Monday, February 22, 2010

One of a Kind




Last night's Original Dance competition provided us all with a mixed bag of truly unique eyesores, innovative masterpiece(s) and a plethora of hokey bullshit. I will admit that I was vehemently opposed to the ISU bringing this theme back for the Olympic season, but the couples have certainly done their part to make it a year to remember.


Delobel and Schoenfelder opened the NBC broadcast with their French Can-Can. While I like that Delobel was smoking on the ice, I did not care for her matronly tan skates with the black and pink outfit. Tan skates are an ice fashion don’t. They scream, “I’m 40 and making an Olympic comeback.” They really did not seem very polished at all. They were really ‘saving’ this masterpiece for the Olympics, ahem, they weren’t ready for Europeans and look like they only learned this dance a week ago. The Can-Can did not have any life to it and was devoid of French fabulousness and seriously lacked energy. Look, I understand that your kid is probably keeping you up at night and you probably aren’t getting any sleep, but you need to take a red bull or something. While this team relates to one another, they never appear to really look at the audience or engage with them. They are good skaters and can be aesthetically pleasing, but they just don’t rip my heart out the way you’d expect based on all of the hype that they receive. DelSchoes hit their twizzles but were really just conservative and slow throughout. The program has soft knees, but it just didn’t live up to the music. I’ve seen livelier can-cans in ShopRite commercials.

58.68/ 96.67 Not a great score and may have even been a bit generous.


I adore the Tanith Belbin commercial for Secret. Tanith is wearing a gorgeous dress (why couldn’t she have worn it on Friday or Sunday?) and I really get a kick out of Secret failing to acknowledge that Ben Agosto is a part of the team even though he is actually in the commercial. Tanith, I’m seriously going to miss you.


The Kerrs

I am so not a fan of brother-sister teams. I only enjoyed the Stieglers because I only ever paid attention to Tiffany. People seem to go crazy over the Kerrs. Margaret Thatcher claims that people love the Kerrs because the UK sucks at everything and the British just go nuts whenever they have someone in the top 10. Sinead Kerr may be the butchest thing since Jayne Torvill and I enjoy how she is totally the man in this partnership. My grandfather was a huge Johnny Cash fan, so I should be supportive. I’m also a bit of an Anglophile. They are such a fun team to watch despite any of the jokes I make about them, but him steering her is a bit much at the end. This was the least hokey of all the North American country dances. While nothing will ever be as heinous as Belgosto’s Cotton Eyed Joe (or be as begging to be left off the podium), I found all of the country dances to be trite, simplistic and really lacking in terms of character and sophistication. If you’re going to wear short shorts, you need Domnina legs. They were a bit off and is that a fake tattoo on her back?

55.76/ 93.78 Held down a bit, but they will certainly move up the ladder at Worlds.



Faiella and Scali were next and skated a Tarantella. These two need a makeover because I find them seriously difficult to look at. Jeremy Abbott was with Drew Meekins and became a single man so he could date Massimo? Seriously?! Federica is the real issue with her laughable batshit crazy eyes. It is such a shame that their expression is typical Eurotrash, because they are so strong technically. It seems that this team will be on the podium at Worlds, but I’d like to buy her a flat iron before then. It is difficult to appreciate this team because they’re just not cute.

60.18/ 100.06 Could’ve been higher based on what we were about to see.



Domnina and Shabalin. Wow. This team has made my life. I am obsessed. That is never a good thing. They are such a hot mess that I can’t decide whether I’m offended by how tacky they are or just amused. I can’t even muster the will power to be offended because the program does that for itself. Sandra Bezic always mentions the Russians wearing garish costumes to distract from whatever is happening on the ice. It must not be a mere coincidence that Shabalin is a cripple and they’re wearing costumes with leaves and vines hanging off of them. Thank you for taking the cake with ridiculousness. Tom Hammond is still reeling over Anissina and Peizerat’s free dance and now you put him through the Aborigini Tribal Dance.

It is bad when my dad is watching a program and says “this is stupid choreography.”

During the program, I received a bevy of first-rate text messages.

Two of my favorites came from Romanza:

1. I love when aboriginal people beat each other primitively over the head.
2. Dave, will you please punch me in the face and pull me around by my ponytail?

The program is comical in a “holy shit” way at best, from the dragging around by the ponytail, to the slapping, the costumes, the facial expressions and the Eskimo kisses. It is such a shame for Domnina, because she is capable of performing such a better program than this. The footwork, holds, lifts and transitions are simplistic at best. One could really be harsh with their scores and have them way down in the standings. There are those who thought they should’ve been about fifth at Worlds last year and it is obvious that they have regressed since then. Unfortunately, they are a shadow of their former selves.

Christine Brennan said it best: When your performance is worse than your bad costume, you know it’s bad.

62.84/ 106.60 Way too high, but the Russians are already going to leave this competition without a gold medal. It is a sad way for this team to go out.

For the record, DomShabs received an 8.8 for interpretation.



In contrast to the offensive Aboriginal Tribal Dance, Davis and White’s Bollywood program was the cleanest it has been technically all season. They skated with attack in terms of technique, but I felt that they were slightly reserved in terms of their performance. Meryl and Charlie wanted to be clean and they delivered. They had the program of the year last season with “Samson and Delilah” and this original dance is the best program in skating this year. The intricate details are all there, as are the nuances and the difficulty. Their midline step sequence is just bad ass. It should be noted that Marina Zueva has really improved the speed and stamina of North American Ice Dance teams. Their couples do not die out like Naomi and Peter used to. This program has been trained and perfected in a way only Yamaguchi and Lysacek could appreciate.

67.08/ 108.55


Pechalat and Bourzat are really emerging as strong contenders for the future, but I just can’t stand the hokey country dances. This team is capable of much more and really could’ve delivered a program worthy of their technique. Their program is high energy and was delivered in a more convincing way than the Kerrs’ program, but it just lacks sophistication when performed directly after Marlie’s masterpiece. With a bit more maturity, they will be right in contention.


The Zaretskis- As Della Bella said, they share a face and it looks better on him. I’ve seen this program in person twice and though they are good skaters, it is a lame Hava Nagila. The music cut is all wrong and Tracy Wilson deftly pointed out that their midline footwork sequence slows down as the music picks up. It was rushed and their unison was way off. It makes me laugh when brother-sister teams have unison problems because they know one another so well. It was a mess. They are capable of so much more, but their programs only emphasize their Jewishness. They do not display their solid skating skills. I really question whether a coaching change is in order, because they really need to be going in a different direction. I love their Schindler’s List, but this dance could’ve been so much better than it is. While they likely wanted to take the audience to their own bar mitzvah, I found myself wishing that I were sitting through a haftorah instead of being subjected to this sloppy performance.


Virtue and Moir- Their flamenco has improved every time I’ve seen it, as have their costumes. Tessa and Scott radiate attractiveness on the ice, both as people and as skaters. Their line and flow gives them a refined quality that Marlie is missing. Voir just have a regal quality. I went into the night expecting to like Marlie’s Bollywood program the best, but I found this program to be smooth and skated lights out in a Tara Lipinski in Nagano way. The innovative curve lift after their twizzles is just made of total win. It absolutely won the program over. Their program has appeared sloppy in the past, but they absolutely nailed the flamenco. Everything was so crisp and sharp. They skated with more attack than Marlie in terms of technique and performance. It was just a moment on the ice. Marlie’s Bollywood program is probably better ninety percent of the time, but this just came together in a magical way.

They are going to win tonight, but they better not retire. The world needs Marlie and Voir to have one of the greatest rivalries of all time. Marina and Igor are absolutely moving ice dance away from its Eurotrash past and transforming it into a sophisticated event.

One team that should regret leaving Marina and Igor are Belgosto. Their Moldavian Folk Dance is gimmicky and a mess. While Gennadi has improved Tanith’s technique, their overall skating is weakened by Natalia’s choreography. Where is her head this year? Ever? The only thing that is impressive about this woman is her ability to manipulate judges for Mother Russia. I do not believe for a second that Grishuk and Platov’s “The Feeling Begins” was her doing. They may have selected the music together, but that program is all Tarasova. This is a woman who produced the Aboriginal Tribal Dance, Moldavian Hell and the Dancing Cats this season.

Ever notice that Tanith barely even interacts with Natalia? She is always talking to Gennadi. They probably commiserate about how poorly she treats them both. Technically, Tanith and Ben were solid, but I’d feel much worse about them being off the podium if I didn’t hate this program so much. To make it worse, their costumes went from bad to absurd. They looked like a deck of cards out there. Amtrak is probably embarrassed to be the ones who got those messes to Vancouver. That is one thing I wish the blizzard prevented from happening. Their head movements and flailing is just too much and they never connect with the music. Passing off a bird to one another is lame compared to Marina and Igor’s programs. As predicted in the art of international politics post, Linichuk has thrown them under the bus in favor of DomShabs. A Russian is a Russian is a Russian.

62.50/103.33 They lost ground on their training mates. It is all over for Belgosto. No going away present. The judges will probably do one of their favorite things tonight and put Belgosto third in the free but fourth overall. We wouldn’t want the results to appear predetermined.

Random Observation: Has anyone noticed that NBC is always showing close-ups of Tanith, but only shows Ben on screen when it is a wide shot of the two of them?


Marlie skate first tonight in the final flight. They are followed by Faiella and Scali. Then Virtue and Moir, Belgosto and finally, Domnina and Shabalin.

The moment has finally arrived. Will Europe implode?

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