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

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04-09-2010, 12:43 AM
I'm so disappointed that SOI Canada tour is a clean cut of Made in Canada, not a single international skater in the cast! I miss S/Z and John Zimmerman, even Sasha Cohen won't be there either. Micheal Weiss, who I never enjoyed during his competition time, was growing into a great show skater, and we won't get him either. I don't think that I'm going to go to this show this year. Couldn't they invite Yu-na or Mao or Mirai to the show? or any other famous international skaters?

Akira Andrea
04-09-2010, 12:50 AM
I beg your pardon. I seems to have come to a wrong thread to post a article.
I moved the article to right thread (Japan Tour).

04-09-2010, 01:02 AM
I'm so disappointed that SOI Canada tour is a clean cut of Made in Canada, not a single international skater in the cast! I miss S/Z and John Zimmerman, even Sasha Cohen won't be there either. Micheal Weiss, who I never enjoyed during his competition time, was growing into a great show skater, and we won't get him either. I don't think that I'm going to go to this show this year. Couldn't they invite Yu-na or Mao or Mirai to the show? or any other famous international skaters?

That's what I've been saying all along. We love SOI, but really wish the three tours (Japan/US/Canada) didn't overlap this year. Anyway, can't wait to see the NJ show on Saturday evening.

Carmen Ovsiannikov
04-09-2010, 02:25 AM
That wasn't the norm in the old days of SOI, sorry. It was in COI but SOI had a choreographic integrity. For example, I remember that Sandra Bezik choreographed a lot of Kristi's (and other single skates') numbers expressly for the show. COI, on the other hand, was a mish-mash without choreographic integrity; even the COI group numbers appeared slapped together.

Well, here's hoping for the best tonight....that it is more like 'old SOI' than 'old COI.'

Does anyone know who (if anyone) is in charge of the choreography and whatever the theme for the new season is? Actually this season doesn't seem to have a theme. I have to say that reading some of the reviews (thanks to those who have attended SOI for giving reviews) SOI does seem more like COI this year.

I hope that it is due it being an Olympic year and perhaps the producers feel that having a cast consisting largely of skaters who competed this season will fill more seats.

Part of me however wonders if this will be the trend for the future. A similar conversation came up in the "Thin Ice" thread. I remember someone was able to speak to Dick Button and questioned him about restarting the pro competitive/exhibition circuit. IIRC Dick said in a nutshell those days are over.

These days everything seems to be about trying to get the attention of the youth market. While that is understandable, figureskating is a sport with a pretty decent demographic of "older" and more hardcore fans who IMO would probably respond well to the types of programs we used to see even four years ago in SOI. When done well, I believe younger people would also respond favorably to programs that aren't done to songs from the latest pop stars. I recall at 2007 COI the "Fallen Angel" exhbition was one of the best received numbers. I recall reading that the crowd gave Melissa, Denis and Johnny a standing ovation.

This year there are some non group numbers that seem pretty good. B&A's new programs and with D&W the choreography is good enough in their Bollywood program that people who don't follow the entire competitive season might even think it was an exhibition program (well except for the side by side).

I guess I just have to wait and see what happens in another year.

04-09-2010, 03:39 AM
I'll do a longer review later, but these are a few initial impressions.

The highlights for me were B/A's solo, Jeremy's program to "At this Moment" and Sasha's "Hallelujah."

The D/W/B/A program was utterly mediocre. It was mostly a collection of lifts. I would have much preferred an extra solo from both.

The group number before intermission was fun. The closing and opening numbers were unmemorable.

04-09-2010, 03:47 AM
...The highlights for me were B/A's solo, Jeremy's program to "At this Moment" and Sasha's "Hallelujah."

I didn't like the B&A number so much, but ITA about the other two being the highlights.

The D/W/B/A program was utterly mediocre. It was mostly a collection of lifts. I would have much preferred an extra solo from both.

Ditto on this. I did like the Sasha & Alissa joint number.

This show really, really needed a pair.

04-09-2010, 04:31 AM
I loved all the ice dancing (especially B/A/D/W) and Sasha & Alissa's number the best.

The youngsters sure seemed like bundles of nerves. When you start with Mirai and then Jeremy and then Alissa, and Alissa is the first one to land all her jumps without falling twice, you know it's going to be a bit of a weird night. :) You could tell the difference between the old pros who are used to performing (and, to be fair, doing double jumps) and the current competitors, who all seemed a little tense. Even Meryl messed up a twizzle. Things did seem to settle down after intermission, though.

I liked all the group numbers except the last one before intermission. (I guess this is my night to be contrary. :lol: ) The three guys and Yuka opening the second act was a highlight; I liked the casual playfulness of it.

A lot of my pictures turned out fuzzy, but I did get a few good ones.

ETA: Forgot to mention, Evan had got all the grease out of his hair when he came out for the final number. He looked like the lost Beatle, but it was kind of cute. :D

Debbie S
04-09-2010, 05:27 AM
The youngsters sure seemed like bundles of nerves. When you start with Mirai and then Jeremy and then Alissa, and Alissa is the first one to land all her jumps without falling twice, you know it's going to be a bit of a weird night. :) Something to keep in mind, though - the ice surface tonight was smaller than what these skaters are used to practicing and performing their competitive programs on. The jumps Mirai fell on (3lutz and 3flip) were done very close to the boards. If you noticed the hockey lines on the ice, the ice ended at the end circles (actually, they got cut off a bit) - it was probably at least 10 feet shorter at each end (so at least 20, maybe 25, total) than standard NHL size. Jeremy's fall (and he had a step-out on a 2axel) was also at the end. If you're used to seeing much more ice behind you in your jumping path, and suddenly it's gone, that could freak anyone out.

I thought tonight's show was great. I don't think the group numbers are that different from SOI of recent memory. I liked the one at the end of the first act - the opening and closing numbers were basically filler, but that's how I remember SOI even going back to the Bezic days. I thought the number that Todd, Michael, Jeremy, and Yuka did at the beginning of the second act was cute - I would have seen more of it if not for the people coming back late from intermission and walking in the rows in front of me (and you'd think people - and ushers - could at least be quiet while going to their seats when the show is going on) :rolleyes:.

I enjoyed both of Alissa's numbers and the duet with her and Sasha, and Sasha did well in her solos. B/A's solo was a lot of fun and I'm glad I got to see D/W's OD live. Michael Weiss's "You're Still You" was nice (I love that song) but would someone please tell him that not every song he skates to needs a back flip? I thought it was nice of him to give a shout-out to the synchro teams from his rink that were in attendance during his and Todd's bit at the beginning of the second act.

I liked how some of the skaters gave intros for others or did some other entertainment in between, but only at certain points - just enough to be cute w/o being too much (although I'm not sure there was a need for Jeremy and Yuka's bit before the Belgosto/Davite number). Ben plays guitar well. The theme of the show is "Concert" so it fits. ;)

I think the Belgosto/Davite number just needs more mileage. Don't forget that the choreo was done while D/W were at Worlds and they had all of 3 days to learn it....and I think this is only the second show the number was performed due to Ben's injury (Ben looked good and didn't seem to have any problems with the lifts, so hopefully, he's healed). I think the number will probably be enhanced as the tour goes on. I did like seeing both teams together - the number has potential.

Evan did an awesome job with his MJ number. He got lots of cheers when he was introduced and lots of applause at the end (no standing O, but people were loud). :) He is not in any of the group numbers, except when he skates out at the very end for final bows (probably b/c he's missing so many shows for DWTS). Mirai was also not in the group numbers, except at the end, like Evan. She skated first.

Todd, who appears to have taken on the Scott and Kurt role of warming up the audience, skated well. I liked the 2nd number (Elton John) better than the first ("I Want You to Want Me") - Todd skated it well but it just didn't feel like his style.

For those interested in such things :), the skaters are listed in the program in order of: Evan, Sasha, B/A, D/W, Todd, Yuka, Michael, Jeremy, and Alissa. The skaters that are only doing a small amount of shows (Mirai, Rachael, S/Z, etc) have their own pages in the program (after the headliners) but are not listed on the first page.

I was surprised by the number of empty seats in the lower rows. My mom and I were in the 5th row, center, 2 seats away from the aisle and we ended up moving down to the aisle seats in the row in front of use at intermission. The first 4 seats were empty. In fact, there were some seats in the first row that were empty, so we could have gone down there, except there was an usher standing there and she probably would have checked our tickets. :shuffle: Overall, the arena was maybe half full. I think it being on a Thursday night probably affected turnout. The COI shows I saw there on Fri nights or Sat aftns were much better attended.

04-09-2010, 05:39 AM
We had the same problem with people getting to their seats late. Not to mention two girls in front of us who would not shut up! Fortunately the music was loud enough to drown them out almost completely.

I see your point about the rink size. A lot of the mishaps seemed to happen in roughly the same area.

Alissa was a rock star! She was really on, and I was impressed by her flair. And that split move she did was amazing! I can see her really blossoming as a show skater.

04-09-2010, 06:27 AM
Cutting and pasting my notes from the DC show (from GS- full post here http://www.goldenskate.com/forum/showthread.php?31934-SOI-DC-Notes-from-the-show&p=496568#post496568 )


I felt different about this year's show than I have about the previous two shows I've been to...I felt that this time, I was enjoying more "individual performances" than the show as a whole, whereas last year and the year before, it was the other way around.

It started out a bit rough. Four falls in just the first two performances. (I think there were that many TOTAL at the previous three shows I've been to!) Nagasu fell on two jumps, Abbot fell on his first and stumbled badly on a second. After that, though, it smoothed out. I was trying to like Nagasu but I think the falls took her out of the performance (she did her SP)- it didn't have any of the fire and spunk it had at Nats (or the Olympics). Next was Czisny with "You'll Never Walk Alone"- this surprised me a little as I was expecting to like her more than I actually did. She wasn't bad or anything, but I guess I didn't feel a very strong connection music-wise. She's a visually appealing skater though.

Other highlights- Davis & White- Not a fan of ice dancing but they rocked the Indian folk dance. I also enjoyed Ben Agosto on the guitar, and Tanith/Ben's playful performance to "If It Kills Me". Weiss and Eldredge were the usual- solid, they know how to perform- and make the girls scream, lol. Weiss's backflips were a hit with the audience- big applause each time. And they're great!

Yuka Sato really is made for this. If I HAD to pick a favorite performer this time around, I think she would eek it out over Belbin/Agosto...I'd have the two tied for 1st, actually. She had me the whole time she was out there. It was great. And weird thing is, I didn't even take huge notice of her in previous years, although she was still a great performer. But this time I felt that she chose the right pieces that really show off her style.

Oh yeah- the Czisny/Cohen duet was nice too. [irrelevant part snipped] They actually did do one set of jumps in unison [irrelevant part snipped]. And yes, in case you were wondering, both skaters were successful in landing them.

Czisny's second piece showed off her playful side. Now THIS is the Alyssa I wanted to see. Great second performance from her.

That's about it. The group numbers were cool too. I think after the initial rough start I was beginning to get concerned it would be a disaster but especially in the second half it turned out to be a really entertaining show. Lots of fun numbers, as I've now come to expect from SOI. As some of you know, those are the performances I enjoy the most, and especially Belbin/Agosto and Sato, and Davis/White- they were my faves this time around. Followed by Czisny's second performance and her duet with S. Cohen.

04-09-2010, 10:57 AM
Thanks for all the DC reviews. Can't wait until tomorrow night's show in NJ. Whomever is going to the Raleigh, NC show tonight, have a wonderful time! :D

04-09-2010, 01:25 PM
How long does it take to break in new skates? I know Mirai said she just got new ones, so maybe that is some of her problem also.

04-09-2010, 02:05 PM
Here are my totally random and sleep-deprived observations from the DC show:

Loved D&W's OD, but they apparently decided to pretend that the judges were on the opposite side of the arena from me, because I saw a lot of their backs. Oh well; at least I got to see that dance. It's the first time I've seen them live, and they're fabulous.

Did Ben do a dance lift with Todd during one of the group numbers? PML! I didn't get to see much of B&A's solo thanks to the inevitable intermission stragglers, grrr.

Jeremy looked a little rough in his first number, but got his feet under him and did really well in the Michael Buble number. His trash talk with Todd and Mike during the opening for the second act cracked me up.

I loved Alissa and Sasha's duet and Sasha's beautiful solo to "Hallelujah." Yuka still looks absolutely gorgeous; I think her skating got almost as many "ooohs" and "aaahs" as Sasha's did.

Like others, I also preferred Todd's more serious number to the Cheap Trick number. I've seen him do humorous, extroverted numbers that worked, but that wasn't one of them. That being said, he still looks terrific.

Evan looked great, and I'm starting to suspect the man is not entirely human. Even reading about his schedule makes me want to curl up in a ball and cry, and that's before you add in the broken toes. But he skated well and looks as happy as I've ever seen him; it's great to see.

All in all I really enjoyed myself.

04-09-2010, 02:07 PM
My thoughts from the DC show, not in order at all.

Tanith Belbin was BORN to be a show skater. In the group numbers, no matter how hard I tried, I could not focus on anyone else. Reminded me of Gorsha Sur in the old days of SOI, he held my attention no matter who else was on the ice.

Alissa's second program, "I Like the Way You Move" did not move me at all. I love her skating, but this seemed so uncomfortable and awkward to me. She's out there doing "sexy" choreography and it just looked so unnatural. Maybe after more mileage it will work.

Jeremy. :swoon: :swoon: :swoon: Yuka :swoon::swoon::swoon:

I liked Todd's Elton John program much more than the Cheap Trick one. The Elton John just suited his style much more and really showcased his flow across the ice.

Michael's "You're Still You" is a nice reminder that he really does have good lines and pure skating when he chooses to show them off. And he always gives everything to every performance.

Loved loved loved Tanith & Ben's "If It Kills Me." I adore the song and was so looking forward seeing what they did with it, and they did not disappoint.

I liked Sasha and Alissa's duet, and I wish Mirai were doing all of the shows so she could have been in it as well.

Poor Mirai, the two falls right off the top just took the wind out of her sails. I agree with Debbie that it was the small ice which caused problems for both Mirai and Jeremy, who fell on a triple! axel in his first program.

I have never been a fan of Sasha to be honest. Her SP was kind of OK, but wow her footwork was s.l.o.w. And the Hallelujah program was all kinds of blah to me. It's such an emotional song that to me it cried out for a more emotional skater, someone like Jeremy or Jeff Buttle or Tanith and Ben.

Frau Muller
04-09-2010, 02:44 PM
Does anyone know who (if anyone) is in charge of the choreography and whatever the theme for the new season is? Actually this season doesn't seem to have a theme. ......

You're right, Carmen. No theme. Mostly a clone of the old COI potpourri. Even the opening and closing group numbers were simplistic...easy for the "guests" to pop in and out, depending on which city the show is in. The only truly creative and substantive group number was the one in funky black clothes and sunglasses that ended Part One. Fantastic!

Other than that number, we had a couple of half-hearted attempts at the old-SOI transitions...where a skater who has just performed stays on the ice for a few seconds into the entrance of the next skater...making for an "uneasy moment" when Yuka Sato did some romantic-like moves with student Jeremy Abbott. [OK, call me old-fashioned, even though I know that this is just acting.] And I loved the little "Three Yoddeling Girls" transitional bit for Tanith, Yuka and Sasha, very much in the mold of the old SOI.

Being in on-ice seats was truly worth it, though, adding so much excitement and oomph.

The best:

- Yuka Sato - queen of the show, with more solo and ensemble numbers than anyone else in the cast, all terrific. How many quick costume changes? I counted at least 10. I call this the "Yuka Edition of SOI" and that is not a bad thing. So smooth and floaty, I could barely hear her skates on the ice, whenever she skated directly in front of us. [She and Dorothy Hamill are still the class acts in female figure skating on this earth, IMO.]

- Alissa Czisny's first solo - best of the female soloists among the "currently eligible" gals in the cast because of her line, stretch and (yes) ability to stay vertical. She skated the first splat-free solo number of the night. [Earlier, Jeremy, Mirai and Sasha splatted more than once in their respective solos...Sasha even stumbling in her straight-line footwork of her Spanish SP.]

- Michael Weiss in both solos - The surprise of the night, he is a natural performer with loads of charisma in person, that doesn't really translate on TV. You have to see him live to truly appreciate him.

- Alissa and Sasha duet to Lakme - exquisite

- Belbin/Agosto's delightful original number in Part Two, with the costume switches (from schoolgirl to sexy lady for Tanith...wow!) What charismatic artists are these two! On the other hand, there was a bit too much of Ben's guitar playing in between numbers. Hey Ben, once is enough!

The not so good:

- Too many skaters lacking warmth and charisma - Weiss, Yuka and Belbin/Agosto were obvious exceptions. Todd Eldredge is a consumate pro and tries really hard -- is obviously passionate about the art of skating - but he just doesn't have "it," IMO. Yet, he skated magnificently. Another "blah personna" is, surprisingly, Sasha Cohen. We sat on ice and close to Sasha and her forced smile (when there was a smile) was very off-putting. Mirai is very young but she has to learn to "switch it on" for the non-judging audience...two falls in her Pirates SP and she seemed like she wanted to run away from the ice. She needs to learn to respect her audiences in the pro world. Ditto Jeremy Abbott, whose face barely registers even to us in the on-ice seats. [Too, he was the first of the solo skaters to splat more than once in a solo number. The ice seemed a bit hard, by the way.]

- King Evan - Generic routine to Michael Jackson. Not at all integrated to the ensemble, he was not in the group #s except at the very end of the finale. It's obvious that he just parachutes in from 'Dancing With the Stars' to do his 3-minute solo and collect the check. As an paying member of the public, I don't care for this sort of thing.

- Davis/White - 100th time seeing the Indian OD for me, it seems. These two are soooo exquisite, technically, but still have to become "presences" on the ice. Seemed bored last night; perhaps one of them is sick? They do NOT command the ice as do B/A. Again, something that one has to see up-close and in person to realize.

- Sasha's 'Hallelujah' number - began OK and she looked lovely in white dress and sparkly headband...but she ruined the number for me with her blahse manner of delivery, and jerky mannerism when she abruptly hiked-up her leg during the "Sasha Curl" spiral...even the folks seated next to us laughed it was such as out-of-place abrupt move in the middle of soft floaty music...the teen guy next to me mouth "Boing!" a second after Sasha hiked her leg, making everyone around him laugh. Her last spiral was better, though.

IN SUM: My husband and I were very happy to have gone. YUKA SATO truly made the price of the ticket worthwhile...and there were other delights. However, there was a bit of a slap-dash and disjointed feel about it AND too many bored-looking performers who need to learn the Art of Charisma for audiences.

p.s. on Carmen's point about the use of current pop music to bring in the younger audiences - Carmen, you are right again. A group of twenty-somethings to my left (in the $140 seats, in other words) sang along and bopped in their seats whenever a known pop tune was played. They seemed to care more about the music than the skating. Those tunes all sound the same to me but, hey, I'm fifty-something....so if that sort of music brings in the Big Buck$$$ with a younger demographic, then fine.