Madonna — surprise! — stirs controversy with Eurovision Song Contest performance

Michael Campanella/Getty ImagesAs recently as last Thursday, it reportedly wasn’t even a certainty that Madonna would perform at the Eurovision Song Contest.  But Sunday’s annual competition, held this year in Tel Aviv, Israel, did indeed feature a performance by Madonna — one that included a highlight that’s drawing decidedly mixed reviews.

At issue: when Madonna and rapper Quavo of Migos performed their latest single, “Future,” a series of dancers walked in pairs up a large staircase, while Madonna and Quavo performed at its summit.  The final pair of ascending dancers had the Israeli and Palestinian flags displayed on their backs.

Mideast politics being what it is, that act alone was enough to ignite the predictable partisan backlash.  But contest organizers, including the European Broadcast Union, took issue because the event — which features singers and musical artists representing different countries — is supposed to be non-political, and organizers didn’t sanction display of the flags.

For her part, Madonna defended her action after the fact, posting on her socials, “Madame X is a freedom fighter…………….I am grateful. For the opportunity to spread the message of peace and unity with the world.”

Iceland’s entry also drew the disapproval of organizers for displaying the Palestinian flag while votes were being tallied.

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