Eurovision: Why Cyprus’s entry ‘El Diablo’ has caused religious controversy

·1-min read
Elena Tsagrinou’s “El Diablo”, which has been accused of glorifying Satan (Panik Records)
Elena Tsagrinou’s “El Diablo”, which has been accused of glorifying Satan (Panik Records)

The Cypriot entry for this year’s Eurovision Song Contest has been accused of glorifying Satanism.

Elena Tsagrinou’s “El Diablo” will represent Cyprus at the annual event, which will be held on 18 May, but has faced a backlash from Christian groups in the country.

The track finds Tsagrinou singing about falling in love with a villainous man who she compares to Satan.

“I gave my heart to el diablo,” she sings. “Because he tells me I’m his angel.”

The Orthodox Church of Cyprus led protests against the song, and attempted to convince television bosses in the country to withdraw the track from Eurovision.

In a statement, the church’s highest decision-making body claimed that the track “praises the fatalistic submission of humans to the devil’s authority”. They also claim that it “promotes his worship”.

Andreas Frangos, the chairman of Cypriot television channel CyBC, defended the song and said that it will not be withdrawn from the competition.

CyBC have described the track as reflecting “an age-old battle between good and evil”, and specifically a woman trapped in an abusive relationship with a man. They denied that it encouraged devil worship.

Singer-songwriter James Newman will represent the UK at the 18 May event. He had previously been announced as the UK’s representative for 2020’s Eurovision Song Contest, which was cancelled due to the pandemic.

Eurovision rules stipulate that Newman cannot sing the track he was due to perform in 2020, so he will perform a new song at this year’s event, one that he wrote during lockdown.

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