed, with all due respect to Madonna.” Regev also criticised the Israeli public broadcaster ‘Kan’, for not preventing the flags from being shown, though it was unclear what could have been done.
During Madonna’s performance of her new single ‘Future’, at the final, two of her dancers could be seen in an embrace walking side by side, with Israeli and Palestinian flags on their backs. The gesture, an apparent call for unity, has received backlash as Eurovision organisers seek to keep politics out of the event, and the display of Palestinian flags inside Israel is deeply controversial.
Madonna followed up her controversial statement, she said: “They are so naïve – they think we are not aware of their crimes. We know, but we’re just not ready to act. The storm isn’t in the air, it’s inside of us. I want to tell you about love and loneliness. But it’s getting late now. Can’t you hear outside of your Supreme hoodie, the wind that’s beginning to howl?”
However, that was not the only controversy of the night. In a separate politically charged statement, the Icelandic group Hatari displayed scarfs with Palestinian flags on them, when the results were being announced.
The European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which organises the event, condemned both displays. Referring to Madonna’s dancers, the EBU, said: “This element of the performance was not part of the rehearsals. The Eurovision song contest is a non-political event and Madonna had been made aware of this.”
Madonna’s appearance at the annual singing competition, which was started to bring Europe together, saw her resist calls from pro-Palestinian activists to boycott the event over Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory. In a statement before the finals, the American singer, 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.”
#Madonna may have sounded flat but she won my heart tonight – being an artist is not always about having a perfect voice, but having something inspiring to say, and knowing how to deliver the message. She did outperform everyone else and she was #ArealQueen. #MadonnaEurovision pic.twitter.com/GE6Axyr6XX
— Rosa Martinez (@RosaMartinezUK) May 18, 2019
— ɢᴀᴠɪɴ (@gavinworby) May 18, 2019