Iceland's Hatari holds up Palestinian flag during Eurovision contest

Madonna also brings up politics

By Rob Picheta, CNN
Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images via CNN

Iceland's Hatari performs the song "Hatrið mun sigra" during the first Eurovision semi-final at Expo Tel Aviv on May 14, 2019.

Iceland's hair-raising heavy metal Eurovision act Hatari raised Palestinian flags during their appearance on the show, which had been steeped in controversy over its host country of Israel.

The band's on-stage performance had been hotly anticipated, and their aggressive showing predictably disrupted the otherwise kitsch edition of the singing competition.

But the political elements of this year's show hovered over proceedings, and the group's members nodded to the controversy by holding up Palestinian flags as results 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.

Pink Floyd's Roger Waters, electronic music pioneer Brian Eno, and movie directors Ken Loach and Mike Leigh were among the British celebrities who had earlier called for a boycott of Eurovision this year.

And some protests continued in host city Tel Aviv in the lead-up to the show.

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