I think I’m going to use a stream of consciousness style for this post. So many thoughts…
In Europe, Liza looks so happy, like she is having fun skating again. It’s great to see. Her spins have improved. There is still not much between the jumps but what jumps! What I want to know is: will she have new costumes ? (Rather than the shirt and pants and dress from last year she’s got now…. Although they are kind of working.) I always love watching Shoma. Nothing has changed there. Actually, he’s the guy I’m behind this year. Shoma all the way! Or Kolyada. I like what she showed at the test skates. I’m fine with either one. I like that Kaori‘s programs seem to bring out the softness in her skating and knees. Does that make sense? I still want more stretch though. Her layback isn’t my favourite but I always enjoy watching her. I feel like she is a real competitor too. She showed that she’s got some backbone. It’s seems strange to me that Sofia Samodurova has the same coach as Liza. As skaters, they seem complete opposites. Obviously, they have different strengths ’cause it can’t all be the coaching. How have I never watched Andrei Lazukin before? I swear I haven’t. I like him. He’s good!
Hurtado/Khaliavin are fast becoming one of my favourite teams. And I love both her dresses! Thank you, Sara. I think she looks better when her hair is pulled back rather than to the side, but whatever. Okay, but did anyone else notice Kirill’s pants? I have never seen flood pants in skating before. I was very distracted, especially because his laces were whipping around. Did he shrink his pants and not have any other’s to wear? Did he somehow pack the wrong pants? And it happened in both programs!! Whatever the reason, I feel like those pants weren’t intentional (how could it be?) but then it was in both programs, so I’m confused. Did he even realize what was going on? I hope he watched some video. Guignard/Fabbri, meanwhile, are looking good. I really like the short and Marco’s pants going all the way down to his boots. I feel like they are skating with more assurance too – smooth and strong. And I don’t get to say this very often but I love Charlene’s short program dress! And the other is good too.
Really, I have to say that I am really excited about Tango Romantica! I pretty much have liked (or loved) all the rhythm dances that I have seen. (Gotta get used to that.) I feel like this is a style that a lot of teams enjoy and they have really embraced it. And the dresses are good too. I am also really into the sliding feature. What a great addition!
Over in North America, skater and programs alike were suffering from the altitude of Salt Lake City. Who would be the last man standing? In dance, I feel like Hubbell/Donohue are on a whole new level. Finally making that breakthrough and winning that World medal did wonders for them. I think the rd was masterful and it’s the first competition. Possibly their best rhythm/short dance? However, this is one tango dress I am not a fan of. I don’t like the one arm (and it’s sort of a gladiator-esque one arm, to my mind.) But back to my previous point… really I feel like I never need to be nervous for them again. They’ve got this. Papadakis/Cizeron may have a challenger. I’m surprised at their free program music choice, after their free last year that was so unique in the field. Romeo + Juliet is not new or different and I’m not a fan of the voice overs. Still, I like the program – I’m just surprised. I especially liked the final lift. Of the other dance teams, I really enjoyed Komatsubara/Koleto. I think they are really thriving in their new coaching situation in Montreal. I didn’t pay much attention to their skating before but I certainly did this time around. And, they are Japan team number one, right? What with Muramoto/Reed splitting, they are next in line. I don’t think there is anyone else. So soak up the attention, guys! I was also impressed by Sales/Wamsteeker (which is such a fun name to say.) They have made big strides. They look so much more mature and sophisticated. I really enjoyed their tango. Not so much the free, but they are looking like a real Senior team now. I was not so impressed with Carreira/Ponomarenko. Am I missing something? I liked their tango. I thought the free was ombre-boring. (I feel like for the past couple of seasons, ombre costume choices are never a good sign.) And I think they both need less hair. In general, I feel like many of the dance programs are too busy, just for the sake of it, and not for any compelling artistic reason.
Satoko was her marvelous self. Never go away again, Tiny Queen! I’m more of a fan of the short program so far. I like her dress for it but I wish there was less going on around the neck and it was just a simple scoop. Gabby looked good in the short. She’s pretty confident with that program. I like the music in the free – it reminds me of cobra boobs. I wish she wearing that costume again too. Clearly, everything wasn’t working though. I hope she continues to go for that triple lutz – triple toe all season. She’s going to get it. And the Korean girls! I don’t think I’ve seen a Korean skater yet this season that I don’t like. I love Eun Soo Lim. I really like Ye Lim. I have real affinity for Jihun To and Young You is enjoyable too. I like watching all of them. I want Korea to rise up and dominate in the ladies. It could happen. Especially since I think they all have a better chance of making it as Seniors than the current crop of Junior Russians. Oh and Yuna Shiraiwa too! Her short didn’t seem as crazy as the first time I saw it. I was relieved. I really like her free too. I’m glad she kept it. I just really want her to finish everything. And is Nam back? Is that what this means? It would be great to have a rivalry going between him and Keegan. That would be fun. But Keegan would win in the spins category, hands down. (Go faster, Nam! I am mentally giving you a push when you spin. Remember what Doug Haw said. Spinning is an acquired skill.)
Up in Vancouver, along with the Korean ladies, I really enjoyed watching the skating of Rion Sumiyoshi. She is a great discovery. I enjoyed her so much. I really appreciated all her little touches and how well she responded to the music. Does she have another assignment? I hope so. I want to see her again. I wasn’t a fan of her feathers but I can forgive her most anything right now. I also like Scherbakova. You get some genuine personality with her, along with some real connection to the music. I’m just afraid she’s going to break. I have feelings about Eteri’s skaters… mostly I feel like it might not be prudent or healthy to support them because of what might be happening behind the scenes. It’s terrible to be a fan of someone’s skating (or whatever) only to find out later that there were some real… issues with what went into producing that skating. You are feel complicit because the praise and marks and medals and accolades all support the situation continuing… if there is a situation. Anyway, as for the skating, I want the arms to stop. And what are they making her wear in the free? I would be okay with it except for the gloves. The gloves remind me of Polina T’s gloves with card suit symbols on them when she was skating to “Chess.” But she definitely got the best music of Eteri’s trilogy this season. I didn’t pay much attention to the men or dance. It was mostly about the pairs for me and I’ve already discussed them here. I do have to say though that I really like D’Alessandro/Waddell. They are a team to watch, for me. Lajoie/Lagha have also booked their place at the JGP Final. They had a really good competition.
Now breathe, everybody. We have a whole slew of new skating coming at us in a little less than a week, so gird your loins and prepare!
You get a good view of the gloves at the beginning!