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LilJen
05-12-2010, 10:14 PM
Another late review. I was at the Chicago show with nashvilledancer and some other friends last Saturday. I stupidly never got a program and I didn't take notes, so you'll just have my crummy memory to rely on. Also because I STILL haven't bothered to sit down with the "how to" booklet for my camera, nearly all my photos are blurry and incomprehensible. . . . Still, I had a GREAT time and was nearly hoarse at the end from cheering. Found out afterward we had been sitting next to Ben Agosto's parents (I was talking to the friend on my right, and the friend on my left was talking to them!)--shucks! I would have loved to compliment their son!

The closest I've ever gotten to seeing a show like this was a competitive-style cheesefest a few years back, so I went into this experience with few expectations (except for, of course, Weiss's Freedom Blades spread eagle and back flips, and other hokey, cheesy bits).

Anyway. . . in no particular order:
-I really enjoyed how, at the beginning, they introduced the skaters one by one (or couple, for the dancers), with a short segue in between with the skaters skating together in some manner, with changes of music for each skater/dance couple.
-Of course it was special to see Yuka (coach) skating with Jeremy (student) in several numbers.
-Evan L. seemed off somehow—exhausted? Broken toes bothering him? He had landed a jump and then splatted a second later. Later he gave a (somewhat stilted sounding--but again, the guy's gotta be running on fumes) speech thanking the Chicago (Naperville) community for supporting him in “his lifelong dream to win an Olympic gold medal.”
-Winners of the “we want that dress!” award: The light blue chiffon numbers with sparkly straps in the back for the Sasha/Alissa duet and Meryl and Tanith’s purple sparkly dresses in the ice dancers quartet.
-Loved: Sasha/Alissa duet, although I found Sasha kind of cold and remote; Yuka’s Clair de Lune (she is SOOOOO smooth); the add on/footwork smackdown number; and definitely great to see Jeremy's LP in person, even though it was an abbreviated version.
-I couldn't help but respect the skills of the "older" skaters. Weiss still has a really kick-ass 3lutz (and you know, I just laughed at the back flips--he just HAD to put them in every number [twice in one number!]--I honestly think he was kind of laughing at himself, too); Eldredge's spins are still great and he's much more outgoing than he ever was while amateur; and Yuka is smooth, smooth, smooth and still has a great 2axel (don't think she did any triples).
-The trio of ladies skating to yodeling music. It was short, and so delightfully random, but I suppose it was there so that some other skater(s) could change into a new costume or catch his/her breath. I remember Yuka was in it, but I can't remember who else (Sasha and Alissa?), except to think how adorable Meryl would have looked in a dirndl and pigtails if she had been in it, which she was not.
-Definitely fun to see Sam/Bates OD and D/W Indian OD in person, although I got the sense that they were all holding back because of the smaller ice.

We got to do the “meet the skaters” shtick after the show, and I told Evan Bates (cutest dimples ever!) I was sad that he and Emily hadn’t performed their disco exhibition, but he said they felt they’d performed it a lot and on such short notice couldn’t create a new ex. number so they went with their OD. I did tell Charlie that his fans were all :dramatic: that he’d cut his hair; he laughed but said it felt good to have it short. Ben was too swarmed so I didn’t get to see him. Didn’t see Tanith there, and I’m not surprised that Evan L. didn’t come out either because it would have been a hometown madhouse. (My theory is that Tanith was backstage harvesting the oil from his hair to help fuel the bus for its next overnight trip. . . yeah, y'all know how I feel about overuse by men of hair goop.)

jlai
05-13-2010, 06:38 AM
I must begin with a disclaimer: I do not care for show skating in general. Itís hard to choreograph fun numbers that are musically effective, and the bits I saw from the SOIs on TV did not change my mind(Sarah Hughes and her doubles forever etched in my mind). It is only because Jeremy and Davis/White got on the show that made me get an on-ice ticket. So tonight I literally went into the show not knowing how much to expect.

Rachael started the show off with all her jumps landed but then she fell on nothing.

Jeremy fell on the 3 lutz and doubled the flip in the Saint Saen program, but landed everything else. He was more successful with his show number, and boy I loved his speed. On a frivolous note, for the second number he wore that lovely blue shirt I oohed and aahed about at worlds exhibition! After both skates I plucked up my courage and shouted ďGo JeremyĒ, then blushed and returned to my good shy self.

One nitpick about Jeremyís numbers was the modifications. The music cuts in both programs dampened the programsí effects, and was the skip forward in At this Moment towards the end intentional? Damn, I have yet to watch the Buble number live and skated full out!

Czisnyís first number was typical Czisny, as was her duet with Sasha. Iím actually tired of pretty-pretty since Iíve seen scores of Bielmans and spirals during the season already. Perhaps that is why I preferred Czisnyís sassy number. It was choreographically effective, though Czisny needed to loosen up her upper body to make this rock.

Toddís first number was decent, but too much stroking to elements in the Elton John number.

I liked Sashaís Espana Cani more than her pretty pretty Hallelujah (Iím into perky tonight). Attitude suits her. I agree with those who found her a tad cold, but she delivered it in style.

Davis/White was the highlight for me. Meryl messed up her twizzle a bit but who cares when the program is so damn gorgeous?

And did I tell you Michael was good? I donít care for his music choices, but the second one had a few interesting moves, and boy was he on tonight. So for that I forgave him for his gratuitous backflips. :P

Evan skated like an Olympic champion. But again, I didnít care for the choreography. I was a little surprised Evan showed up in the closing. Kudos to him for learning the moves between his dancing and skating lives.

Shen/Zhao was in da house! The program started off a bit blahish but it ended very well. Typical S/Z elements and skated perfectly.

Yuka used her music very well in both numbers. She smiled throughout and was a real pro. The jumps were a weebit off tonight, but who would have thought she would attempt a 3 loop after all these years?

I had always shuddered at the thought of cheesy group numbers. Now that Iíve seen them live, I see why some fans like them. The themes left me :confused: sometimes (eyepatches?), but I loved seeing a bunch of skaters swishing past me. That was quite a sensation. Having discovered this, I think I will try attending a synchro event next season.

I wasnít counting on seeing Jeremy at the meet and greet but lady luck smiled on me today! Finally the autograph I have been waiting for! But my luck didnít go all the way--my camera battery went dead. Ah well, photos at the next grand prix, perhaps?

Back to business matters: I do not know why SOI picked Cedar Park Center as the venue. Itís in the suburbs and not a central location for many. Attendance was not as dismal as I feared, but for a small venue, it still wasnít packed. :(

Now have I changed my mind about show skating? I still prefer competitions, but I think show numbers can be very effective when done right. After all, diehard fans just want quality, and I could also use something different from the generic COP elements weíve been seeing. So many possibilities there still for SOI to explore.

Since next year is the anniversary show, I canít wait to see the cast list. Kurt Browning can skate to any music and will be a great addition. So if Gene Kelly on ice shows up next year, Iím getting on-ice seats again!

ETA: I must compliment SOI for hiring so many eligible skaters this year. With this economy, rising skating costs and dwindling prize money, skating must be a struggle and doing these shows provides a bit of financial help to these skaters. And thank you SOI for including Jeremy in the cast. For that you have my loyalty as a customer.

ETA: Thank god no one took off his shirt ala Candeloro or pose sexily just to collect a paycheck. Everyone tried.

RockTheTassel
05-13-2010, 06:52 AM
I'm glad to know that many think Marlie and Jeremy are awesome to watch live. I almost went for them, but I just couldn't make it work this year. But if they're on the tour next year (preferrably with Mirai), I think I'll have to check it out. :) Thanks for the reports everyone.

dinakt
05-13-2010, 07:09 AM
Thank you for the report, jlai. That really resonated with my impressions, as well.
The different beginning for Buble did not bother me one bit, though, it felt very " full out".
Alissa's " I like the way you move" did not bother me, either; agree on preferring " Espana Cani" to " Halelluja".
What " Meets and greets" everybody is talking about? Does it mean I actually could have met Jeremy and Meryl and Charlie and others in a controlled not a "fan jumping out from around the corner" situation? I am bummed about missing the opportunity... well, maybe next year.

Meredith
05-13-2010, 12:17 PM
ETA: I must compliment SOI for hiring so many eligible skaters this year. With this economy, rising skating costs and dwindling prize money, skating must be a struggle and doing these shows provides a bit of financial help to these skaters. And thank you SOI for including Jeremy in the cast. For that you have my loyalty as a customer.

SOI found an exquisite way to support figure skating this year. As much as I was bummed by the all-American cast and exclusion of many of the pros I have come to love, the tour honored the eligible skaters in a way that truly matters: with their pocketbooks.

Thank you, all, for your reviews.

CynicElle
05-13-2010, 12:33 PM
jlai, I am so jealous that you got to see Shen & Zhao. They weren't in DC. Glad you got an autograph from Jeremy.

jlai
05-13-2010, 01:35 PM
The different beginning for Buble did not bother me one bit, though, it felt very " full out".

There was a sudden 5-10 second skip forward in music towards the end that I'm not sure if it's intentional but J. wasn't surprised by it, so perhaps it was. Having memorized that number from Youtube :) , it jumped out at me.


What " Meets and greets" everybody is talking about? Does it mean I actually could have met Jeremy and Meryl and Charlie and others in a controlled not a "fan jumping out from around the corner" situation?
Yup. Normally just two or three of them though

Question: I assume some SOI performers read this thread?

jlai
05-13-2010, 01:41 PM
Question for grammarians: is historical present allowed in skating reviews? I was wondering as I was typing it up. I thought it was a yes but I went back to older reviews and everyone used past tense.

freezin'rinkmom
05-13-2010, 04:49 PM
I must begin with a disclaimer: I do not care for show skating in general. Itís hard to choreograph fun numbers that are musically effective, and the bits I saw from the SOIs on TV did not change my mind(Sarah Hughes and her doubles forever etched in my mind). It is only because Jeremy and Davis/White got on the show that made me get an on-ice ticket. So tonight I literally went into the show not knowing how much to expect.

Rachael started the show off with all her jumps landed but then she fell on nothing.



ETA: Thank god no one took off his shirt ala Candeloro or pose sexily just to collect a paycheck. Everyone tried.


We were sitting right in front of Rachael's fall during her crossovers. Looked like she got surprised by how close she was to barrier/audience and ran out of ice ....:eek:

I am sure it is difficult for all of the skaters to constantly readjust the patterns of their programs from one rink to another, slightly bigger ice, slightly smaller/wider/shorter/ the amount of light...or lack there of...to do this night after night has got to be difficult!

Wyliefan
05-13-2010, 04:52 PM
Question for grammarians: is historical present allowed in skating reviews? I was wondering as I was typing it up. I thought it was a yes but I went back to older reviews and everyone used past tense.

I don't know what professional ice show reviewers do, but things are a lot more informal on a message board. Whichever you prefer is fine, I think. :)

jlai
05-13-2010, 05:17 PM
Thanks Wyliefan. I love doing reviews, so I wanna do it right. :)


We were sitting right in front of Rachael's fall during her crossovers. Looked like she got surprised by how close she was to barrier/audience and ran out of ice ....:eek:

I am sure it is difficult for all of the skaters to constantly readjust the patterns of their programs from one rink to another, slightly bigger ice, slightly smaller/wider/shorter/ the amount of light...or lack there of...to do this night after night has got to be difficult!

You must be sitting fairly close to me! :eek: Were you the one who had a bunch of kids and photos?

Eyre
05-13-2010, 06:25 PM
I went to last night's SOI too. I wasn't interested in show skating either. It was also because Jeremy Abbott and Davis/White were on the show, so I got the ticket. It was great to see Shen/Zhao perform live. They and Evan Lysacek got the biggest applauses.

Jeremy Abbott's "at this moment" - Impressive speed, smooth and beautiful. You need to come down so you can enjoy his skating. I enjoyed it a lot. His Saint Saen number music cut was bad. It took away the beauty of his LP. I now know why he couldn't get higher PCS from the judges at the international competitions. He doesn't have enough power. His skating was a bit too soft. He needs more power and command in his skating. I still loved it. So I'm going to Dallas show tomorrow too just to see his skating. Who needs Johnny Weir where there is a skater named Jeremy Abbott?:P

Sasha Cohen's both solo - She was exquisit. No one in the world could have her perfected movements. She owns them. Love, love her skating! As others' said, she was cold. But she was like an ice princess, cold, beautiful, out of the world, seems no one could reach but admire her skating beauty.

Michael Weiss - to my surprise, he was a joy to watch. He did probably 5 back flips last night. Wonder how he could do them so easily. The crowd loved him. Now I understand why SOI is still having him on the show after all these years.

Charlie White actually looked better in person with his shorter hair. Thrilled to see their indian dance live. Grateful to see competitive level (well, close to competitive level) skating from competitive skaters in SOI. Loved their number with Belbin/Agosto too.

Shen/Zhao - Their skating gave me goose bumps. They skated like an Olympic champion. A tinny bubble in one place, but over all, it was performed with their whole heart. Great speed, lifts, throws, and jumps! Love, love them!

Evan Lysacek - He can be a great show skater. He imitated some of Michael Jackson's movements really well! The crowd loved him very much. I'm surprised that I was looking forward to seeing him skating. Still dislike the disconnection between some of his movements, so robotic. But over all, I think his control and command on ice brought people to him. I imagine after DWTS, he could be more competitive in artistic area if he continue to compete next season.

nashvilledancer
05-14-2010, 01:48 AM
There was a sudden 5-10 second skip forward in music towards the end that I'm not sure if it's intentional but J. wasn't surprised by it, so perhaps it was. Having memorized that number from Youtube :) , it jumped out at me.

It must be intentional; the skip was there in Chicago too. Perhaps they have a very tight schedule with everything timed to the second, and the program was a tad long. I agree with the others that cutting the beginning off Jeremy's long really kind of destroys the effect of the program (but I'm grateful we got all his jumps including 3-axel and 3-3-2 combo). I bet they couldn't afford the music rights to his Beatles short, which would have been perfect for this show.

Yeah, Michael Weiss! Except for his Santana program, I never liked him much as a competitor, but he has become the consummate showman as a pro. I also hear he is an exceedingly nice person.

jlai
05-14-2010, 03:07 AM
It must be intentional; the skip was there in Chicago too. Perhaps they have a very tight schedule with everything timed to the second, and the program was a tad long. I agree with the others that cutting the beginning off Jeremy's long really kind of destroys the effect of the program (but I'm grateful we got all his jumps including 3-axel and 3-3-2 combo). I bet they couldn't afford the music rights to his Beatles short, which would have been perfect for this show.

Yeah, Michael Weiss! Except for his Santana program, I never liked him much as a competitor, but he has become the consummate showman as a pro. I also hear he is an exceedingly nice person.

Good point about J's music.

Michael went by our row twice to say happy birthday to the little girl next to me. Aaaawwww!

Wyliefan
05-14-2010, 06:32 PM
Cute new blog post, with backstage photos, from Meryl:

http://www.starsonice.com/?content=blog&id=2660