Culture&Arts

Madonna Eurovision performance in doubt

Madonna Eurovision performance in doubt

"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 said in a statement to Reuters.

"The EBU can confirm that no final decisions have been made, or agreements signed, regarding a performance by Madonna at the Eurovision Song Contest 2019. I hope and pray that we will soon break free from this bad cycle of destruction and create a new path towards peace", she added.

Tel Aviv was confirmed as the host city for this year's 64th Eurovision Song Contest last September.

Madonna performs "Nothing Compares 2 U" during her tribute to Prince at the 2016 Billboard Awards in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., May 22, 2016.

Speaking on Monday, Eurovision's executive supervisor Jon Ola Sand said: "The European Broadcasting Union has never confirmed Madonna as an act".

"We are in a situation now that is a bit unusual", he said.

"People have spoken on behalf of the EBU, for many months now, without it being authorised", Mr Sand said.

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It is not known what the issues are behind the last-minute negotiations but broadcasters associated with the event have suggested it is not unusual for performance contracts to be formalised just before or even after a show.

But how did the singer - whose voice was once described by United States singer-songwriter Ben Folds as "one of the best in the world" - fare in her bid to make it through to the grand final? "But for that, we need to have the framework secured". The venue has prompted calls for a boycott by pro-Palestinian activists who want companies, performers and governments to disengage from Israel.

Madonna is expected to arrive Wednesday morning with an entourage of some 135 people including rapper KoVu, a choir of 40 singers and 25 dancers.

In an open letter, names such Wolf Alice, Maxine Peake, Dame Vivienne Westwood and Peter Gabriel called for the BBC to not cover the competition this year.

The contest - which gets underway with the first semi-finals tonight - will take place this year in Tel Aviv after Israel's Netta Barzilai won last year's contest.

The letter read: "Eurovision may be light entertainment, but it is not exempt from human rights considerations - and we can not ignore Israel's systematic violation of Palestinian human rights".

And while Catholic-raised Madonna has been a passionate follower of the ancient Jewish tradition Kabbalah, she has also supported several Palestinian projects through her Ray of Light Foundation.