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Mar 19, 2013

Top Ten of 2012-2013

My personal favorite performances from this season, and the ones I'll return to when I'm old and doddery with more teeth than braincells. The list, in no particular order:

Madison Chock/Evan Bates, Dr. Zhivago FD (2013 Worlds)
Where is the love for this free dance? Is everyone still disgruntled with the fact that Evan Bates dumped Emily Samuelson? I say this as a person who thought Mr. Bates a fool for dumping Ms. Samuelson after watching Chock/Bates' immensely dull programs from last season. As usual, however, I was wrong. Chock/Bates have improved exponentially since last season and this free dance shows off their improvement so well, with greater connection, strong elements and just lovely choreographic flourishes throughout that adds that extra bit of oomph to everything they do. Their free dance was my favorite free dance performance at Worlds this year.

Daisuke Takahashi, Pagliacci LP (2012-2013 Japanese Nationals)
A performance most astonishing.

Meryl Davis/Charlie White, Giselle SD (2013 Worlds)
If anyone told me a year ago that Meryl Davis and Charlie White (of all people!) would be able to skate a perfectly lovely and convincing polka to ballet music, I would have laughed in their face and told them to lay off the shrooms. But here we are. Here we are indeed.

Carolina Kostner, Devil's Trill, Transylvanian Lullaby SP (2013 Europeans)
A stunningly choreographed program that shows Lori Nichol still has some juice in her despite the increasing pile of proof to the contrary. I knew I loved this program the moment I saw how Carolina Kostner picked into her flying camel spin like that, perfectly phrased to the notes of the piano. It's remarkable how Ms. Kostner has blossomed artistically throughout the years, there's a joy and a sense of confidence and ease to her skating now that wasn't quite there before and her beautifully choreographed programs have consistently showed this off for the past three seasons.

Anyway, to clear things up, I agreed with the high PCS awarded to Ms. Kostner's performances of this program at both Europeans and Worlds despite the fall on the 3T-3T (though I think the 3T-3T at Worlds deserved a < call that wasn't given). The thing is, I don't think a mistake or two (even a fall) should necessarily preclude a skater from receiving high PCS if that skater's choreography and skills are superior and the skater goes on to sell the program as if nothing happened at all. This is what Ms. Kostner did: the overall impression of the short program was not affected by the single fall at either Worlds or Europeans. What pisses me off, however, is when the cumulative effect of multiple highly disruptive errors are not taken into account, especially when the skater lets the mistakes get into his/her head by losing focus, starts skating like an automaton, getting that deer-in-the-headlights expression, and obviously misses choreographic highlights as a result of the mistakes. After all, what's the point of having a competition if the performance doesn't matter?

Alexander Johnson, Beatles Medley LP (2013 US Nationals)
The best sort of surprise: an entirely unknown skater who gives a stunning performance of a beautifully choreographed program where one least expects it (i.e. the lower rungs of a national championship roster). A wonderfully subtle program that flowed throughout, with transitions that seamlessly blended in with the music. Just stunning. As further proof of its superiority, I have an inexplicable aversion to medley programs yet I am completely won over by this one. In my opinion, Mr. Johnson's performance of his Beatles Medley long program should have been awarded some of highest Program Components Scores of the night at US Nationals, but God forbid the judges award higher PCS to an unknown skater skating in the early groups with no quad, no matter how deserving. Blasphemy!

Kanako Murakami, Tango LP (2012 Rostelecom Cup)
As I've said before, love the energy, love the choreography, especially the fantastic choreographic sequence, my favorite of the season. Does anyone know who choreographed Ms. Murakami's LP this season?

Kaetlyn Osmond, Mambo, Gwendoline SP (2013 Worlds)
One of the most astonishing ladies' senior debuts I can recall in a long, long time. The way Kaetlyn Osmond motored through her intricate choreography with more power and speed than other ladies merely stroking around the rink had my jaw dropping when I first watched her at Skate Canada, as did the transitions in and out of the big opening 3T-3T. Unlike many other Canadian ladies skaters who skate like they're afraid of competing, Ms. Osmond has a real sense of verve and fearlessness to her skating that is incredibly enjoyable to watch.

Takahiko Kozuka, Exodus SP (2012 Skate America)
Believe it or not, this is actually my favorite men's short program of the season. Too bad we didn't see much of it at all due to Mr. Kozuka's truncated season, but hopefully he will consider keeping it for another year. Love the footwork, love the placement of elements to the music, especially the spread eagle section set to the drums.

Virtue/Moir, Carmen FD (2012 Rostelecom Cup)
It's no secret I adore this free dance (to the chagrin of some who read this blog) but I do, I do despite agreeing with the criticisms about the saggy middle of the program not quite living up to the brilliance of the beginning and end. For me, the highs of this program (including the divine creature that is Tessa Virtue) make up for the lows. Virtue/Moir's performance of the original version of the free dance at the Rostelecom Cup is my favorite performance, before changes like the weird twinkly music transition, random roars and altered choreographic lift at the end changed things for the worse.

Akiko Suzuki, O, Cirque du Soleil LP (2012 NHK Trophy)
It must be raining on my face.


  1. The choreographer of Kanako's LP is Pasquale Camerlengo. I love the way she delivers the program with all of her energy!
    I also hope Kozuka keeps his SP one more season. His performance at the Skate America was just amazing.

  2. Agree about Kanako. She was a revelation this year. Im not suprised Camerlengo turned out to be the choreographer.
    Also very much agree about Osmond. She reminded me o the way YNK exploded onto the senior scene with the magnifique Tango de Roxanne SP.

  3. Kanako's FS - I love the transitions going into the final spin. That's so interesting and beautiful. I love her SP even more. Both of her dresses are beautiful, too. Hope she works on her overall SS (currently her upper body goes ups and downs), toe-pointing, leg extension, and posture, and then she will deserve massive PCS! Love her speed, flow, and energy. She's a fantastic dancer!!

  4. Hope to see Akiko again in WTT. Her programmes this year are gorgeous and definitely stay in my memory.

  5. love love love chock and bates this season. I don't know why people are still mourning the loss of Samuelson/Bates...I found her dreadfully annoying to watch (OTB tights in ice dance...really??)

  6. Kaetlyn was amazing! I agree about her speed, intricate transitions, big 3-3, and performing sills. I find her SP one of the best choreographed programs in years. Can't believe she's so young. So promising. I totally enjoyed her Carmen as well, but felt that something more unique might have helped her better in PCS. I hope that they will come up with something really special and memorable next season. I would love to see her great two performances at the Olympics if she makes the team!

  7. Thank you for your wonderful summary of hightlights from this season. What do you think of Fernandez' Charlie Chaplin? I really liked the program...