The release of the song that will represent Cyprus in the 65th Eurovision Song Contest has sparked protests from the nation’s Orthodox Christian community.
The title of the song “El Diablo,” which translates from the original Spanish to “the devil” in English, is being taken literally by people in the country, who claim it is satanic, calling the song “an affront to Christianity.”
The Cypriot National Broadcaster (CyBC) which is responsible for Cyprus’ entry and participation in the annual music competition, has received an onslaught of complaints— even threats to burn down the television station, according to the Cyprus News Agency.
The song, performed by Greek singer Elena Tsagrinou, includes lyrics including “I fell in love… I gave my heart to El Diablo” and “I gave it up because he tells me I’m his angel,” calling the relationship spicy and hotter than sriracha, a hot sauce.
“This is scandalous to us Christians,” said Demetris P, who started a petition calling on the broadcaster to ditch the song. His petition had received more than 12,000 signatures, calling for the broadcaster to pull the song.
CyBC defended the song saying the critics had misinterpreted the lyrics and that the track was about people in toxic relationships. It was about “a girl who is in an exploitative relationship with a freeloader she calls El Diablo,” the broadcaster said in a statement, adding that the song was inspired by the “eternal struggle of good versus evil.”
Cyprus has participated in the Eurovision 36 times since 1981 but has never won. It came close in 2018, when Eleni Foureira’s “Fuego” finished in second place, losing to Israel.
This year, the Eurovision contest is set to be held this year in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, in May.
The controversy has definitely brought attention to Cyprus— and the song itself, which has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times on YouTube in the past twenty four hours since its release.
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