After losing Eurosong 2023 by just one point, The Starlings’ Tom Dice – who also represented the country as a solo artist in 2010 – took to Instagram to share his frustrations with the jury members.
It was a very exciting evening in Brussels’ Palais 12. Gustaph brought home the victory in what some considered a surprise — and others a stunt. But the addictive anthem “Because of You” stood strong and the Belgians in the audience celebrated as their new Eurovision star was crowned and given the ticket to Liverpool in May.
His success was another’s tragedy, most especially for the Flemish duo The Starlings. Although they won the televote, the couple did not persuade the judges with their “Rollercoaster.” They ended up losing the contest by just one point.
In a post on Instagram on the day after the final of Eurosong 2023, Tom Dice shared his frustration with the jury. He wrote:
“Thank you so much for upvoting us that massively. 1 in 4 people voted for “Rollercoaster” yesterday and that’s madness.
(A part of) the 15-member jury had a different idea. We are very disappointed as a result. They barely spoke about our performance, voices and music.
It felt like a lack of respect for the work that has been spent on this. We are asking ourselves many questions. If we ever receive an honest answer from those people, is something I doubt. It doesn’t feel right.”
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Additionally, the singer told VRT NWS:
“I have to be cautious with what I say, but… The public loves us. But the people in the jury… Clearly less. And those are the people from the industry. Which was our main reason to compete for Eurovision. Because there, it’s only about music. We don’t have the feeling that it was like that tonight [at Eurosong].”
The Starlings and Pat Krimson unhappy with panel feedback
The Starlings received feedback from panel members Alexander Rybak and Laura Tesoro during the broadcast. Rybak compared the song to the music of Ed Sheeran and went as far as exclaiming: “Some composers borrow, but the best composers, they steal!”
However, at the same time, many journalists on site and fans have noted that “Rollercoaster” might not have been The Starlings’ best shot at Eurosong. Their other track – “Oceanside” – was tipped to be a favourite. However, even the Songclub’s advice could not stop the duo from choosing their more personal “Rollercoaster” as their Eurovision bid.
The Starlings were not the only ones to complain about the panel discussion. Pat Krimson – Loredana’s fiancé and a well-known producer in Flanders – also spoke to Het Laatste Nieuws about the jury. He said:
“We worked very hard on it. Of course, the disappointment is large. We had maybe hoped but never expected to win. I had expected some more respect from the jury. If I see how Loredana sang and how well the act was staged, I think it’s really unfair. It hit hard.”
What do you think? Did the jury make fair points regarding their songs? Or do you think that some contestants are being too dramatic? Let us know in the comments down below!