Madonna banned from performing 'religiously sensitive' song 'Holy Water' in Singapore

The show has also been give an adults-only rating, as defined by the Media Development Authority

Clarisse Loughrey
Friday 19 February 2016 16:56 GMT

Madonna and religious controversy are familiar bedfellows. Back in 1989, the singer roused controversy for her hit track, 'Like a Prayer'; particularly in the video's depictions of stigmata, burning crosses, and sexualised saints. Pepsi pulled their contract with the singer, and Italian broadcasters refused to air the video.

And she's certainly yet to lose her edge there; with reports that she's been banned from performing the track 'Holy Water', taken from last year's album Rebel Heart, at her live show at Singapore's National Stadium on 28 February. The show has also been labelled with an R18 rating, meaning only adult fans of the musician will be allowed to attend the concert.

A spokesperson for the Media Development Authority stated (via The Straits Times); "In determining the rating, MDA had carefully reviewed the proposed setlist and consulted the Arts Consultative Panel. Religiously sensitive content which breached our guidelines, such as the song 'Holy Water', will thus not be performed in Singapore."

"The concert organiser must comply with the terms of the licence, which states that the concert should not contain content or materials which offend any race or religion, and that the performance overall must fall within the guidelines of the R18 rating."

The segment in question saw a melody of both 'Holy Water' and the 1990 classic 'Vogue', accompanied by scantily-dressed nuns dancing on cross-shaped stripper poles. Organisers Live Nation Lushington have acknowledged the segment's "sexually explicit" content, stating; "Minor adjustments were made to ensure R18 licencing conditions could be met without compromise to the delivery of a first-rate and world-class performance."

However, their statement also concludes that Madonna has final say on the matter; "The final running order and set list for the Singapore performance will be determined by the artiste and revealed at the show itself within the set guidelines."

This is not the first time Madonna's shows have come under the criticism of Singapore's authorities. Her 1993 Girlie Show World Tour was banned when police stated her performances, "border on the obscene... (and are) known to be objectionable to many on moral and religious grounds".

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