Saturday, December 8, 2012
Grand Prix Final: The Dancing Pair
Marlie posted a decisive win over Voir at this weekend's Grand Prix Final. While I absolutely adore both teams, there is something delicious about seeing Scott, Tessa and all of Skate Canada seething. Unlike the previous two times Marlie defeated Voir at the Grand Prix Final, they did so by soundly defeating them in both programs, technically and artistically to boot.
The points spread is just under two points per program, but it is impressive. The Americans knew they would be facing an uphill battle this season with the World Championships being held in Canada. They needed a strong start to the season and have certainly delivered. This is quickly becoming one of the sport's great rivalries of all time, with both teams consistently delivering innovative and intricate programs, pushing the level of the excellence higher and higher each season.
There has long been the perception that the Olympic Champions are the better skaters, and if this were purely a compulsory dance competition, they surely would be, but their overall elements have not progressed in the same manner as the Americans. 'Carmen' is already a masterpiece and the team appeared to be hoping to win the components scores with their modern approach to this dance, erasing previous claims that they are stale after last year's arguably panned program. While they may have won the World Championships, the political pendulum was already swinging toward Marlie.
Still, both programs are brilliant this season. It is clear the Americans are skating at a slightly higher level watching them back-to-back, yet I find Voir's Carmen departure to be fascinating, innovative and exciting. There is nothing like watching an Audrey Hepburn-wannabe grope herself and ushering in librarian/whore fantasies. Tessa is a fierce bitch not to be messed with. They are consistently making changes to their program. Expect an out-of-this-world score at Canadian Nationals to drum up buzz prior to their next meeting at the Four Continents Championships.
If the second mark were based on artistry, I would go with the Canadians. If it based on presentation, I'd go with the Americans. Both teams are aiming for Level 4 footwork, yet at falling short. Their high scores in spite of Level 4 footwork are impressive. If either can attain Level 4, it could be a bit of a game changer.
The French are now solidly the best team in the World. While they have publicly stated that their goal is to be World Champions, they may have to hope that the top two teams call it quits immediately after Sochi and don't push on for another four to five weeks.
Igor's expertise and political muscle is pushing the Italians into the fray. If they can increase their consistency, they will be contenders in the near future. This team has a habit of botching twizzles and leaving Anna in tears. While some prefer this Carmen, I have to say that those people are simply wrong. It is a fine program, yet there is nothing truly special.
It is difficult to make one cringe when watching the two most physically gorgeous skaters in the lot, yet Nikolai's bedroom eyes have clouded his choreographic vision to such a degree that even the judges cannot get passed this atrocity when seeing it next to the other top teams. They may very well go on to be World Champions in the future, but it will not be with material like this.
With Bobrova and Solviev and Ilinykh and Katsalapov finishing behind the fray, Weaver and Poje were surely missed. They are too good and classy not to be in the final this season. With plenty of training time between their Grand Prix events and Nationals, they may very well jump back into the mix.