Madonna performs at Eurovision flanked by 30 dancers dressed as monks
She warned the public ‘not underestimate the power of music to bring people together’.
Madonna has taken to the stage at the Eurovision Song Contest flanked by as many as 30 dancers dressed as monks.
The Queen of Pop appeared at the top of a flight of steps, dressed in a cape and hood and wearing a metal breastplate.
Brandishing a cross, she stepped slowly towards the crowd at the Expo Tel Aviv and sung her 1989 hit Like A Prayer to raucous applause.
As the song reached it climax, her dancers pulled their hoods aside to reveal gas masks adorned with flowers.
The 60-year-old star then performed new song Future, a collaboration with Migos rapper Quavo who appeared at her side.
Her highly-anticipated and controversial performance had drawn criticism from musicians and pro-Palestinian activists from the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign, who called on her to cancel the show.
But in a statement this week, Madonna said she wanted to use her performance to create “a new path toward peace” and would not be cowed by political pressure.
Earlier in the night she appeared in a pre-recorded message, warning the public “not underestimate the power of music to bring people together”.
She said: “You’re all winners, no matter what happens. The reason I mean that is because to get here, where you are right now, is not easy. Right?
“First you had a dream and then you had to believe in that dream, and you had to make many sacrifices. That makes you a winner no matter what.
“Another really obvious statement is, look at all the delegates behind us, everyone here is from all over the world. So many countries that I have been privileged not just to visit but to experience.
“And the one thing that brings me to those countries, and the thing that brings all these people here tonight, is music.
“So let’s not underestimate the power of music to bring people together. That’s the most important thing. Music makes the people come together.”
Madonna’s performance comes as the Like A Prayer singer returns following a four-year hiatus.
She is preparing to release Madame X, her 14th album, and earlier this month announced a world tour including a string of shows at the London Palladium.