Politicians, commentators and marriage equality opponents have been losing their collective minds at the thought of American rapper Macklemore performing his pro-diversity song 'Same Love' at the NRL grand final this weekend, but if their goal was to stop the song being highlighted in Australia, they've failed spectacularly.
'Same Love', which was released in July 2012, is currently sitting at the top of the Australian iTunes charts.
Macklemore is set to perform the song -- with lyrics calling out "right-wing conservatives" and proudly claiming "I can't change, even if I tried, even if I wanted to" -- as part of his performance at the NRL Grand Final on Sunday. Opponents of marriage equality have seized on the game's entertainment as unfair, coming in the midst of Australia's postal survey on same-sex marriage. Former PM Tony Abbott said, "Footy fans shouldn't be subjected to a politicised grand final," while thousands have signed a petition to 'Take LGBTQ politics out of the NRL'.
A chorus of fellow gay marriage opponents from George Christensen to Peter Dutton have joined the protest over the rapper's performance, but on Friday, 'Same Love' was sitting pretty at #1 on the iTunes charts. It is now more than five years since the song's release, with its meteoric rise no doubt fuelled by the intense political and media discussion of the song.
Macklemore himself seemed pretty happy about it, after a week of being abused by -- as he put it himself, during an interview this week -- "angry, old white dudes".
Yesterday someone started a petition in Australia to ban me from playing Same Love at the #NRLGF. Today its #1 on iTunes. Love is winning ❤️— GEMINI (@macklemore) September 28, 2017
On Friday, Immigration Minister Dutton made the bizarre suggestion that the NRL should also pay a performer to sing a song "against gay marriage" in the interests of "free speech".
"The NRL might find in the next seasons people may want to promote social issues, this is an interesting precedent, what other social issues do they want to make in the years to come?" Dutton said from London, after making a speech to a British think tank.
"I am into free speech ... presumably two songs should be played, one for gay marriage and one against gay marriage."
Logistics aside of finding an equivalent anti-marriage equality song to be pitted against 'Same Love' -- which hit #1 on the ARIA charts and has certified sales figures of four times platinum -- organisations like the NRL are free to choose whichever performer or performances they wish, and it must be pointed out that the song will feature as part of a medley of songs to be performed by Macklemore, not merely on its own.
"In his only Australian appearance this October, Grammy Award winner and NRL fan favourite Macklemore will this year headline the NRL Telstra Premiership Grand Final Entertainment," the NRL said on its website.
"He will set the ultimate stage with an unforgettable performance of his chart-topping global hits accompanied by a spectacular lights and pyro show... His performance will include his chart topping hits; Glorious, Thrift Shop, Can't Hold Us and Down Town. Don't miss out!"
Macklemore was scheduled to hold a press conference on Friday at 1pm after touching down in Australia, but it was cancelled after flight delays.