The organisers of the Eurovision Song Contest have ended months of speculation by confirming next year’s competition will be held in Tel Aviv.
The Israeli government initially insisted on holding the popular event in Jerusalem. Now it appears to have softened its position following the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as its capital and a threat of boycotts if it followed through.
The Tel Aviv confirmation is a slap down for former Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters who had demanded performing artists from around the world boycott next year’s event because it will be in Israel.
Eurovision confirmed the date on Twitter:
The Host City for the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 is…
Tel Aviv, Israel
Semi-final 1 – 14 May
Semi-final 2 – 16 May
Grand Final – 18 May
— Eurovision (@Eurovision) September 13, 2018
Eurovision says it chose Tel Aviv, Israel’s cultural and commercial capital, because of its “creative and compelling bid.”
Israel won the Eurovision this year with a flashy pop tune called “Toy” by the charismatic, previously unknown singer Netta Barzilai, who dazzled viewers with her feminist lyrics, unconventional appearance and signature chicken dance.
Her winning song’s lyrics emphasize themes of women’s empowerment, and included a reference to Wonder Woman, who is famously portrayed onscreen by Israeli actress Gal Gadot.
It was Israel’s fourth win overall and the first since 1998, when the transvestite singer Dana International won with “Diva.”
At least 17 countries have already confirmed their participation in Eurovision 2019 – including the Muslim-majority Azerbaijan. Others include Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Cyprus, Malta, Germany, Serbia, Latvia, Lithuania, France, Switzerland, Belgium, The Netherlands, Czech Republic, Estonia and Slovenia.
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