Madonna sparks controversy at 'non-political' Eurovision with her flag display

Cydney Henderson

Madonna made a statement at the 2019 Eurovision song contest finals in Tel Aviv.

The Queen of Pop, 60, got political during her highly anticipated performance at the annual European competition Saturday, which was held in Israel after the country won last year's contest. 

Despite calls to boycott the event over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Madonna performed her 1989 hit "Like A Prayer" in a black eye patch and tiara. She also sang her new single "Future," with Migos rapper Quavo.

The duo performed in front of a black screen that displayed the words, "WAKE UP." The set also featured two dancers walking arm in arm, wearing the flags of Israel and the Palestinians on their backs.

TEL AVIV, ISRAEL - MAY 18: Madonna, performs live on stage after the 64th annual Eurovision Song Contest held at Tel Aviv Fairgrounds on May 18, 2019 in Tel Aviv, Israel. (Photo by Michael Campanella/Getty Images) ORG XMIT: 775335686 ORIG FILE ID: 1150151553

"Madame X is a freedom fighter … I am grateful," Madonna captioned a clip of the performance on Instagram. "For the opportunity to spread the message of peace and unity with the world."

'Madame X': Madonna teases new album and mysterious alter ego

The European Broadcasting Union, which co-produced the singing competition, denounced Madonna's political statement, adding that it was not approved. 

"The Eurovision Song Contest is a non-political event and Madonna had been made aware of this," the EBU said a statement to USA TODAY.

This handout photo released by KAN shows two of Madonna's dancers (foreground) side-by-side with Israeli and Palestinian flags on their backs during her performance in an apparent call for unity. Madonna and US rapper Quavo performed during a guest appearance at the 64th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 at Expo Tel Aviv on May 19, 2019, in the Israeli coastal city of Tel Aviv.

Madonna faced calls from a Palestinian-led campaign to avoid performing at the event in Israel. But the pop star rejected that motion, saying she will "never stop playing music to suit someone’s political agenda."

The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) responded, calling her performance "immoral" on Twitter earlier this week.

"Dear Madonna, Artwashing Israel’s brutal oppression of Palestinians for a million dollars must be among the most immoral political agendas," the organization tweeted.

Ahead of her performance at Eurovision, Madonna told the audience, "Let’s never underestimate the power of music to bring people together."

Madonna’s 14th studio album, "Madame X," is expected out next month. It will feature singles "Future" and "Medellín," a bilingual collaboration with Colombian singer Maluma.

Contributing: The Associated Press

More: Madonna gets sexy on new single 'Medellin' with Maluma

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Madonna sparks controversy at 'non-political' Eurovision with her flag display