Tuesday, November 23, 2010

“Skating With The Stars” in a Nutshell: 5.3 Technical; 5.7 Artistic

Here’s the very, very short version of my SWTS review: it’s about what I expected it to be. The scores above have more to do with the production values of the show itself rather than the skating, which is very Skating-with-Celebrities-ish (What else could it have been? The sport is at least as hard to master now as it was when that show aired in early 2006.)

No dramatic falls last night; no controversial scores (despite host Vernon Kay’s efforts to drum up a feeling that “star” Bethenny Frenkel wuz robbed). I’m not sure everything worked— Tanith Belbin could have been used more effectively, to name just one possibly change I’d make—but with just 6 weeks on the whole series, I don’t know if they’ll bother tinkering with it much unless it gets picked up for another season. Is it Dancing With The Stars On Ice? Nope. Battle of the Blades, U.S. style? Afraid not. But as a stop-gap measure (filling the time between the end of DWTS and the start of whatever premieres in this time slot in January), I think it’s relatively harmless.

For the full-length version of what I saw last night (I wrote as the show unfolded, segment by segment), read on… and of course, feel free to add your own two cents!

Skating With The Stars Premiere… As it Happened

Vernon Kay literally walks us from the Dancing With the Stars set over to the SWTS set (silently pleading don’t turn away, DWTS audience… please… please stay!!!!) and it goes very well… until he throws his arms wide and forgets he has the mic in one of them, cutting off his own intro… “Welcome to Skating with the St---!”

Oh well.

The so far un-id’d pro skaters do a group number to “Dynamite”—the one I’ve heard via Radio Disney all summer and fall. Halter tops, booty shorts, hip music—yep, it’s pro skating time… and we’re in Sweeps.

Introductions. OK, Sean Young already looks terrified she’s going to break an ankle. Early guess… she’ll be the first out. Let’s see if I agree with me in 2 hours.

Judges intro… Johnny first, then Laurie, then Dick. They’re trying very hard to make this part interesting. The judges’ table is shown… you’d think they’d put Dick in the “Len” position (center) if they were going to keep up the DWTS similarities… after all, Johnny makes a pretty decent “Bruno”, sans accent.

Tanith is here to brief us on the rules. Oops, I was too busy typing and missed ‘em. We’ll figure it out.

Brandon Mychal Smith is up first. His current claim to fame is the Disney show Sunny with a Chance (getting all the Disney connections yet?!) Which means my 7 year old daughter loooves him. He’s paired with Keauna McLaughlin… they show zero footage of her pairs victories (C’mon, doesn’t ABC/ESPN have the rights to at least one of those?!) They show their getting-to-know-you montage, then leave us hanging with…

Commercials. I have to mute it when one comes on with a variation of “Jingle Bells”. Still too early.

OK, time to skate. Smith and McLaughlin. Song is American Boy I think. Sorry, my age is showing… OK I think I saw one “element” (1-foot spin)… not bad. Not bad all around… wow, they’re using Tanith for color commentary but will we ever see her again?

Judges: Dick says pretty good things but nails Smith on the spiral. Laurie calls the performance “magical fantastical”. Have I mentioned she’s not a skating expert? Weir calls it a solid first effort.

Now Tanith runs the elements in slo-mo… oh, there she is in the corner. Scores: 6-5-5 for technical, 7-7-6 for artistic. 36 out of 60.

Commercials. I love the Target 2-day Sale lady. She reminds me of the cousin GLEE’s Sue Sylvester never knew she had. Not sure why.

Sean Young is up next. Thank goodness I don’t have to worry about self-esteem issues with her (heh). She’s paired with Denis Petukhov… poor guy. Tanith calls her the least experienced, and cites a fall in rehearsal that sounds like Faiella/Scali’s entire Cup of China performance. They skate to “Bubbly”… seems an odd choice for a 51 y.o. woman. But… she didn’t fall. I’ll give her that.

Judges. Johnny says something about a bunny running through a meadow. What? Laurie drools all over her as if Sean is Julia Roberts. Dick claims he fell in love with her in “that movie”… I thought he forgot the name of the movie, but then he worked in some puns about “No Way Out” and “Bladerunner”. Heh. Told her to be less tentative.

Vernon Kay (the host) tossed to break, but it looks like something was goofed up there. Especially when he reminds us we’re LIVE. Yep, copy that.

Commercials. Somebody tell me why Winter Wipeout is full of pratfalling Santas but we won’t see it “premiere” until January 6??

We’re back. Tanith with the slo-mo (never heard “beautiful” and “shoot-the-duck” in the same sentence before) and scores: 6-5-5 for technical; 7-5-6 for artistic. 34 out of 60.

Next comes Jonny Mosely—1998 Olympic gold medalist (skiing). Brooke Castile is his partner. She refers to skating as “like dancing, but way cooler.” Um, DWTS crew, pretend she didn’t say that…

Vernon teases that Johnny Weir will be skating later. Oh, so THAT’s why he’s been back on the ice lately…(one of the reasons, anyway)

Commercials. OK, I love the Target lady, but not when she’s on FOUR times in one break.

We’re back. Jonny & Brooke skate to the Chili Peppers’ version of Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground”… well I wouldn’t call it going at “electric speed” as Tanith did, but pretty good. I must say Mr. Mosely has some rockin’ hair. Castile looks like she had more fun in that routine than in all her Nationals performances put together. (Except for maybe the one where she won.)

Judges: Laurie loves it, but wants more “funk in your trunk”. Dick goes on a bit about the transfer of his ski skills to skating… Johnny says it was like a bull in a China shop and he loved it. Complete with a hand clap when he said “loved it”! My goodness. Scores: 7-7-7 for technical; 6-6-7 artistic for 40 out of 60.

In the toss to break they show the remaining skaters (including Vince Neil) practicing back crossovers… I have to giggle because they all look like center ice at every public skate anywhere where they let the kids with the moves skate in the middle. And then the kids either have very few moves, or no room in which to do the moves. (The “stars”, so far, are of the very-few-moves camp.)

Commercials. The Mastercard ad reminds me I should be working on Christmas shopping plans instead of blogging around this show.

We’re back, and Johnny’s slapped on his makeup (a modified version I’m sure) and is doing his “Poker Face” routine—also a modified version. Was this done in advance? Probably… Ooh, and Vernon follows it with a mention of the USFS’s basic skills program. Good plug.

Rebecca Budig is next; she’s been obsessed with this sport since she was a kid and used to pretend to do pairs with her sister. Let’s see if her love translates to the ice… Fred Palascak is her partner. He’s athletic and super serious, and no, he can’t claim any national titles or medals… so there. I don’t know this song. You can tell she’s got a little more experience, she does a decent spiral and they manage some nice lifts. “It was often difficult to tell who was the pro and who was the star…” Tanith gushes. Um, that’s pushing it.

Judges: Dick calls it absolutely elegant… you can tell she’s thinking I can’t believe I’m getting tips from DICK BUTTON! Johnny says something about her being like a real skater, and something about his weave…? Missed it. Laurie said something I didn’t catch, and don’t really care about.

Scores: 7-7-7 technical; 8-8-8 for 45 out of 60.

Vince Neil’s turn. He allegedly won a skating competition as a kid—he has photographic evidence! But it doesn’t translate to an easier time here. He’s with Jennifer Wester, who describes herself as a “professional ice skater for 14 years”… which doesn’t make much sense to those of us who know she was competing not that long ago, but whatever.

Commercials. I got nuthin’.

We’re back. Vince and Jennifer are skating to something that’s supposed to rock “I Like the Way You Move”. Hey, his spin isn’t god-awful! But the rest of it seems like he didn’t have much to do.

Judges: Weir tagged him on following his partner around too much; not enough rock star. Laurie disagrees. Um, did I hear that right? Did she just tell him to SPOT when he’s spinning like dancers do? Not with skating!! Shut up Laurie. Dick tells him “any man afraid to make mistakes will never make anything.” Allrighty, then.

6-4-4 Technical. Vernon is flabbergasted and calls the judges “harsh”. Heh. 6-4-4 artistic; 28 out of 60. Aw come on rockers… vote him through anyway!

Next is—wait; did I get trapped in the middle of an extended trailer for “The Bachelor”?? Note to The Bachelor himself: the only way you’re truly going to fall in love… is if you stop trying to do it on national TV.

Commercials again. How are they going to fill the last 20 minutes of this show with just one remaining skating team? Will there be a “Bachelorette” trailer too? At least I can now tell my husband that “V” is returning… he won’t watch this show (SWTS), but he’ll probably catch that.

We’re back… they’ve burned 3 more minutes. It’s time for Bethenny Frenkel OK, she’s one of the “real housewives”, right? Never saw her before this. But she gets a good line in (to partner Ethan Burgess): “OK, the fact you’re not gay is going to alarm my husband, so we might have to pretend that you are.”

They’re skating to some variation on “You Spin Me Round”… cause she gets dizzy easily. GET IT? She appears to be in good shape, but looks only slightly less tentative than Sean Young. Oh, I finally see someone I recognize in the crowd—Len is over here, slumming from DWTS. He must’ve missed his ride home.

Judges. Laurie tells her to relax her shoulders more. Dick calls her “one skinny babe” and wants her to put more flow in skating. Johnny also praises her shape (Oh, forgot to mention she had a baby a handful of weeks ago. Another reason to loathe her.)

Vernon tosses to break—we have about 8 minutes left to fill. Damn, I just realized I missed Hoarders. (I sense a joke about SWTS also being a show about crap might be imminent.) This show is seriously torching my schedule. I definitely won’t be doing this much detail in the future…

Commercials. Good Lord, another Bachelor promo. Someone kill me.

Scores! 5-5-5 technical; 5-4-5 artistic for 29 out of 60. Vernon tries to milk the crowd into “saying” her marks were too low. Eh, not so much.

They show the leaderboard… explain next week’s score will be incorporated into this week’s score (no results show this week). Then the recap, then… buh-bye!

We’ll get back to business (aka Rostelecom observations) tomorrow…

No comments: