JERUSALEM — Eurovision Song Contest organizers said on Sunday they were taken aback by the display of a Palestinian flag during Madonna’s guest appearance, which defied contest rules.

While Madonna performed her new single at the contest, hosted in Tel Aviv, two of her dancers onstage flashed Israeli and Palestinian flags pinned on their backs.

The European Broadcast Union, or EBU, said that Madonna had not cleared that part of the act with broadcasters and “was advised as to the non-political nature of the event.”

Madonna later defended the stunt on Twitter, sharing a clip of the dancers and writing, “I am grateful for the opportunity to spread the message of peace and unity with the world.”

Yet most reactions to Madonna’s performance had nothing to do with her political gesture. Many panned her for singing off key.

Canadian-Israeli billionaire Sylvan Adams paid over $1 million to bring Madonna in for the event.

EBU also said it is considering “consequences” for Iceland’s performers, who whipped out a Palestinian flag during the vote tally.

The Netherlands won the contest with Duncan Laurence’s doleful piano ballad “Arcade” crowned champion of Europe’s annual music extravaganza.

The 25-year-old was tapped as an early front-runner before the Grand Final but was only ranked third after the vote of professional juries from the 41 participating countries, trailing Sweden and North Macedonia.

He surged ahead thanks to the fan vote, securing The Netherlands its fifth win ever in the competition. Italy finished second, followed by Russia, Switzerland and Norway.

 

 


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