According to The Times of Israel, Jon Ola Sand, Eurovision’s executive supervisor, ordered that Madonna be denied access to the venue because she had allegedly not yet signed a contract over broadcast rights for her massive ’80s hit “Like a Prayer,” which she is expected to perform.
Per the site, Sand also made the same order the day before, but reportedly relented and let the Grammy winner rehearse after she allegedly threatened to cancel her performance.
The European Broadcasting Union, who is behind the competition, also said on Monday that the singer had not yet signed her contract, according to ITV. Sand said at the time that the EBU had not confirmed Madonna as a performer, adding, “If we do not have a signed contract, she cannot perform on our stage.”
The Jerusalem Post reported on Thursday that she had finally put her signature on the required paperwork.
Prior to this contract hiccup, pro-Palestinian activists called for a boycott of the show at the Expo Tel Aviv, urging performers — including Madonna — as well as companies and governments to disengage from Israel, according to Reuters.
Madonna issued a statement to explain why she’d be going forward with the performance. “I’ll never stop playing music to suit someone’s political agenda, nor will I stop speaking out against the violations of human rights wherever in the world they may be,” the 60-year-old star told the news agency. “My heart breaks every time I hear about innocent lives that are lost in this region and the violence that is so often perpetuated to suit the political goals of people who benefit from this ancient conflict.”
She concluded: “I hope and pray that we will soon break free from this terrible cycle of destruction and create a new path to peace.”
In addition to “Like a Prayer,” Madonna is expected to perform a song from her upcoming album, Madame X, which is scheduled for a June 14 release, at the Eurovision Song Contest on Saturday. The competition features artists from more than 40 countries, and is widely popular around the world, with nearly 190 million viewers in 2018.