I absolutely fell in love with pairs figure skating due to Barb and Paul's pro performances. To me many of their programs just cast a spell and transported me away to a happy place - I pretty much even forgot I was watching skaters - if that makes any sense. Perhaps you are correct and Valova & Vasilieev did wait too long to go pro, I hadn't thought of that. I just thought their programs were not in touch with North American sensibilities, and since that's the part of their professional career I got to see.... The audiences never seemed to relate to them.