View Full Version : U.S. Stars on Ice tour April/May 2010: articles, fan reports & more!

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05-31-2010, 05:57 PM
Here's a positive review by the Seattle Times' theater critic: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/entertainment/2011994663_starsonice31.html?prmid=head_main

Local Seattle news article on Lysacek: http://www.komonews.com/news/local/95235989.html

Videos from the Seattle show:
Cast opening number (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-NYkJ3uTl00)
Lysacek's "Man in the Mirror" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zgXw_5ObN-M)
Davis/White's Indian Folkdance OD (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzoNIKADga0)
Sasha Cohen's "Espana Cani" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZ4WM_O2jHg)
Cohen's and Czisny's "Flower Duet" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Stsion8WT0)
Michael Weiss' "Keep Your Hands to Yourself" (excerpt) (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D6tYyqOqkHA)

05-31-2010, 07:23 PM
Local Seattle news article on Lysacek: http://www.komonews.com/news/local/95235989.html

Here's the video of Evan's interview with Seattle local news. The audiences were very enthusiastic. The show was very successful and well received in Spokane and Portland as well.


06-01-2010, 08:36 AM
KOMO 4 didn’t want him to feel as though his dancing efforts went unnoticed, so we awarded Lysacek with a custom-made mini disco ball trophy, similar to the one given to the winner of “Dancing With the Stars.”

“Thank you. This is amazing. It says, 'winner,' ” Lysacek said, laughing.

“It's going right next to the gold medal.”

Great reviews and so nice that he was given that trophy....

Thanks so much for all links!!!

06-01-2010, 04:46 PM
I went to the Seattle show, and overall, my impression was Meh. I know they do twice as many shows as the CSOI cast, and that Vancouver is usually special because it's the closer, but I thought the show was flat.

Alissa Czisny has the unfortunate placement of skating right after Jeremy Abbott skating to a truncated version of his Olympic season free skate, and his speed, edges, and lean make most skaters look choppy by comparison. This doesn't impact the male pros, who have other qualities that are equally appealing in their own way to their audiences. I would have expected Czisny's non-jump elements and presentation to stand on their own in SOI -- neither Yuka Sato nor Sasha Cohen are bombastic skaters with super-high energy -- but she looked out of her element as a show skater and comparatively tepid to Abbott, who is hardly showy. Czisny looked like a local eligible favorite at a benefit show, whereas, at least for me, Abbott made the leap in his solo numbers, although, as always, he should lose the face and head wipes -- even with those to-die-for hands -- and he needs to learn to dance the group numbers. Czisny might grow into this, but she's not nearly there yet.

Czisny's got long limbs and fine line, and she would have looked wonderful in comparison to guest star Ando or any of the other US Ladies' eligible skaters had she been paired with them, but in the Lakme "Flower Duet" with Cohen, that her shoulders are up towards her earlobes and quite tight, with her arm movements a separate piece than her body movements, was obvious in comparison with Cohen. Although Czisny's spins were better, in every other aspect of their skating on the small rink Cohen came out ahead: beautiful, open shoulders, head moving softly and elegantly on her neck, soft and fluid arm movements, sophisticated and detailed phrasing, and exquisite polish. Cohen didn't hold my interest through her two solo numbers, though: she had jump problems in Espana Cani and looked frustrated during the program, and Hallelujah was pretty, but I was pretty bored by then. She looked like she was being sent to prison in the group numbers.

Todd Eldredge phoned it in from the neck down -- he looked like an alte kacher in his sit spins and whenever else he needed to bend -- but his performance is all about the neck up, and the crowd loved him for it. He's nearing 40, and the five years alone between him and Weiss are already a significant difference in a physical profession, but Weiss is a dancer on ice, using his whole body in a way that Eldredge never tried. Weiss might have been as tired as anyone, but he was a consummate pro, and he gave everything in both of his programs and especially in the mostly enervated group numbers. He's a very generous show skater.

Shen/Zhao did their Shen/Zhao thing, very romantic and polished, with a gorgeous twist and some nice throws, and they set a high standard, but I wasn't as taken with them as I have been in the past. (Maybe I'm still crabby that an extended professional program won the Olympic gold medal.)

Davis/White did their Bollywood OD, but I wasn't on the judges' side.

In the quartet with Belbin/Agosto, it was Davis, whom I usually love, who suffered by comparison. Belbin looks fantastic; with better material than in their solo number, Belbin/Agosto could become the cream of the tour. I traveled to see Davis/White, but it was Belbin/Agosto's skill as performers that impressed me. In an alternate universe, Belbin/Agosto would have gone to Linichuk a year earlier, to get Belbin strong and healthy and to polish her up, and then they would have gone to Krylova/Carmerlengo for :kickass: programs in the Olympic year, leaving L/K to concentrate on the Domshabs, and have had their US title back and another Olympic medal, but I digress.

Every time Agosto wasted time with the guitar solos, I thought that if I just miss a bus and have to wait 40 minutes for the next one, I'll be pissed off. The filler was lame in general, and Cohen looked miserable when she and Sato and Czisny(?) came out in little cutesy dresses to do an intro. "Add on" was really weak here; the men in Vancouver sold it.

Miki Ando did a modified Cleopatra at the beginning of the second Act. Her posture isn't as terrible in the small rink, because she doesn't need as much speed to cover as much ice, and she had more oomph than Czisny, but the program just amplified what I love about her skating -- the timing and pop in her jumps, the very clean technique in her spins -- and what I can't stand -- the poor posture, the empty programs, the lack of connection to her music.

Evan Lysacek skated very well, but this Michael Jackson program isn't very inspired, and even he couldn't raise the energy level of the cast. When he popped in for the finale, the building lit up.

Yuka Sato was, for me, the star: charming in "It Don't Mean a Thing", exquisite in "Claire de Lune", and the only one of the women rocked the group numbers and was convincing as a slutty dominatrix. (Who knew?) The single best part of the show was when, during "Claire de Lune", she did an attitude spiral in a circle that got smaller and smaller and then she changed her free leg position to a low cross behind the standing leg, continuing the circle. Simply :swoon: Talk about a clinic in skating skills and technique: I don't think any of her spins traveled a centimeter.

On the old schedule, Seattle used to get one of the first shows of the tour, and while it tended toward the looser side, at least it was never tired. On the whole, this year was tired, and CSOI was so, so much better.

06-01-2010, 05:21 PM
kwanfan- dont hold back and tell us how you really feel hey! :D
I never thoguht that MW and TE woudl be the hit of the show! and interesting to hear your thoughts on DW and BA- I have never been a BA fan to bad I missed the show maybe it would have swayed me!

06-01-2010, 06:57 PM
kwanfan1818, that was a very insulting thing to say about Todd, calling him an alte kacher (pronounced ahl-teh kah-ker - loose translation - in Yiddish "old man" & somewhat derogatory in the way you're using it). I wish I could go back to being 38 years old going on 39 and do on the ice what he does. IMHO, he doesn't phone in any of his performances. I'll continue to pay good money to see him and the other pros (Yuka and Mike, etc) anyday! Don't get me wrong, I heartily welcome the "newbies" too!

I am curious as to if there were any pranks at the Portland show. We saw the show on the east coast, so can anyone who saw it on the last night comment on any pranks they may have noticed?

06-01-2010, 07:01 PM
I haven't seen any reviews of the Portland show... the closer.

I was there on Sunday and my reaction was a mix of qwanfan and some others - but I have to say:

I LOVED that there were 2 dance teams - I didn't notice a "weakness" on Merle's part - having to compete with Tanith - well, Tanith is more showy and has a lot more experience... their duet was very well done I thought.

I was also not on the judge's side of thefine Bollywood OD so it was less exciting than I thought it might have been. Also Charlie had cut his hair and was wearing the dark costume - I think the hair actually helped that program in competition...

The vamping in the group number at the end of the 1st act: Yuka was superb, as was Tanith and Merle was the surprise for me that she could actually do it and believably so. Sasha looked totally out of place in the costume, and well, Alyssa, she tried but couldn't quite pull it off. I liked the number over all.

Yuka definitely was the highlight of the show for me - she has turned into a great show-skater and of course her technique, etc., is just so perfect and beautiful.

I wasn't as excited or turned on by Evan's number as I thought I migiht have been. Having guest stars for me on this tour has always been a turn-off - I prefer that everyone do the whole show - of course with his DWTS commitment it was amazing that he did it at all! I look forward to some day seeing him do the whole tour with a full role, group numbers and all.

Michael Weiss was excellent and has great technique and show-skating abilities. Todd for me has always been meh and so there it was again...

Shen & Zhao should have had two numbers and not been guests...

Miki Ando - Oh, so boring!!

I LOVED Alyssa and Sasha - wasn't sitting close enough to really get into comparing their skating/showing abilities - PLUS at that very number the people around me all decided to get up and move around/ call to their friends, go to the john, whatever - it is as though if it isn't a big showy number then it doesn't matter - this totally pissed me off - what is wrong with audiences these days?????? (but I digress).

Overall the show was for me like COI meets SOI - too many individual pieces, not enough group numbers - very few props, no sets... but having two dance teams was great. Tanith and Ben (and especially Ben, for me) was great because they really skate to the audience... love that - we were sitting quite high up and they totally reached me up in those high seats (that's my mark of how well a skater does - if they can reach me up there, they have done a great thing).

I liked the little in-betweens - the little polka with the girls I thought was kind of a tongue-in-cheek throwback to some of the ice-dancing numbers that Ben and Tanith have done - like a satire... although odd I suppose. I also actually liked Ben's guitar-playing in-betweens - he is obviously passionate about it....

Generally I don't think the show was that well-attended - there were swaths and swaths of empty seats - BUT the Rose Garden arena is really big and well, they used to fill it in the 90s but not so in recent years. Might have been a little cozier in the other arena in the area across the walk from there - Memorial Colliseum.

At the end they all thanked the audience profusely and Todd got into giving everyone a chance at the mike, Sasha was completely herself in going on and on and on about all of her friends and what a good time she has had skating and blah-blah-blah-blah-blah - the girl just can't stop - it was very cute. I had never seen them do that before but then again, we are usually at the beginning of the tour...

06-01-2010, 08:47 PM
Thanks for all the reviews everyone. Interesting to see different perspectives on the same performances.

If I may throw in a few extra IMOs:

- the pros make the show. It's nice to get to see some eligible skaters live, but the pros make the show. They are the ones that know how to entertain the audience and give them their money's worth, night after night. (mainly talking Yuka/Todd/JRo/Mike).

- Out of the eligibles I thought Belbin and Agosto were the best. Tanith really portrays a charisma out there when she's performing and personally, that's all I need to see. I wonder if she'll eventually go solo (like Shae-Lynn Bourne). And I thought Ben did a good job on the guitar (I know some folks here didn't like it though).

- Davis/White weren't bad either. I think they had the right choice of song for the show. The Cohen/Czisny duet was another well-constructed routine (each of them solo was a bit underwhelming but put them together and it works)

- Biggest disappointment (besides not getting some of the skaters at our stop): Mirai Nagasu

- I did like the show as a whole though. Personally I'm a bit biased towards the first show I saw in 2008...I liked that one the best but each of the shows brought its own unique experience.

06-01-2010, 11:29 PM
I am curious as to if there were any pranks at the Portland show. We saw the show on the east coast, so can anyone who saw it on the last night comment on any pranks they may have noticed?

I didn't really notice anything but of course I was sitting pretty far up there...

We went to the pre-show warmups (as part of a group from my club) and that was pretty fun - there were a few antics: Ben and Charlie hot-dogging it around the rink warming up. At one point Shen and Zhao did their pairs I-spiral (I think that is what it is called) around the end of the rink and then I saw Ben and Yuka do an imitation of it - it was quite funny.

Ben was the most audience-friendly in the warmup - he was having a good time.

06-02-2010, 04:50 PM
I have gone to SOI for years and years. Some years you like certain numbers better but it is hard to please everyone every year.

I saw most skaters over the years and I am happy I got to see them all. My biggest surprise was when I lived in Pennsylvania and Paul W won his silver medal and made his first appearance with the show there, which was unexpected. The whole area stood up and cheered and cheered for him, he was and still is one of favorite skaters.

This year I was very happy that Jeremy Abbott was in SOI because I love his skating, he is so musical and memorizing. Someone mentioned that he should learn to do the group numbers and I, along with others, thought he did great, he really knows how to move it. I am also glad I got to see Davis/White.

I liked the mix of the new/older skaters on the show. Some of the seasoned skaters have been on the show for years so it will take time for the newer ones to develop their show skating. About the only thing I did not care for in this years show was Ben A playing the guitar but that was no big deal as some people do like it.

Yuka is a joy to watch and Michael W never disappoints along with the rest of the cast. I hope the show is still around for years to come because without it I would not have had the pleasure to see Scott, Kurt, Paul, Ilia, Alexei, Gordeeva/Grinkov and many many more great skaters.

06-02-2010, 05:31 PM
I wonder if she'll eventually go solo (like Shae-Lynn Bourne). Why would she do that?

06-02-2010, 06:03 PM
Why would she do that?

No reason, just throwing it out there as a possibility.

06-13-2010, 10:36 PM
I added the last of my SOI photos from the Chicago stop to my site.
They're with the ones from the DC stop at:

Sadly not as good as my DC photos as I was looking right into the damn lighted sign or one of the spots for most of the show.

(note that if you're linking to the DC page, the url has changed to the
above for the combined photos)


06-13-2010, 11:04 PM
Nice shots, thanks for sharing. May I ask what camera you use?

06-14-2010, 08:57 AM
Hoo, they're still great shots (and so many). :encore: :D Thanks again!