Madonna to perform at Eurovision in Tel Aviv for million-dollar fee

American pop star Madonna will perform at the Eurovision final in Tel Aviv next month, her public relations firm has confirmed.

The 60-year-old is expected to sing two songs during the competition, which will also feature musical acts from more than 40 countries.

Israel was chosen to host the event after local singer Netta Barzilai won the 2018 contest in Portugal with the song "Toy."

Canadian-Israeli businessman Sylvan Adams, who reportedly extended the invitation to Madonna, will also cover her estimated $1.5-million (€1.3 million) fee for the show.

Read more: Israeli pop queen Netta says Eurovision about music, not politics

Controversial venue

It's tradition for the winning country to host the following year's Eurovision, but the Israeli venue has proven controversial, with pro-Palestinian activists calling for performers to boycott the event.

In January, around 50 British celebrities, including Peter Gabriel, Roger Walters and Julie Christie, signed a letter urging the BBC to cancel coverage of the 2019 contest.

"Eurovision may be light entertainment, but it is not exempt from human rights considerations — and we cannot ignore Israel's systematic violation of Palestinian human rights," the letter said.

It followed a boycott appeal earlier this year from more than 60 LGBTQ organizations from nearly 20 countries, who accused Israel of using Eurovision "to distract attention from its war crimes against Palestinians."

In recent years, artists like Nick Cave and Radiohead have been criticized for performing in Israel, while others such as New Zealand songstress Lorde have canceled concerts there following intense public pressure.

Read more: Madonna at 60: From college dropout to the Queen of Pop

Madonna, who is a follower of a mystical form of Judaism called Kabbalah, took her world tours to Israel in 2009 and 2012. When she takes to the stage for Eurovision, she'll be flanked by dozens of dancers as she performs one of her classic hits and one new song from her upcoming album.

Eurovision's semi-finals take place on May 14 and 16, with the finals on May 18.

nm/jm (Reuters, dpa)

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