Pairs is a discipline that is infinitely better in person. It is also one of the most fun disciplines to debate. With throws, twists, jumps, spins, footwork, lifts, transitions and choreography, there is much to master.
Costumes are also an important component. Andrew Speroff's ass in his brown long program pants are a total +3. Gretchen and Andrew's triple twist is beyond impressive. They were fun to watch but had a rough skate. It became increasingly obvious that they were merely trying to get through the program. They went for SBS double toes and both underrotated and fell on their SBS double axels the exact same way. Obviously, that should be worth bonus points. Unfortunately, their spins did not have the same level of unison. She put her foot down for support on a huge throw triple salchow. Their other throw was a wimpy double loop. The performance did not make Mother Russia happy.
Brittany Simpson and Nate Miller captivated the crowd in the short program. Well, she did. Brittany is charismatic in a Tiffany Steigler way. Unfortunately, he is about as good at pairs as Tiffany's brother. Moonlight Sonata is just not the right vehicle for them. With her performance ability, they need something captivating. Instead, it is just another pair skating and stumbling to a slow piece of music that has been done and done and done! If Sasha Cohen doesn't work out for Rockne, he should steal Brittany Simpson. They did land a double axel+double axel sequence. Their triple twist was incomplete and had a big collision. They hesitated going into the throw triple salchow and she fell. The music cut didn't add anything to their performance. It doesn't have any tempo changes and just blahs the audience along. They managed to win and were obviously helped by the 'coached by Delilah bonus.'
Note: After several people chuckled about my Guinness comment, we learned that Nate did go out for beer and wings after his long program.
Zhang and Toth are the latest Asian girl and dramatic guy to feign a love story to this music. It instantly conjured images of Paul and Nancy at the '92 Olympics. Miss Saigon seems to be a good program for them but it was halted for almost five minutes when the music started skipping. Since they only practice full run-throughs of their program, they had a difficult time getting back into the program. The judges loved their expression and presentation for the first half but felt that they didn't recapture the magic once they resumed the program. It is a bit difficult to keep the performance level going when the program is so interrupted. In the words of Scott Hamilton, "what they did, they did very well."
They did sbs triple toes (she landed before he took off again) and landed sbs double axel+double toes. Her throw triple salchow and throw triple loop were rock solid. I cannot emphasize enough how impressive they are. The judges awarded them +1s and +2s. Felicia and Tay have improved in a hurry under old fashioned Ron Luddington pairs training. Jeff D does a good job with them. There are moments where the unison is right on. Their lifts were nice, but they didn't perform the new lifts they've been working on.
Secretly, the pressure was on Felicia and Taylor as the USFSA was using Liberty to determine JGP and Senior B international assignments. Buzz around the building indicated that the pairs were competing for Nebelhorn. This team definitely delivered in both programs. If they keep working hard and pimping themselves out for opportunities to perform in shows, they should have a most successful year.
Skating Parent of the Day Alert: Greg Toth was quite handsome in his Miss Saigon T Shirt. Word is that they hope to have everyone wearing them later in the season.
Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir debuted a free skate to Avatar. They finished second but many felt they should've won. She did fall on their sbs triple salchows, but they had great lifts and pair skills. I don't understand why the ISU insists that the 'pissing dog' is an attractive pairs spiral position, but they do it quite well and grab the points. While the music is much more suited to Meryl Davis, it was a decent program. Like all American pairs, their unison has moments where it appears that they've only been skating together for two weeks.
Instead of being heartless, I'll refrain from discussing the other pairs. One had -4.00 in deductions. Enough said.