Sunday, November 14, 2010

Skate America 2010: The Not-Quite-Japanese

Like the Ladies' Short Program, the first half of the Short Dance was also eliminated from my day. Good thing, too, because I was far from impressed by the first team that I did bother to watch, Cathy Reed & Chris Reed.

Before the warmup was this scene, featuring some of my favorites:

AS: Say, 'Hi Mom!'
MD: Hi Mom!
*cue fist-pumping and roof-raising*

So my night with the actual Short Dance began with this:

Just no.

I'd missed the part where the commentators explained that they were skating to Addams Family music, which itself sounded better than I expected, but simply trying to be in character does not excuse any form of ridiculousness or sheer ugliness. On top of that their dance had a messy feel overall, which wasn't helped by all the strands coming out of Cathy's dress and her very long hair. I decided to not pay too much attention and wait patiently for the next brother-sister, not-quite-Japanese team. 44.40, which was an ultimate 8th place. They didn't actually think that competing for the US was what was holding them back, right?

In between I started to notice just how scary Melissa Gregory's voice is.

The biggest difference between the Reeds and Maia Shibutani & Alex Shibutani is that I LOVE the Shibutanis. This may sound mean, but being able to watch these two teams back-to-back really emphasized how much better the Shibutanis are. Their twizzles? BAM. So fast, so tight, so together. These two may be innocently sweet-faced, but they know how to focus and compete.

Classic Zoueva & Shpilband.

56.46 seemed decent enough (a personal best!), especially since Maia had a slight slip during their circular sequence.

What goes through Alex's mind at times like this?

Kaitlyn Weaver & Andrew Poje were next. Despite being scary, Melissa Gregory does earn points for all but telling it like it is: they're attractive so they'll score well. Both were indeed true. There was nothing overwhelmingly impressive about them (their twizzles seemed slow after the Shibutanis), although they were incredibly elegant. And compared to the Shibutanis, their maturity really carried them through their performance. But overall, it seems like they stayed clean and did what needed to be done while having fun doing it, and it resulted in a 59.48 for a very temporary first place.

Vanessa Crone & Paul Poirier were slightly less pretty (look at the back of her dress! Did they run out of material because they covered up her whole front?), but they started out with a pretty cool upside-down lift although I sort of lost interest after that. They placed above their compatriots with a 60.41, but interestingly beat them on PCS and lost the TES by a point and a half.

And then finally, finally was the team that I can't seem to get enough of: Meryl Davis & Charlie White. He was wearing an ascot--an ascot!--and looking fantastic. You know that's the true test for hotness--put them in something somewhat strange and very outdated, and see what happens. Same with Scott Moir and his coattails.

Lovely. Every figure skating fan would do anything to be one of them right at this moment.

Meryl was wearing a different dress (pink) than she was wearing at NHK Trophy (red), and although I understand that they were going for a complete image overhaul after being criticized by judges, I have to say I really prefer the red. This long-sleeved pink thing kind of screams Disney princess (and like, a cheap replication of a Disney princess dress at that), which doesn't fit Meryl's ethereal beauty at all.

Things were going okay until Charlie tripped during their twizzle sequence, bringing me back several seasons when this seemed like a chronic problem. He seemed to have gotten over it in the past two or so years, so I'm not sure why it's back and, more broadly, why the problem exists at all. It's not like he doesn't focus, and it's not like he doesn't know how to skate--does he get overeager? Is he too excitable? Or does he actually not like twizzling in a certain direction? No matter, though, since even with only the fourth-highest TES of the night, their PCS blew everyone else's out of the water. Ordinarily I would be indignant about situations like this, but artistically they left a much larger impression than any of the other teams. And no one can argue with their artistry. 63.62.

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