TEL AVIV—Iceland’s Eurovision Song Contest band Hatari raised Palestinian flags during their appearance on the final show at Tel Aviv Expo Saturday night, as the results of the televoting were announced.
Madonna’s performance during the show also featured the Palestinian flag on the back of one dancer’s attire, alongside the Israeli flag on the back of another dancer as the two walked off stage arm-in-arm.
“Let’s never underestimate the power of music to bring people together,” the pop legend said before taking to the stage.
The flag-wearing pair were the last two dancers to leave the stage at the end of the song, at which point Madonna and co-performer Quavo dramatically disappeared from the back of the stage with the message “Wake Up,” which also flashed on screen.
Madonna, who had been pressured to cancel her show by Israel boycotters, by contrast, made plain she was delighted to be performing, and the political dimension was evidently a call for harmony rather than a protest.
The European Broadcasting Union released a statement saying that the Israeli and Palestinian flags in Madonna’s performance were not approved.
“This part of the performance were not part of the rehearsals which had been approved by the EBU and the host broadcaster, Kan,” the union said, according to a Reuters reporter. “The Eurovision Song Contest is a non-political event and Madonna has been made aware of it,” the statement noted.
The Netherlands great winner of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest
A week of Eurovision festivities came to a close on Saturday night with the live broadcast of the grand finale of the song contest.
After all the votes – from the juries and the televoters – were counted, Duncan Laurence from The Netherlands was crowned the winner with the song ”Arcade”, beating out the 25 other finalists for the top prize. The Netherlands is expected to host the 2020 competition after winning for the first time in 44 years.
Kobi Marimi, who represented Israel with the song “Home” finished in 23rd place out of the 26 acts.
Among the jury votes, Israel received the highest number of points possible – 12 – from Belarus, and not a single point from any of the other 39 voting juries.
Just like the first semi-final on Tuesday night, Saturday’s huge show kicked off with Netta Barzilai, winner of the contestr last year, this time in the cockpit of a plane, with Eurovision executive supervisor Jon Ola Sand situated at ground control.
“Welcome to the grand final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019,” Barzilai proclaimed, kicking off a air travel-themed musical number welcoming each country to the show. The flashy opening act brought together a colorful mix of Israeli Eurovision performers; Israel’s 1998 winner, Dana International, returned with a musical mashup that included both Omer Adam’s “Tel Aviv” as well as her Eurovision-winning song Diva. Ilanit performed “Ey Sham,” the song she sang the very first time that Israel participated in the Eurovision in 1973. Nadav Guedj also showed up for a few bars of “Golden Boy,” his 2015 Eurovision song.