Evgeni PLUSHENKO – He has all my respect for being able to return in such a good shape after four years of retirement. This being said, he didn’t bring anything new compared to his old programs, the same Edvin Marton music, the same costumes (hasn’t anyone told him that tight fitting clothes don’t do him any favor? They make him look like a cricket!), the same moves put together in random patterns. I don’t mind his off ice attitude since I don’t have to live with him, but this whole “who am I? look at me, I’m skating!” routine on ice really bothers me. A program, especially the long one, has to tell a story and his had none.
Stephane LAMBIEL – Now this is what I call choreography! Lambiel’s Traviata had the best choreography in the entire competition, too bad the execution was flawed with errors all through it. Such a program, performed well, plus a good SP and all the jumps of course, could bring him a gold medal at the Olys next month, and if that is the case I wouldn’t mind that.
Brian JOUBERT – There’s no secret the was my favorite, up until I discovered that for the LP he was using the music from Yagudin’s Overcome (my mistake for not bothering to look up anyone’s programs online since the TV channels I receive here haven’t aired any skating competition this season up until now). Really, what was he thinking? I’ll never understand why people insist using pieces of music already used and made famous by someone else. Aside from that, the program looked a bit empty, so we’re getting back to the main issue here, choreography. Come to think of it, I haven’t really liked any of his programs much since Time and Matrix. The thing is, he can sell them if he’s having a good day, even if the program isn’t great, otherwise… not so much.
Michal BREZINA – someone to forward to in the future.
Samuel CONTESTI – he’s getting closer and closer to become my new favorite. His LP, though not as entertaining as the cowboy routine from last season, was still my favorite from the entire competition. I wished he had finished on the podium.
Yannick PONSERO – kinda boring but not a pain to watch.
Alban PREAUBERT – never liked him and I still don’t.
Javier FERNANDEZ – I liked him, though I’ve seen better Pirates of the Caribbean choreographies.
Stefan LINDEMANN – it was nice to see him again, wished he’d done even better.
Tomas VERNER – What can I say? He wasn’t there at all. I miss the time when he was fighting with Joubert for the gold at the Euros a few years ago.
Kevin VAN DER PERREN – didn’t like the costumes and the programs much either. He needs something more inventive and I know he can be.
Kristoffer BERNTSSON – He usually delivers fun modern SPs, but I still have to see him perform a clean LP.
Zoltan KELEMEN – I have to mention him because he’s been trying for years to qualify for the LP and now he finally succeeded. Unfortunately his LP had as much choreography as a dead duck. He really needs to work on that!
Did I say I miss Yagudin? Well, I do. Badly.
Oksana DOMNINA / Maxim SHABALIN – way below expectations, and their LP and costumes came so close to be down right boring. They won’t get any gold at the Olys with this one.
Federica FAIELLA / Massimo SCALI – when they stepped on the ice in those costumes my initial reaction was “oh, man, this is going to be boring”, but as the program unfolded I was caught up by it and ended up really liking it. They should have been the winners. I mean, there should be a rule saying that if you won the OD and FD then you’re the overall winner, it’s just stupid otherwise.
Jana KHOKHLOVA / Sergei NOVITSKI – I loved their FD costumes, well, mostly hers, and that FD needs a tiny little extra work to be great.
Nathalie PECHALAT / Fabian BOURZAT – Hmm, I wasn’t convinced by their FD, though I really liked their OD.
Sinead KERR / John KERR – Loved them all as usual, wished they had placed higher.
Anna CAPPELLINI / Luca LANOTTE – they used to be so sweet and cute, but good God, what was with her costume and hairdo in the FD? And how many times do we have to listen to Requiem for a Dream soundtrack?
Nora HOFFMANN / Maxim ZAVOZIN – so-so, but I discovered that someone can look good in knee length tights on the ice.
Pernelle CARRON / Lloyd JONES – I loved their OD, and they seem to have many chances in the future.
Yuko KAVAGUTI / Alexander SMIRNOV – their waltz was nice, not sure they would have won if the Germans hadn’t made mistakes.
Aliona SAVCHENKO / Robin SZOLKOWY – I hope they’ll do better at the Olys, it would be nice to see them on the podium.
Maria MUKHORTOVA / Maxim TRANKOV – still can’t stand her and he looked better with lighter hair. Dunno what to say, they still have some time left to improve.
Tatiana VOLOSOZHAR / Stanislav MOROZOV – now here’s a pair that is running out of time and it’s a shame ‘cause she’s really good and it’s amazing how much she progressed since the short dark hair phase.
Carolina KOSTNER – nothing special, just her usual gracious, sort of, skating. All the ladies in the last group fell and that was kinda disappointing.
Laura LEPISTÖ – several mistakes, nice but not as nice as last year when she won the gold.
Elene GEDEVANISHVILI – I was really happy to see her on the podium, though the first part of her LP looked a little rushed and full of unfinished moves.
Kiira KORPI – obviously being beautiful is not enough in this sport. This time she got close, maybe next year…
Sarah MEIER – nice, but not enough. Too bad.
Julia SEBESTYEN – it was good to see her perform well once again.
Alena LEONOVA – I like her style though not necessarily her choice of LP. She’ll do better next time, I’m sure.
If national television is good for one thing then that would be for airing the gala, and part of the competition, live. I dread to think about what will happen in February when the Olympics take place in Vancouver.
Anyway, the gala opened with an elaborated number performed by young skaters. It became clear that the camera work was pretty bad from the beginning and that didn’t change right until the end.
Impressions in the ranking, and not show, order because copy & paste is easier than remembering the Russian spelling:
Yuko KAVAGUTI / Alexander SMIRNOV – nice Gary Moore blues but horrible neon yellow dress color (Dad called it “Chinese poison”, dunno why).
Aliona SAVCHENKO / Robin SZOLKOWY – the old Leningrad program from last season, beautiful but I was hoping for something new.
Maria MUKHORTOVA / Maxim TRANKOV – they skated to a Mireille Mathieu & Charles Aznavour song and the program consisted mainly in one standing by the boards while the other one was skating, which I didn’t like. And it was strange because he showed more emotions than her, when it’s usually the other way around when it comes to pairs. I must say it again, she looks odd as blonde and he looks odd with such dark hair too.
Tatiana VOLOSOZHAR / Stanislav MOROZOV – it’s funny how I used to dislike them so much and now I come to like them. It’s either because the improved so much or the hair dye. I think it’s the first one.
Carolina KOSTNER – we agreed here that her white pajamas/underpants were disgusting and didn’t do her any favor. The program would have probably looked better with a dress of some kind but the way it was I couldn’t focus on it at all.
Laura LEPISTÖ – nice Zorro program, though the scarves would have looked better in a different color.
Elene GEDEVANISHVILI – funny Marilyn number, loved the dress, and she’s got what it takes to portray her… and I don’t mean the chest!
Kiira KORPI – the sexy police outfit didn’t save her, this really wasn’t her day.
Sarah MEIER – the sexy dynamic number was a nice surprise since I was more used to see lyrical programs coming from her part.
Oksana DOMNINA / Maxim SHABALIN – the Matrix program from last season, but I didn’t mind watching it again at all. Oksana had several hesitations in the beginning, wonder why was that.
Federica FAIELLA / Massimo SCALI – fully black costumes put me off so I can’t say much about them, gracious but rather boring for me.
Jana KHOKHLOVA / Sergei NOVITSKI – since I like them I hadn’t imagined they could come up with an exhibition number that I wouldn’t like. Still they did, their program said nothing to me and I hated their costumes. Even Eagles’ Hotel California couldn’t save them.
Nathalie PECHALAT / Fabian BOURZAT – funny and flirty and they do that well. I seem to like them more in the exhibition than in the actual competition.
Sinead KERR / John KERR – they obviously are big Muse fans since they used one of their songs for their FD last season and now they’re using another one for their exhibition. Since I like them so much I’ll forgive them for the fully black costumes.
Evgeni PLUSHENKO – I liked him a bit more than in competition, he looked slightly more expressive here. Same observations about the costume, but well, I guess he’ll never change.
Stephane LAMBIEL – I was curious to see this program because I’ve heard so many people talking about it. I wasn’t disappointed, it’s a good one, though a bit different than the usual stuff.
Brian JOUBERT – this is what works best for him, full of power and energy. Too bad no one can keep up with doing this for the whole 4+ mins of a LP.
Michal BREZINA – there’s definitely something there, now I’m really looking forward to see him again, maybe not this season but the next one.
Samuel CONTESTI – I so loved to see the cowboy number! Digressing a bit, after the story about that guy investigated by the police because of the things he’d posted on Twitter, it made me wonder how long it would take until someone showed up at his door to ask about him miming throwing off a bomb on the ice. *knocks on wood*
It’s been a long exhausting week, but the Euros are over now. I watched part of the competition online on a Swedish live feed, and part on Romanian television. Eurosport’s schedule was highly disappointing, it showed less than half and most of it at inhuman hours, so instead of listening to Yvonne Ghita’s stupidities, I preferred Alina Alexoi’s who has a slightly less annoying voice.
See you at the Olympics in three weeks!