Madonna confirmed at last for Eurovision performance in Tel Aviv
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Madonna confirmed at last for Eurovision performance in Tel Aviv

After delays in contract talks and pressure from anti-Israel activists, pop diva confirmed for show during Saturday final of international song contest

Madonna poses for photographers upon arrival at the world premiere of the film 'The Beatles, Eight Days a Week,' in London, September 15, 2016. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Madonna poses for photographers upon arrival at the world premiere of the film 'The Beatles, Eight Days a Week,' in London, September 15, 2016. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

Madonna has signed a contract to perform at the Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv, ending uncertainty after repeated delays, and amid pressure from anti-Israel activists for her to boycott the event, Israeli public broadcaster Kan said Thursday.

“Now it’s official,” Kan, which is producing the event with the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), wrote on its website.

“After some tense days, a contract between Madonna and the Eurovision producers was signed today,” it said.

The 60-year-old pop diva said Tuesday she was determined to perform at the contest finals in Tel Aviv on Saturday.

Fans pack the concert hall for the first semifinal of Eurovision 2019, in Tel Aviv, May 14, 2019. (Andres Putting, Eurovision)

But the EBU had said the day before that the final contract for her participation had yet to be finalized.

Until Thursday Israeli media reported that there was still no contract and both the EBU and KAN refused to give any update.

Madonna’s producers said in April the star would perform at the contest in Tel Aviv, which was designated the host city after Israeli singer Netta Barzilai won in Portugal last year.

Her participation brought a flurry of protest from the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which has for years been pushing for investors and artists to shun Israel over its policies toward the Palestinians, among other critiques.

Illustrative: US pop singer Madonna performs during a concert in Tel Aviv September 1, 2009. (Amir Meiri/Flash90)

“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 carried by US media Tuesday.

She brings with her an entourage of 135 people, including the rapper KoVu, 40 backing singers, 25 dancers and a team of technicians, according to reports citing the Israeli-Canadian billionaire Sylvan Adams, said to be footing a large part of the bill for her performance.

Twenty-six out of an original 41 contestants will battle for first place in the three-and-a-half-hour live broadcast, which kicks off Saturday at 9 p.m. Israel time.

Madonna will perform in the interval.

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