Picture: VRT NWS

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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Een bericht gedeeld door Tom Dice (@tomdiceofficial)

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!

 
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brunowskii
brunowskii
12 days ago

Oceanside could have been by far the winner. Bad choice rollercoaster down. Congrats Gustaph… deserved victory

Jag
Jag
16 days ago

Bad losers. So sad to see mature people act like that. They will regret it tommorow when they cool down but it’s too late.  

Jeroen
Jeroen
16 days ago

They said Rollercoaster fits and describes them the best

Jeroen
Jeroen
16 days ago

Lack of respect? How can you say those words when you performed I see fire with different lyrics and calling it an original song.

The jury actually did Belgium a favour by downranking them just enough, close call though

Milan
Milan
16 days ago

Am I wrong or is he basically saying: “How could they not like me best”?

Ramones
Ramones
17 days ago

Preach!

noqueen
noqueen
17 days ago

Girl bye! Fuera!

Purple Mask
Purple Mask
17 days ago

So, it reads like the jury wasn’t willing to roll the dice on borrowed music. Is that the case? N.B. There’s a bad pun there, oh dear.

Jofty
Jofty
16 days ago
Reply to  Purple Mask

Snakes not ladders, the die was cast

Kalla
Kalla
17 days ago

Even if they had won, this would have been disqualified at some point and they would potentially be dealing with a plagorism court case, so Tom, the jury really did you a favour.

Briekimchi
Briekimchi
17 days ago

It wasn’t a good song, mate. The juries got it pretty right and the televoters went for you because they knew who you were.
Coming 2nd overall when you deserved less isn’t really something to complain about.

James
James
17 days ago
Reply to  Briekimchi

Just an erratum: It’s “jurors” in English. Together, they form one jury, which in plural form becomes “juries”. =)

esc
esc
17 days ago

Another sore loser mentality from a selection it seems. As much as 5th out of 7th might’ve seemed harsh, firstly, someone had to be 5th, like they had to rank all the contestants, you dont hear hunter or loredana giving out about their positions. Like some other commenters mentioned, I think jurors got their ranks pretty spot on. I might’ve had the starlings a bit higher up but at the end of the day, people have opinions, jurors get a lot of shtick for their choices because unlike the televote, they’ve their faces and names made known so its easier… Read more »

Tommm
Tommm
17 days ago

People always say:
“Tom, this has gone too far”
But I’m not afraid to chase my dreams
Just me and my guitar

Daniel Garza
Daniel Garza
17 days ago

Personally I think the juries ranking was 100% correct, the televoting is what i thought was awful, but I also heard about the complaints of people having a difficult time voting but for gustaphs it went right through, sounds sketchy but nothing we can do now

Johnny
Johnny
17 days ago

How is it possible that non-music professionals such as NikkiTutorials sit in music competition jury!?
Bizarre and not profesional!

Colin
Colin
17 days ago
Reply to  Johnny

She’s a professional regarding styling and presentation. Things that perhaps shouldn’t be vital when picking an ESC entry, but can still make a difference regardless of whether they are supposed to or not. An input can be good.

Berendina
Berendina
17 days ago

Yes he did! He and Kato actually are really supportive towards him and they said really kind and nice things about Gustaph, that he is sweet, friendly, etc.

Jonas
Jonas
17 days ago

Monday 16, which should be midnight. Robin, the most likely winner.

Colin
Colin
17 days ago
Reply to  Jonas

Based on… hype? name? snippet? hunch? 🙂

Jonas
Jonas
17 days ago
Reply to  Colin

He seems to be the most well-known, with a readymade fanbase of voters. Like The Rasmus last year. I could be wrong.

Colin
Colin
17 days ago
Reply to  Jonas

Oh, thanks. I’m certainly interested in his entry (as well as other UMK entries, as that selection didn’t have a truly bad song in a few years).

BadWoolfGirl
BadWoolfGirl
17 days ago
Reply to  Colin

It’s out now. Take a listen.

Jonas
Jonas
17 days ago

Yes. He did. He’s not that bad.

Jonas
Jonas
17 days ago
Reply to  Jonas

He even smiled as the results were read, then went over for a hug!

Flame Wolf
Flame Wolf
17 days ago

By how many poits it is OK to lose?

Colin
Colin
17 days ago

I agree. Besides, Alexander DID give him his reasons – He said that the song isn’t very original, and that it has an instrumental which is very reminiscent of another song. And franky, I agree. Each year we get about 20 accusations of plagiarism, most of which are just plain nonsense, as people don’t know what genres are, or even if there’s a case of a 3-second sampling of a public domain sound, it’s fine. This is different. Hearing both songs back to back, yeah, they are eerily similar in both melody and instrumentation. So similar that the question would… Read more »

Colin
Colin
17 days ago
Reply to  Colin

The principal difference between the two being that the chorus is much more impactful in I See Fire, as well as that it has significantly more layered lyrics.

Jonas
Jonas
17 days ago
Reply to  Colin

I don’t want to blame Laurell Barker for everything, but she had the same problem with El Diablo and a Lady Gaga song. I understand she is just one of many songwriters involved, but she is the thing in common here.

Colin
Colin
17 days ago
Reply to  Jonas

An unpopular opinion is that I actually love several of Barker’s entries, and don’t find her any less talented than the majority of recurring songwriters. However, as with all of them, she’s had her duds, and this might be one of them (or at least, a song so average that it leaves no trace). But, as you said, she’s frequently one of the collaborating songwriters, so we actually have no idea of her full credit as an author of each of them. As for El Diablo, to my ears it sounds like the aforementioned case of similar, but not the… Read more »

Jonas
Jonas
17 days ago
Reply to  Colin

I sometimes wonder is it subconscious, or actually a deliberate attempt to regurgitate something else that’s popular. It might not even make any difference until after the contest is over, like when Jack White became a Eurovision winner months after Lisbon 2018.

Colin
Colin
17 days ago
Reply to  Jonas

That’s a very good example. Sure, our brains can be bombarded with popular music that enters our subconsciousness, and it can manifest when we create something of our own later on. I mean, everyone is inspired by something, to a degree. We have examples that are clearly heavily inspired, but at least somewhat tweaked and changed. Then we have cases like Maxim Zavidia’s I Won’t Surrender (the most blatant copy of a certain Disney song that doesn’t even try to change any chord from the intro). So, it varies. 🙂

Jofty
Jofty
17 days ago
Reply to  Jonas

Fuego/She Got Me

Jonas
Jonas
17 days ago
Reply to  Colin

You can! It’s on YouTube, search Live Eurosong 2023.

Jonas
Jonas
17 days ago
Reply to  Jonas

I tried to put one up, but it went into the moderation system. Go back to last night’s article and use the one William put up in the comments.

Jeroen
Jeroen
16 days ago
Reply to  Colin

Absolutely, its plagiarism, I do wonder when it would be enough plagiarism for the EBU to step in, I’m just thinking about Cyprus 2017 for an example, apparently that wasn’t clear enough for them, would it have been if rollercoaster was selected as Belgiums entry?

Zisk
Zisk
17 days ago

That’s fine for him to say. I say that he should also talk about the publics lack of respect to other artist to just pick the most popular and famous name regardless of the song.

Polegend Godnova
17 days ago

i don’t think there was any lack of respect there. judges aren’t there to praise you no matter what, they’re there to give constructive criticism. and alexander rybak said that tom’s duo badly needed an identity very nicely.

Ramones
Ramones
17 days ago

I agree – I think Tom and Kato wrote this song specifically to perform in Liverpool – hence they rejected the Songclub’s advice to pick Oceanside (also my preferred song for them by the way – and did not expect to not win. I felt the public vote overrated them but they had their sob story which resonated with a lot of people, which is understandable, but does not mean your song is better than it is, which it isn’t

Jamie
Jamie
17 days ago

Jury made the right decisions this time. It’s interesting how he comes for the jury and not the viewers, because he knows that will burn him. Another sore loser.

Devito
17 days ago

Every year, there are filler songs, and that’s totally fine. I mean, we cannot have 37 songs in the grand final, so it’s fine; let it go. I believe the Czech entry will be the fourth confirmed song, which the Czechs will decide on 30 January. Unless some shocking internal releases happen in the meantime. Let’s hope the Czech Republic chooses the season’s first top-tier song! 

Jonas
Jonas
17 days ago
Reply to  Devito

To be fair, they did follow his 2018 two-step advice from 2018. They believed in it and sang it all day long, followed by rolling with it. Maybe they just didn’t shout “shab-a-dab-a-hey-hey” enough, but I think they should sue.

Jonas
Jonas
17 days ago
Reply to  Jonas

Oh, dear, I’ve typed under the wrong comment and put 2018 twice. FAIL.

BadWoolfGirl
BadWoolfGirl
17 days ago
Reply to  Devito

I wonder when the czech songs are released but I hope there’s something good to choose from. You’re right, not every song that goes to eurovision is going to be a great song because somebody has to stay behind in the semi finals. You just hope it’s not your country.

Polegend Godnova
17 days ago
Reply to  Devito

oh dear, i badly need the czech republic to do extremely well! eurovision never managed to build itself a following there, partly because they entered super late (2007) and partly because they only really found success in 2018, so i need their broadcaster to believe in their esc future.

Thallo
Thallo
17 days ago

The Starlings are sore losers, and nobody likes a sore loser!

Rollercoaster was the most basic and boring act of the night. Visually, it was also the most boring as the other songs were staged wonderfully. If The Starlings had an amazing song I would support their statement, but Rollercoaster is hilariously bad so it’s quite comical to see them complain. I agree with Rybak, their song is a complete copy of Ed Sheeran’s I See Fire.

Stephane
Stephane
17 days ago

Although the Starlings’ song was very nice, it sounded too much like a nice ballad from Ireland. And I felt the duo didn’t connect with the audience, they were too much into looking in each other’s eyes. Tbh I felt it was a strong final, all the songs were enjoyable.

Zach
Zach
17 days ago

side note: i would not exactly describe gustaph’s song as “an addicting anthem” lmao

Devero
Devero
17 days ago

Had they chosen Oceanside, they would have won 100%

Idksmth
Idksmth
17 days ago

If Pat Krimson is the producer of Lordeana’s song and is called “well-known”, then that makes me question a lot of thing. No shade to anyone, but you have to be willing to accept the results if you know what voting system would be used to choose the representative and there was no cheating or any manipulations to the results. That’s sore loser behavior not gonna lie. The Starlings clearly chose a more personal song for the final, but if their aim was to win, then clearly they have been living under a rock. I mean I’d wish to see… Read more »

Esc addict
Esc addict
17 days ago

I don’t like this attitude, and we are fed up now with the dramas each time after a National Final, we are so used of that and it’s tiring, but it’s laughable to see some people here saying he is a sore loser and that he can’t accept the results when YOU are exactly the same seeing the disgusting comments in the article about Gustaph’s victory and under his esc you tube vid..double standard again… then you have the right to complain like crazy and to cry over the results but you criticize another guy who does exactly the same… Read more »

Jonas
Jonas
17 days ago

Laurell Barker was just one point away from representing her sixth country.

Xxx
Xxx
17 days ago

Sore… what?!

Jonas
Jonas
17 days ago

I don’t know, but one had four songwriters and the other seven. Including Laurel Barker. Less people to disappoint.

Jofty
Jofty
17 days ago
Reply to  Jonas

Barker sure must make a lot of tea

Colin
Colin
17 days ago

I am a huge fan of Tom’s amazing Me and My Guitar (in my top 5 in 2010), but Rollercoaster just ain’t it. It’s a pleasant background song somewhat elevated by him and Kato having chemistry on stage. I hope he understands that a part of this quarter of votes were by hardcore fans who wanted to see him and Kato on ESC regardless of the song. As said, Oceanside is a lot better. If Tom and his wife find Rollercoaster more dear to their hearts, that’s fine, but if they were even somewhat browing You Tube lists when the… Read more »

Mbappe
Mbappe
17 days ago

The juries did what they had to do, they knew that Starlings would win the televote just based on their name so they rightfully marked Rollercoaster down, but what they didn’t realize is that Gustaph would be a threat, they were way too generous to Gustaph and the result is a mediocre/forgettable entry that no one really cares about and a wasted year for Belgium at the contest, such wasted potential…

Jonas
Jonas
17 days ago

I’m sorry, Tom, but every act worked hard. You did not deserve to win. It was the public who was wrong, not the jury. The song is just not very good. I’m sorry, the truth hurts, but you have not been cheated in any way.

Jofty
Jofty
17 days ago
Reply to  Jonas

I think I will pay this jury to fly into Ireland in February. See Lydon faceoff to Rybak’s critique.

Jofty
Jofty
17 days ago
Reply to  Jonas

I don’t have a problem with Gustaph, but I can foresee “the public” being responsible for many tears in this year’s semi-finals. On the level for example on a Fade To Black zero points.

Marcin
Marcin
17 days ago

I like Tom for his entry back in 2010 and consider it one of the best that year. Rollercoaster unfortunately is not even half the song that was me and my guitar, and that’s why it was rated so poorly among the judges. He can only blame himself for choosing such a bland song this year.

Sol Stevia
Sol Stevia
17 days ago

Maybe they would have voted for you if your song wasn’t trash. Ever consider that Mr. Dice who isn’t very nice?

Glenn
Glenn
17 days ago

VRT needs to stop with their old concept of having the act judged by “professionals”. It’s not a talent show and it will scare off established artists.
Alexander Rybak especially had VERY strange and inappropriate comments.

Karl
Karl
17 days ago
Reply to  Glenn

I’m glad they had the judges and I appreciate their critiques of the songs. If you’re too insecure about your song to be judged, then don’t enter the contest.

Jeroen
Jeroen
16 days ago
Reply to  Glenn

Alexander Rybak said what no-one else dared to say: the song is stolen

Jofty
Jofty
16 days ago
Reply to  Jeroen

I hope he is free for Melodifestivalen

BlueZone
BlueZone
17 days ago

1. As mentioned in the article, if they had chosen “Oceanside”, whih was considered stronger, then who knows.
2. The jury are there for a reason. They are there to give their honest thoughts – positive and negative – on the acts of adults, not to pander to a bunch of toddlers. Now, granted, I don’t know what was said, but if people can’t take a bit of constructive criticism without feeling bruised and broken, then, well . . .

Yep
Yep
17 days ago

“Rollercoaster” sounded like a knock off from Ed Sheeran, so why is he upset about people saying it? It wouldn’t be much of a panel if they’d just smile and say it’s all good to everyone.

EProduc
EProduc
17 days ago
Reply to  Yep

Yeah I guess that’s the part that seasoned artists or artists that have been to Eurovision before have the most trouble with: being judged.. In the end it’s still a competition and I thought it was a fair critique.

EProduc
EProduc
17 days ago

And about The Starlings.. well the judges, who are musical experts, were aware that it’s very similar to I See Fire and I guess that was holding them back. Maybe try to be more original next time or choose your better song (Oceanside). They had the public on their side because they’re the most well known in Flanders, but with Oceanside they could’ve won the jury vote too.

Karl
Karl
17 days ago

What a sore loser. He can’t accept he lost.

EProduc
EProduc
17 days ago

A result where neither the jury winner (Gala) and neither the public voting winner (The Starlings) wins the competition will always feels strange, but that’s the concept of having a competition with split jury and public votes. It will be unpredictable.. The top 4 (Gala, Gustaph, The Starlings and Chérine) were all really close to each other. There was only a 10 point difference between 1st place and 4th place… I wanted to see another act from the top 4 winning it all but Gustaph scored high on both sides, so it’s fair.

The Voice of Reason
The Voice of Reason
17 days ago

Their performance was the last I saw because I assumed they wouldn’t win but they were dark horses! Their staging and full song version was quite good. Underrated by the fans and a well deserved placing. I totally get why he is annoyed! The Starlings are HUGE in Belgium! And Tom Dice coming back to Eurovision would be so interesting and this would be a sure qualifier. Rollercoaster I actually found MUCH BETTER to my tastes than Oceanside. It was upbeat and you can see they practiced a lot and put a lot of work into it. The husband-wife thing… Read more »

The Voice of Reason
The Voice of Reason
17 days ago

I think there was definitely something odd about the results. And the one point thing because of the jury is a bit strange.

Ramones
Ramones
17 days ago

Calling them HUGE is a bit of a stretch I think… Not known in Wallonia at all, only in FL, and I can’t think of any original song they’ve had? Angèle, Stromae, Deus, even Clouseau if that’s your thing are huge. Can’t compare the Starlings to them IMO

Jeroen
Jeroen
16 days ago
Reply to  Ramones

Stromae performing at eurovision would be a dream come true for me, but I’m afraid it will be a dream forever