U.S. Ladies [#27]: A Time to Reboot

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kwanatic

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Alena was phenomenal...Alina got lucky (she should have been 3rd if scoring had been fair)...

But Mariah's FS transported me back to a time when skating wasn't about stacking numbers on a spreadsheet. It was about emotion, connecting to the music, and skating with your heart. That performance was nothing short of magical. She gave me that feeling I used to have watching skating. The last time I felt that sense of "OMG, this is beyond beautiful" was Mao's 2014 Nocturne. Mariah's performance just breathed into the moment in a way I have not seen in such a long time.

After that final jump, she just lit up. The choreo sequence was pure joy, plain and simple. I was getting Michelle Kwan Lyra Angelica/East of Eden 2000 vibes. She had the FS of the competition for me.

I SO hope she can bring this level of skating to her next event and nationals. I really want to see her win that title at least once...
 

flyingsit

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But Mariah's FS transported me back to a time when skating wasn't about stacking numbers on a spreadsheet. It was about emotion, connecting to the music, and skating with your heart. That performance was nothing short of magical. She gave me that feeling I used to have watching skating. The last time I felt that sense of "OMG, this is beyond beautiful" was Mao's 2014 Nocturne. Mariah's performance just breathed into the moment in a way I have not seen in such a long time.
For me the last program that gave me this feeling was Kostner's Ave Maria SP.
 

Tinami Amori

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I loved Mariah’s program today and really thought she should have won silver. As others have noted, I love the true joy and passion she skates with. I also felt like her jumps looked more secure here than in prior seasons.
Alena was phenomenal...Alina got lucky (she should have been 3rd if scoring had been fair)...
The scoring was not too fair, but not in regards to Mariah vs. Alina/Alena. Mariah was rightfully in 2nd after the FS. And was rightfully in 3rd overall. (there were some strange scoring and deduction for late finish in Alina's SP).

This was probably one of the best Mariah's FS in a long time. not a fan, but that was a good skate!
 

Lacey

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I believe Mariah and Raf have a wonderful professional relationship, and I think that has helped her skating to grow. Their K&K banter was hilarious last year. This year, one can tell each respects the other. Mariah has added confidence. She carries such gorgeous posture and holds her head and body positions elegantly. Her spins are lovely. Her jumps have sweet subtle strength. She was so enjoying her own performance in France, and that was beautiful to see. Mariah was beaming and Raf might have cracked a smile. They are a great team.
 
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Maximillian

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I have to say I've really been impressed with the U.S. ladies thus far this season, keeping in mind that those that are age eligible really cannot compete for a podium place this season without a LOT of help from others. Still, I am so impressed by the notable improvement in Tennell, Bell and Andrews' skating from last season. It's a fairly standard soundbite for skaters at this level to say they are 'working to improve for next season', but you frequently don't ever really see visible evidence of it, but I would say with these three there has been a noticeable improvement from last season, just as there had been from the previous one.
 

layman

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^ Starr skated beautifully today. She did look slow in her footwork section. I too was wondering if she could change coaches to get to the next level, but truly she's progressed a lot in the last year with her current coach, Derrick Delmore. She seems to have all the talent to be the next great US skater - I hope he can get her there!
I love Starr's music but I think she can do so much more with it. She could start by listening to it. Then, I recommend that she see the opera (Salome). Music this powerful and dramatic should never be sonic wallpaper that you just skate through. There are so many opportunities with this music to really reach an audience and bring them along on a journey.

Michelle Kwan understood this music...the power and meaning of it. That really helped her sell her program.

I know it's hard to concentrate on choreography when you have to concentrate on seven or eight triples, but I do believe that Starr could get more mileage out of this music...make it her signature piece in the same way that Michelle made it her signature piece (in her day).
 

kwanatic

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The scoring was not too fair, but not in regards to Mariah vs. Alina/Alena. Mariah was rightfully in 2nd after the FS. And was rightfully in 3rd overall. (there were some strange scoring and deduction for late finish in Alina's SP).
If it had been fair Mariah would have been 2nd overall. Alina's boosted PCS is what got her 2nd. She should have been 2 points lower in the SP and 3-4 points lower in the FS which would have placed her 3rd overall.

I think Alina is a strong skater but I strongly disagree that all of her components are in the 9s...especially when you see the skating skills of Kaori or Alena, or the choreography and interpretation of Mariah, or the fact that she still scored 9s in PE despite URing 4 jumps and basically falling.

I actually like both of Alina's programs this season but they were not the strongest programs in the event, nor did she skate cleanly in either segment. The fact she only completed 5 triples over the course of the competition and still managed to place 2nd is a problem.

I know it's hard to concentrate on choreography when you have to concentrate on seven or eight triples, but I do believe that Starr could get more mileage out of this music...make it her signature piece in the same way that Michelle made it her signature piece (in her day).
In women's skating (particularly in the US), Salome is an iconic piece that carries a lot of significance--the music that turned Michelle Kwan into Michelle Kwan. Iconic masterpiece program...some of Michelle and Lori's finest work. Most skaters/choreographers tend to steer clear of it because even now (23 years later!) people still remember that program...

The choreography of Starr's program is nowhere near strong enough for this piece of music which already gives it a negative in my book. If you're gonna tackle one of the greats, it better be amazing or it will immediately fall flat. That's what has happened to this program.

I think this FS needs to be revisited after NHK. Maybe her choreographer can rework a few sections for nationals. I definitely agree she doesn't understand the music enough. The intensity, the passion and the power are missing from the performance. If I were her coach I'd be making Starr watch Michelle's Salome everyday before she got on the ice to practice.

I don't think this program has a chance of being a signature piece for Starr but I hope they can work on the choreo and her delivery which should help it shine a little brighter for nationals.
 

wickedwitch

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Really unpopular opinion: Kwan's Salome wasn't that special. It was largely an improvement on packaging. Pretty much all of her later LPs were stronger (pre 2005-ish).

So I don't think Starr should be at all worried about comparisons. She's her own skater, and the program is lovely. The improvements she has made PCS-wise are very noticeable. While there are still further improvements to made with regards to her interpretation -- as there are for everyone -- I'm far more concerned about the lack of flip/lutz.
 

layman

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There is something going on with her flip/lutz. It looks like they are re-working the technique.

The flip used to be her best jump but then they started working on the lutz, so that she would not get an edge call and that seemed to throw off the flip.
 

Sylvia

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Just checked protocols and Starr landed solid triple flips in her free skates at both Lombardia Trophy and Finlandia Trophy.

ETA:

From the article I posted before she competed in Grenoble: "...she's hoping to up the level of difficulty in her freeskate with the addition of a triple flip-triple toe loop combination."
 

Vagabond

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I am entertaining suggestions for the thread title for U.S. Ladies [#28].

Is this the time I go with "U.S. Ladies Flip Out!"? :unsure:

:watch:
 

layman

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I think this FS needs to be revisited after NHK. Maybe her choreographer can rework a few sections for nationals. I definitely agree she doesn't understand the music enough. The intensity, the passion and the power are missing from the performance. If I were her coach I'd be making Starr watch Michelle's Salome everyday before she got on the ice to practice.
Great suggestions.
 

nylynnr

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Great suggestions.
I have to disagree. There are many people who do not take Kwan's Salome as gospel; some don't remember it. Starr is her own skater and person. I am hard-pressed to think of anything more counterproductive than having her continuously view a program from the 1990s that would be impossible to emulate in competition today.
 

RoseRed

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I've actually never watched Michelle's Salome, so I have no comparison in my head, but I don't think Starr's FS is very good. I agree that it doesn't really look like she relates to the music that much. Her SP is nice, but I basically remember nothing of the FS even right after I watch it, except that it feels a bit empty.
 

layman

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I have to disagree. There are many people who do not take Kwan's Salome as gospel; some don't remember it. Starr is her own skater and person. I am hard-pressed to think of anything more counterproductive than having her continuously view a program from the 1990s that would be impossible to emulate in competition today.
It's not so much emulating the choreography (which you are right, would not work under today's rules) but rather learning how to listen to the music and use it to express a feeling...a mood...or to tell a story (Starr's story).

Every time Michelle's Salome music would start, you could see something light up in her eyes and then she would use the music to tell her story.

I can tell from Starr's other programs, such as her short, that once she "gets" this music and understands it, she will be able to sell it well.
 

Dobre

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I think Starr's SP is the snoozy one. She skated it very well at IDF, and I still couldn't stick with it. The FD is fine but has too much flailing. It would, of course, be better if she skated it clean. I am happy to see her more on track, though, than this summer and dealing well with the challenge of skating & growing up.
 

kwanatic

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Really unpopular opinion: Kwan's Salome wasn't that special. It was largely an improvement on packaging.
Unpopular indeed! You're nuts!:lol: That program was amazing!

JK, everyone's entitled to their opinion.;)

It wasn't just a packaging change though. We all know you can lead a horse to water but can't make it drink, i.e. you can give a skater an amazing costume, wonderful music and fabulous choreography and they can still suck at performing and bringing the program to life.

Salome's music edit was amazing, the pacing was masterful, the movements were nuanced and the choreography really told a story. But Michelle was the one who brought it all together. She was always a strong performer but in a much younger carefree kind of way. She had to age up in terms of her emotional connection, maturity of movement, poise and finesse to pull it off. Her whole aura as a performer changed that season and it launched her to the top of the sport.

Love it or meh it, you can't deny its significance to the sport. After that year the puffy sleeves and ponytails started disappearing. Maturity and presentation became very important.

I have to disagree. There are many people who do not take Kwan's Salome as gospel
I don't know about gospel but I think you'd have a hard time finding a competent choreographer who would say that wasn't a well-choreographed/performed piece. If Starr is skating to the same music, it wouldn't be a bad idea to use that program at least as inspiration or direction. Not with the intention of recreating what was, but building upon what she has now, which is lacking. There's no tone to the program...no story...it's just skating. She needs more than that if she hopes to move up in the ranks.
 

Spun Silver

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Back to Starr - I think choreography and interpretation are secondary for her right now. She needs to get more secure with her jumps before we can expect Kwan-style or Bell-style performance from her. She was skating cautiously at IDF and still had many jump problems, leaving lots of points on the table.
 

layman

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She was perfectly clean in the SP but she did skate cautiously in the long. Her 3-toe/3-toe combo was clean in both programs (that seems to be her money combo) but she fell on the flip and popped the lutz in the long and a couple of her later jumps received carrots that were not warranted. To my eye she completed five clean triples in that program. She has some work to do technically and can do a lot more to sell the program artistically.
 

Tinami Amori

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If it had been fair Mariah would have been 2nd overall. Alina's boosted PCS is what got her 2nd. She should have been 2 points lower in the SP and 3-4 points lower in the FS which would have placed her 3rd overall.
That's what all fans say about their favorites. And then there are judges.... they did not think so.. :D and these judges gave no presents to Alina or Alena (and not to few others).. not at this event... :lol:
 
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kwanatic

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That's what all fans say about their favorites. And then there are judges.... they did not think so.. :D and these judges gave no presents to Alina or Alena (and not to few others).. not at this event... :lol:
And we all know judges are 100% unbiased, only evaluate what is put on the ice that day and never let a skater's reputation or past accomplishments influence their scoring. :shuffle:
 

Tinami Amori

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And we all know judges are 100% unbiased, only evaluate what is put on the ice that day and never let a skater's reputation or past accomplishments influence their scoring. :shuffle:
You did not complain when Bell's UR on a jump was completely neglected at the last Worlds, while everyone watching the event on a small TV screen saw it clearly..... :D
 

kwanatic

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You did not complain when Bell's UR on a jump was completely neglected at the last Worlds, while everyone watching the event on a small TV screen saw it clearly..... :D
I don't analyze every single edge or UR call in a competition and don't know what you're referring to, so there's a good chance I didn't complain;). Furthermore Mariah was nowhere near the podium last year at worlds...

I do find it funny that people suddenly think Mariah (or any US woman for that matter) gets favor from the judges. When have the judges ever held back on dinging Mariah? Because she managed to skate cleanly and was scored well, now she's getting favors/no-calls/etc. How many URs or edge calls have Alina, Evgenia and other top skaters gotten away with in the last few years?
 

Tinami Amori

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I do find it funny that people suddenly think Mariah (or any US woman for that matter) gets favor from the judges. When have the judges ever held back on dinging Mariah?
No-one is claiming Bell is getting favors. But her UR at the last Worlds were discussed, in the US women topic earlier this years.

At this GP-France competition, as far as judging in SP, US judge gave Zagitova the 2nd lowest PCS out of 9 judges. And gave Bell the highest Tech marks out of all 9 judges ....... ;) check the protocols. It stood out, and so on..
 

Frau Muller

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Will Konstantinova really compete at Rostelecom GP event...after her poor Skate America showing?
 
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