Time to compare and contrast programs old and new! This time I'm using the Pairs Free and the Free Dance from last weekend's Skate Canada as my launching point:
Savchenko/Szolkowy (won gold): Last year’s Pina vs. this year’s (Flamenco) Bolero... sorry, but my heart still belongs to Pina, which is probably my favorite FS of theirs to date. So far I see nothing distinctive about their Bolero... other than the costumes. And in this case, “distinctive” means I spent all my time trying to determine which work of modern art chose to vomit on Szolkowy from all directions. No bueno!!
Duhamel/Radford (won silver): Last year’s Concierto de Aranjuez vs. this year’s Angel... I’m picking this year’s model.
top pairs team keeps getting stronger, and this year in particular, Angel feels like something they can
really make their own.
Lawrence/Swiegers (finished 4th): Last year’s Man in the Iron Mask (in part; two other pieces of music were involved) vs. this year’s War Horse... can I pick none of the above? I only say that because I really enjoyed their Van Helsing free skate from a couple years back. OK, sorry to digress—I’ll go with War Horse for the simple reason that they are skating to a soundtrack from a movie called WAR HORSE. Write your own punch line!! (Maybe Lawrence/Swiegers already have—they seem to have a good sense of humor from what I’ve seen...)
Virtue/Moir (won gold): Last year’s Funny Face vs. this year’s Carmen... I’ll go with Carmen. Not because I’m completely sold on what I saw over the weekend, because that’s not the case... at least not yet. (I see earthy, primal moves here and there, but they feel contrived to me. Complex and difficult, to be certain, but contrived.) I’m preferring this year because Carmen feels inevitable for these two—a must-do in the season just before
Sochi, because if not, when?
(assuming they have no interest in putting “their” Carmen into the same Olympic basket as Witt, Lysacek, and Navka/Kostomarov, among others...)
As for Funny Face, it was whimsical and sweet, but I never really got where it fit into the V/M story.
Cappellini/Lanotte (won silver): Last year’s La Strada or this year’s Carmen... in this case, I have to side with last year’s model. La Strada was an engaging, charming fit for Cap/Lan, while Carmen feels like... well... another Carmen, especially when going against the likes of V/M.
Hubbell/Donohue (finished 5th): Last year’s I Put a Spell on You or this year’s Flamenco? I’m favoring the Spell. To me, it was an out-there declaration that this was NO brother/sister team (as Hubbell was paired with her brother Keifer for a decade prior to this). The Flamenco just seems too ambitious for them at this point—it’s an intense, passionate work that only V/M have really tackled of late (and even they only did it as their OD!). Just seems like too much of a leap to make in what is only their second season.