Friday, March 19, 2010

Laying It On Thick For "Thin Ice"... oh, and Plushenko Lays Off Plans for Worlds

Before I get into Thin Icethe review, I’d better alert you (if you didn’t hear it already; I’m no news-breaker)...

That Evgeny Plushenko, aka Plushy, Big Whiner, Platinum medalist, etc. is the latest (and maybe last, if only cuz they’re outta time) to withdraw from Worlds. I was hoping he’d also be announcing his early withdrawal from the Sochi Games he’s already committing to, but no dice on that one just yet. Gee, predicting Worlds Men just got a whole lot more interesting…

Anyway—here’s a peek at ABC’s Thin Ice from Friday 3/19:

I missed the first couple of minutes, but found a few things to like/dislike right away… (and by the way, I apologize in advance if my report is similar to my blogpal Laura over at Required Elements… we so often seem to be on the same page! I’m purposely not going to look at her report until after I’ve posted mine.)

+ LIKE: that they got this on the air at all… gosh, has it already been 3 ½ years since the last Ice Wars?
+ DISLIKE: the line early on about imagine replacing the classical skating music of the Olympics with hot pop tunes… as if the entire audience has never heard of such a concept, or seen Stars on Ice… or caught any of the exhibition gala from the Olympics, two weeks ago…
+ LIKE: Kurt Browning. DANG is he fun in roles like this. If he hadn’t clearly been born to skate, I’d be saying instead that he was clearly born to host. He even made Elizabeth Hasslebeck palatable. Well, until she was on her own, anyway.
+ DISLIKE: the fact that they somehow managed to get the stats wrong on Dick Button. Not 45 years in broadcasting, folks…try 50. (He made his commentating debut at the 1960 Winter Olympics in Squaw Valley.)

OK, on to the performances…

Shae-Lynn Bourne/John Zimmerman led things off with “Closer” by Ne-Yo… and made sure to do their part to dial the sexy-meter up to 11 (it would seem that’s what the show meant when it said “Our goal is simple: Entertain us”). B/Z manage to balance the ice dance/pair hybrid thing nicely, drawing a row of 9s from judges Button, Kristi Yamaguchi, and Katarina Witt.

Elena Berezhnaya/David Pelletier—yep, you read that right—skated together, but not before (of course) there was a re-telling of everyone’s favorite skating scandal. It then segued into cute cartoony music -- you know the kind—as, in the pre-produced piece, they had The Russian and The Canadian mock debating over who deserved gold more:

DAVID: Our skate was so hypnotizing; it just took people five days to realize that we were the best.

ELENA: When David looks at me, he just sees gold.

Once all that was out of the way, they skated to Katy Perry’s “Hot and Cold”…not badly at all, though they didn’t seem nearly as comfortable with each other as Bourne/Zimmerman (Gee, can’t imagine why). And I wish the choreography hadn’t been so telegraphed… you could see the carefully-worked-on-with-a-hip-hop-guru moves coming a mile away. But it was an interesting thing to see. Got 7’s (and a round of BOOOS) from Kristi and Kat, and an 8 from Button.

Next up: Jamie Sale/Patrice Lauzon… both skating without their regular partners, who happen to be their respective spouses. Jamie claims a lot of trash talking is going on between she and Pelletier over this event. Lauzon says he and his wife (skating later) have a weeks worth of massages riding on which one does better at this event. They skate to “Sexy Chick” by David Guetta, and it occurs to me I don’t recall seeing Lauzon ever skate to modern music…yes, he’s just as handsome doing that as he is the soft romantic stuff. They go 9-9-8 with the judges (Kristi is proving to be the most choosy of the bunch… go figure.)

They were followed by Shizuka Arakawa/Stephane Lambiel, the only all-singles “pair” in this event. Arakawa has a new (?) bob haircut that looks GORGEOUS on her, and is quite cute the way she explains she was always curious about skating pairs but “Japanese men are quite short… and I’m tall!” (and of course, “tall” in figure skating is around 5’5”.) Stephane talks about how tough the quad is—well, why not? Everyone else is these days. Then they shoot some questions and editing around to make it look like these two are interested in each other. I’m thinking no…have I mentioned her hair is GORGEOUS? Anyway, they skate to Robin Thicke’s “Magic Touch”, and it’s safe to say they didn’t have nearly enough time together to learn much in the way of skating as a pair. At first they kind of skate together, then it becomes a showcase of their best stuff: she does a triple salchow/double toe/double loop, he does a quad (oh, so that’s why…) and puts a mere hand down… probably better than he pulled off in Vancouver. They also show off some spins (duh). Of course they get complimented on the obvious (elements!) and dinged on the equally obvious (learn to skate like a pair!) 8’s all around for them.

Finally, here comes Marie-France Dubreil/Michael Weiss… and Fatima (was she the same choreographer that telegraphed the moves for Elena and David earlier? I dunno, but they spend enough time showing how this number came together off the ice that I’m expecting Lysacek to wander in from the DWTS set, saying “Uh, Mike, I’ve already got this studio booked for the next 3 hours”… So their music is the Black-Eyed Peas’ “Meet Me Halfway”, and Good God, something terrible has happened to BOTH of their lustrous heads of hair. I think a can of sculpting gel took their dressing room hostage. Oh, were they skating? Yeah, it was pretty good….got a lift or two managed, and she stayed out of the way while he did his back flip AGAIN (he did one in the opening of the show too). Skating last served them well… it would appear these judges were indeed saving room! 9-10-9 from them.

The score totals: Dubreil/Weiss have 28, Bourne/Zimmerman have 27, Sale/Lauzon have 26, Arakawa/Lambiel have 24, and Berezhnaya/Pelletier have 22. BUT now we’re supposed to go vote, vote, VOTE for our faves so they can have a winner for the people by Sunday’s show.

And as we’ve been hearing all week, Joannie Rochette closed out the evening with her ISU-approved performance of “Fly”. And a standing O from the crowd & judges. And hugs all around. Nice way to end the show.

Except for when Browning presented the cast at the end by saying “These are your Thin Ice skaters…” and I couldn’t help but hear it as if he was following it with a wave to a whole other group with the words “And THESE are your fat ice skaters…. Vote now!”

Sometimes I have no choice but to amuse my own bad self.

(P.S… if you want to catch the 2nd part of Thin Ice it’s on 7PM Eastern this Sunday.)


Anonymous said...

I agree with pretty much everything you wrote. I wish that Stéphane and Shizuka had done a better program. They're not pairs skaters, but they have skated together in shows, and they could have done somthing that was much more than a mish-mash of their best singles skating elements.

They could have done a "Can You Top This?" number where they would haved still showcased their individual strengths but also been engaged with each other. They could have also worked in a few skating-together moments in a number like that. I hope that their second program will be better.

Still they were the most beautiful pair, IMO. That's saying a lot, cuz this group of skaters is pretty good looking!

jumping clapping man said...

at first i read it as: "Arakawa has a new (?) boob (job?)"


bourne and zimmerman should be in first...NO BRAINER! not sure how they landed in second.

lambiel and arakawa are at a huge disadvantage, obviously. it's unfortunate. they really do need to get down and start skating more together, but it's SO interesting to see them together.

berez and pelletier def phoned it in. what was up with that!?

Elizabeth said...

I liked Arakawa & Lambiel NOT attempting to do a pairs/dance number. I thought the camera wasn't quite capturing the whole program as they would meet in the middle and then skate to the opposite end of the rink to do their singles move. I thought it was probably more enjoyable to see live, Stephane doing a quad at one end and Shizuka doing a triple at the other.

Loved your Like/Dislike comments.


Lotta said...

If the judges wanted to Shizza and Zebra to skate like a pair, then they should have put them with different partners. >_< To say that they should skate like a pair when there's a reason they couldn't is just unfair. I liked them better than the others. :)