Cyprus was under pressure Friday to withdraw its Eurovision Song Contest entry after an anonymous caller threatened to ‘burn down’ national broadcaster CyBC while theologians blasted the tune ‘blasphemous’.
The song ‘El Diablo’ (Spanish for the devil), performed by Greek singer Elena Tsagrinou, has faced criticism over its title and English lyrics since aired in a devoutly Christian Orthodox country.
According to the Cyprus News Agency on Friday, state broadcaster CyBC alerted the police after someone called threatening to “burn the building down” in protest against the song.
Police are said to be investigating the incident.
A secondary school teachers union representing theologians issued a statement Friday urging CyBC to ditch the song.
It expressed “abhorrence” over the song’s lyrics, arguing the singer “praises Satan, dedicates her life to him and loves him”.
Theologians, in their announcement, wondered why CyBC had chosen a song that provokes religious feelings when it should promote the culture of Cyprus in Europe.
They questioned the criteria used to “select songs of such low quality”.
“Why is it so difficult to select artists from our island with ethos and quality, who can promote our culture and musical tradition in international music competitions,” said their statement.
Due to the criticism, CyBC had to defend the song, saying it is about “a girl who is in an exploitive relationship with a freeloader she calls El Diablo”.
CyBC said the song was inspired by the “eternal struggle of good versus evil”.
“It tells the story of a problematic relationship where the victim is suffering from Stockholm Syndrome.”
“In the end, the truth always shines, where she seeks help to get out and break her shackles on a path to freedom,” said CyBC in a statement.
It said the song is misinterpreted as it serves as an inspiration for people in a toxic relationship.
Cyprus is usually an also-ran in the Eurovision; its best finish was second place with Eleni Foureira’s ‘Fuego’ in 2018.