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The Devil Went Down to Cyprus: Ire over Eurovision Song Pick

Αssociated Press

(AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

A dance mix by Greek singer Elena Tsagrinou called El Diablo has upset some Christians on Cyprus as the country’s selection for the pop-art Eurovision contest, who complained over its references to the devil.

Like Greece, the island is heavily Orthodox and the faithful there aren’t happy with the song although it wasn’t said why a Cypriot singer wasn’t selected to represent the country.

Lyrics such as “I fell in love .. I gave my heart to El Diablo” and “I gave it up because he tells me I’m his angel,” were singled out by critics as inappropriate, saying they were too hot and provocative, said the news agency Reuters.

A video with the song shows Tsagrinou dancing on an exercise mat, then dancing with individuals lunging at her, presumably little demons.

“This is scandalous to us Christians,” petition starter Demetris P wrote on a popular petition site in Cyprus, demanding the song be withdrawn, some 2,500 signatures quickly garnered.

One political party, the nationalist far-right ELAM, said the song “sent wrong messages” although not to whom, the report said, adding that even religion teachers jumped into the fray.

“If the only thing we are angling for is the top place, we shouldn’t participate at all if we are representing ourselves with every and any diabolic sub-culture,” their union said in criticism.

Cyprus’ national broadcaster and Eurovision contestant, the CyBC, made the pick and stood by it, saying the song told the story of the battle between good and evil and a woman suffering from Stockholm Syndrome, a hostage identifying with a terrorist captor, also featuring the singer half-nude under some kind of shrink wrap.

The German state news agency and broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW) said an anonymous aller threatened to "burn down" national broadcaster CyBC, which notified the police, the Cyprus News Agency also reported.

The person who called CyBC later apologized for making the threat, the Greek-language Cypriot newspaper Politis also said.

"I was in a state of shock and angry with the lyrics of the song that will represent Cyprus at Eurovision," he said without being identified. "The reference to Satan made me feel angry, and so I reacted with a boiling soul and said something for which I apologize."

He said while he still disagreed with the song, "but I do not believe in violent reactions and reassure my fellow citizens that I will not carry out my threats."

An association of religious teachers urged the song be withdrawn from the congest, saying it expressed "abhorrence," questioning why a song "of such low quality" chosen rather than one that promotes the culture of Cyprus in Europe.