Yes, I've once again focused on the men in my old/new model wrapup for Rostelecom Cup 2012... Will definitely need to give some equal time to pairs and dance in the last two GP events!
Patrick Chan (won gold): Concierto de Aranjuez (last year) vs. La Boheme (this year)... I’m voting for Boheme. Not to Chan-flate his status in the skating world any higher, but let’s face it—when he’s on (as he was at Rostelecom Cup), his work is quite a sight to see. Therefore, I’m fond of seeing such “sights” framed in music to match. Remember how Michelle Kwan used to choose music no one else was using/had used before (at least in the first half of her career)? I think that’s what Chan should be doing. Aranjuez, as much as I like it, has hit warhorse territory of late—which makes it a little pedestrian for Chan. Boheme is glorious stuff for glorious skating!
Takahito Kozuka (won silver): Fantasia for Nausicaa by Hisaishi (last year) vs. Introduction & Rondo Capriccioso by Saint-Saens (this year) ... again, I’m choosing this year’s model. Kozuka hardly ever makes obvious music choices these days, which I deeply appreciate... but last year’s FS never really clicked with me on any level. Couple that with the fact that he’s now using Saint-Saens—the composer behind The Swan, among many others—and the choice is easy.
Nobunari Oda (finished 5th): Umbrellas of Cherbourg (last year) vs. Sorcerer’s Apprentice (this year)... I’m going three for three on preferring the new programs for these guys. To his credit, Oda can’t really get a fair shake for last year (he was injured and out for the season by late fall), so it’s hard to say if Umbrellas was a good fit or not. But ever since Bebe Liang used Sorcerer for her short program a few years ago, I wondered why it wasn’t used more often. For Oda to work with it is particularly amusing to me; as well-known as he’s become for NOT thinking on his feet, I feel some sort of odd connection between he and the title character (as portrayed by Mickey Mouse in Fantasia).
Kiira Korpi (won gold): “I Got Rhythm” (last year) vs. Once Upon a Time in America (this year). Here’s a case where I DO choose the piece used more often these days. Why? It might be as simple as the fact that Korpi’s off to a better start this season than she’s ever had... but I just flat-out like the combination of music she’s chosen for both programs. Girl with the Flaxen Hair and OUAT in America really complement each other beautifully, don’t you think?
Adelina Sotnikova (finished 5th): Liebestraum (last year) vs. “Tough Lover” (from Burlesque) (this year). Liebestraum. No contest. It’s like asking whether you want to drink Ghirardelli cocoa, or would you rather lick the floor... which happens to somehow be caterwauling. I mean, have you heard this Aguilera-fortified selection of “music” she’s currently using?
Caroline Zhang (finished 10th): Cello Concerto in B Minor/Dvorak vs. Nessum Dorma (this year). Again I’m going with last year’s model for Zhang, and in this case it’s all about speed. Yes, Nessum Dorma is a warhorse... but it’s a powerful warhorse. Pair that with a relatively slow-moving skater—which Zhang, unfortunately, still is—and her lack of speed is magnified. With last year’s Dvorak piece, the music was less widely known so the expectations weren’t as great. This year, not only does the music bring a certain sort of expectations... we know in advance that she’s unlikely to reach them (even when she does hit the jumps).
T.E.B "wonderings" coming shortly!