A view of Nicosia city skyline.
A view of Nicosia city skyline. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Nicosia: Cyprus was under pressure Friday to withdraw its Eurovision Song Contest entry, after an anonymous caller threatened to "burn down" national broadcaster CyBC and an association of religion teachers blasted the tune.

The song "El Diablo" (Spanish for "the devil"), performed by Greek singer Elena Tsagrinou, has faced criticism over its title and English lyrics since its release on Wednesday in the island nation, where many people are devoutly Orthodox Christian.

On Friday, state broadcaster CyBC alerted the police after someone called threatening to "burn the building down" in protest over the song, the Cyprus News Agency reported.

Police are said to be investigating the incident.

An association representing instructors of religious education in secondary schools 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".

The association questioned why CyBC had chosen a provocative song "of such low quality" instead of one that would promote the culture of Cyprus in Europe.

"Why is it so difficult to select artists from our island with morality and quality who can promote our culture and musical tradition in international music competitions," the statement said.

CyBC defended the song in its own statement, saying it had been misinterpreted by critics, and that it serves as inspiration for people in toxic relationships.

It is about "a girl who is in an exploitative relationship with a freeloader she calls El Diablo", the broadcaster said, adding that the song was inspired by the "eternal struggle of good versus evil".

Cyprus is usually an also-ran in the Eurovision contest, set to be held this year in the Netherlands in May. The small Mediterranean country's best finish was in 2018, when it won second place with Eleni Foureira's "Fuego".