Eurovision kicks off tonight in the ‘Non-Stop City’ of Tel Aviv
Eurovision, the world’s most famous song contest now in its 64th year, begins tonight as 17 international acts take to the stage for the first live semi-final in the “Non-stop City” of Tel Aviv in Israel.
Israel is hosting the Eurovision contest after local singer Netta Barzilai won last year. The winning country customarily hosts the following year.
Eurovision hosts Bar Refaeli, Erez Tal, Assi Azar, and Lucy Ayoub will help judges and viewers to whittle the 41 participating countries down to one single winner in just a matter of days.
The first of two semi-finals at the Expo Tel Aviv venue will determine which 10 countries appear in the 26-strong grand final on Saturday.
The public vote will make up 50% of the total vote, with the other half determined by a professional jury in each participating country. All countries taking part in the semi-finals can vote along with France, Spain and host country Israel. Fans can vote over the phone, by text or via the Eurovision app, available on iOS, Android and Windows devices.
Pop superstar Madonna will make a guest appearance on Saturday during the Eurovision finals.
Addressing Israel-haters for the first time, Madonna said: “I’ll never stop playing music to suit someone’s political agenda nor will I stop speaking out against violations of human rights wherever in the world they may be”.
Security has been tight in Tel Aviv amid fears that Muslim terrorists may seek to attack the event.
The US Embassy in Israel is advising US citizens ahead of the anniversary of the US embassy in Jerusalem, as well as violent Muslim riots related to the Nakba Day across Israel and the Eurovision song contest in Tel Aviv (May 14-18).
Thousands of soldiers reinforced the IDF troops in Israeli towns near the Gaza border, Jerusalem and Judea-Samaria as Hamas, Fatah, and other terror groups and Arab factions call for violent riots, malicious anti-Israel protests, and terror attacks.
The IDF reportedly deployed additional Iron Dome missile defense systems in central Israel, southern Israel, and other areas.