American pop superstar Madonna has been booked to perform at the Eurovision Song Contest being held in Tel Aviv next month, according to a local production company.
Live Nation Israel said in a statement that Madonna will perform two songs during the finals of the international singing competition on May 18. One song will be a well-known single, while the other will be a track off of one of her upcoming album.
According to the statement, Madonna will arrive in Israel several days before the show, accompanied by a 65-person strong entourage of production crew and backup dancers.
Madonna has performed in Israel three times: in 1993, 2009, and during the summer of 2012. A longtime Kabbalah enthusiast, Madonna has made pilgrimages to Israel on several occasions, as well.
Israel won the Eurovision Song Contest for the first time in two decades last year, with Netta Barzilai’s women’s empowerment anthem, “Toy.” The win gave Israel the right to host the 2019 contest, but it also set off months of tussling over funding and which city would play host.
Hosting the contest is expected to cost Israel up to NIS 190 million ($52 million), according to media reports, but will also bring in millions in tourist dollars and priceless media exposure.
Israel is expected to host tens of thousands of tourists, and the event is seen as a rare chance for the country to market a more friendly side of itself to the world.
According to Live Nation, the $1.3 million price tag for a 15-minute Madonna performance will be paid for by Canadian-Israeli billionaire Sylvan Adams.
Adams has lived in Israel since 2015, and has funded several major projects, including the Giro d’Italia Big Start bike race that took place in the Jerusalem area last year. He also recently donated $5 million to SpaceIL, the non-profit organization that is behind the initiative to land the first Israeli spacecraft on the moon.
“I am excited and proud to host Madonna in Israel and to bring her to the Eurovision in Tel Aviv,” Adams said in the statement.
He said Madonna’s performance at the 2019 finals would “contribute significantly to the success of the event and will strengthen Israel’s image across the world.”