I saw the show on April 2, 2005 in Philadelphia, PA. I was also lucky enough to go backstage after the show. You can skip down to my backstage report, if you want (though go back and see what I said about the show at some point!)

I'm sure others will do a much better job of reviewing the show than me. I'm pretty bad at that sort of thing since I'm just trying to soak everything in and take pictures, and don't take notes. I always need to take my pictures. :) I always complain that for some reason, only at the Philly COI show (not at any other COI show, and not at any other skating show/event in the same arena, just the Philly COI), I have major issues getting pictures. I get hardly any clear pics. I don't get it. I even have a different camera than last year, but same problem (and it was fine for SOI, so again, just Philly COI.) I have only one clear pic from the opening (Sasha.) It did get better as the show went on, I think I got more clear pics than in the past. Only a small percentage of what I took though. Very weird.

Well, now that I have the obligatory photographers remorse story, onto the show. We were 3rd row, dead center ice. For the first half, there was no one in the 3 seats in front of us. In the front row were two little girls. They were SO cute, moving along to various songs. When Michelle skated in the opening, she started almost in front of them. They were freaking out. And the dad was taking pics, but for Michelle's program, the one girl took the camera and was taking pics. Just very cute. Anyway, in the middle of Kimmie's number (she was the first in the second half), 3 people take those seats, so I missed the end of the number. I'd say it was just people moving to those seats, but the usher had their tickets, so those were really their seats. Ah well, there went my clear view. ;) It wasn't bad, just I was used to that nice no one blocking me (other than when they went into corners) view.

Michelle got by far the largest applause the whole night anytime she was on the ice. Even when she came out for her program, before they announced her, there was a huge ovation. I don't know how much gave her a standing ovation after her program, but my mom and I stood up, and so did a lot around us. LOL, when we were about to sit down, I heard a guy behind us say "I can't see." Well, hey, you're fault for not standing for Michelle. :P

When hearing what she was skating to (so, so happy that it was a new program. Nothing against Bolero, but I've seen it twice this year, and earlier this week. I wanted to see something fun and new. :) I would have been fine with Bolero though, lol.), I didn't think the program would be sad, even with the lyrics. But hearing them while seeing her skate to it, yea, I got a bit choked up. Another piece of info on the program coming up later in this report. ;) I think she did the most jumps in her program in the show (maybe Tim too? Like I said, I don't tend to remember jump content in this sort of event.) I love that costume. I can't believe I didn't like it the first time she wore it. ;)

It seemed to be a pretty clean show. I think there was one part of the ice that had problems, since both Amber and O&L caught an edge just skating there, and Sasha kind of fell out of her spin in that same spot. Amber fell on a jump (it was a weird fall, like she landed it and then fell, but this was in a different spot on the ice.) Michelle doubled her flip in the opening. Other than that, I don't remember any other mistakes? I really enjoyed the show this year. I even wasn't as annoyed by the acrobats like usual. ;)

I know I complain everytime I go to these things, but I have to cheer extra loud for 75% of the skaters, since no one else seems to know who Amber or O&L, or even to an extent B&A are. The woman behind me, when Johnny was skating, I heard her say "what's his name again? Johnny?" *sigh* Anyway, a constant skating show pet peeve.

I also enjoyed the finale. I liked it better than the one they did 2 years ago, the circus thing. I thought it was cute. They all seemed to have fun with it. And Michelle's four 2x axels at the end were so much fun. I actually forgot she was doing that until she did the second one, and then I remembered more were coming. ;) During the finale, my mom swears at that at then end, when she's like right in front of us, she nodded to me and waved. I didn't believe it, lol. Judging by later on, maybe that did happen. Or not, who knows. ;)

Onto backstage! I was first worried since they were doing it like they did last year (usually it's downstairs, where they *have* to past to get to the buses. Last year, because of a hockey playoff game, they just put people in a hallway, and the skaters didn't have to pass by. Only a few came, and we never saw Michelle.) But, that was last year. This year, they seemed more organized doing it this way, and we saw just about everyone. The only people I don't remember seeing were Surya, Viktor, Tatiana, and Marina Anissina. A few other skaters we saw (Pang & Tong, Maxim), but missed getting autographs from.

I always like to get pictures I've taken signed, rather than just the program or something like that. I'm not really an autograph person, but this makes it more personal. This year, just about every skater really liked the pictures. They all commented on them. I felt bad that I didn't have extras to give to some of them, they liked them so much. ;) Most of the pics I had were from Nationals or the Tampa event (I really have to upload some of my non MK Nationals ones! And my Tampa ones soon.) For other skaters, I had to go back a few years on COI (since most of my pics last year didn't come out.)

Lets see if I can do this in order. Tanith was the first one out. She was out for a while before anyone else even came out. I remember I was talking to her about the pictures, I didn't even remember to congratulate her on Worlds! One of my pics was from Tampa, one from Nationals (my mom got another pic signed, if I could decide which I liked the best, lol.) She asked where they were from, and I said, and when I said Tampa she said, wow, that just happened! I got my picture with her (she and Michelle were the only ones I got my pic with. With most of the skaters, they were all there at once, so I felt bad asking to take up time.)

Next was Katie Orscher & Garrett Lucash. Katie was first, Garrett was a bit behind her. They were actually coming the opposite way of the line. This (one skater coming up the line one way, one skater coming up the other way) is what made things confusing and making it go by quickly! They both signed a pic from Nationals (Katie seemed to really like it, she asked where it was from.) I told them how awesome they were at Nationals. :)

Jenny was next. I had 3 pics I was deciding between, so I ended up with one from her Nationals exhibition, and one from Tampa. The one from Nationals is when she's sort of combing her hair. She looked at it and was like, ha, this is an odd picture, where's it from? LOL, I should have pulled out the other Nationals (from her long program) picture instead. Skip the next few lines if you don't want to be spoiled on how she skated at the Tampa event. ;) So I said the other picture was from Tampa, and she lit up. I said, you were wonderful in Tampa! And she kind of pumped her fists, smiled big, and said "yea! Clean program!" I asked her for a picture, and she posed. The person next to me asked her about the closing of the show, and she said how much she loves it, and that it's a lot of fun. She was asked how they know what to do during it (or something like that), and she said "someone tells us, and we just do it!" It was cute.

Ben Agosto was next. Thankfully I remembered to tell *him* congratulations on Worlds. He laughed at the Tampa pic he signed (it was from when they were announced as the silver medalists at Worlds, he has a cute expression on his face.)

Amber was next. She was wearing a COI shirt I just bought. ;) I had a pic from Nationals, she liked it, I think she said aww? I asked her if she was glad she was on the tour this year, and she said YES! She said she was having so much fun, and there were so many great people on the tour. I'm so glad she was in the show this year.

Dan, Rudy, and Elvis came along next in some combination of that order. ;) The pic of Dan was from the closing 2 years ago, and he saw it, laughed, and said "thank goodness I don't have to wear that anymore!" The Elvis pic was from that same closing. And Rudy from the COI program that year. I think they came so bunched together, I didn't really get a chance to say anything.

Sasha was next. Like Jenny, I had narrowed my pics of her to 3, 2 from Nationals, one from Tampa. The Tampa one is a closeup of her spiral, when she's looking up. She saw it and said "wow, that's a real personable picture!" I said, it was from Tampa. Then I told her I was on her flight coming back from Tampa, but I didn't want to bother her, so I never said anything. She laughed (I wasn't even going to mention it, but it just came out. ;) And, yea, I feel weird bothering anyone in the non sports setting, so I didn't anything to her at the airport.) I had the 3 pics there, and she signed them all. She actually almost signed a pic of another skater I had, lol. Then I remembered after she could have signed that one, since it was of the ladies medalists at Nationals. She posed for a pic for me as well.

Irina came somewhere around this time. She's the only one I don't remember exactly where she was. She was actually passing us since another skater had just left us, and I had to say "Irina!" so she came back. ;)

Kimmie was next. She liked the pic I had of her at Nationals. I said something stupid about how I wanted to get a pic of her when she landed the axel, but I was too excited so I didn't. I was happy she was at this show. Even though I missed the end of her program, I liked it better than when I saw it at Nationals.

Tim was next. When he saw the pictures (one from Nats, one from Tampa), he said "cool!" My mom asked him if the program he skated to was going to be his new program (I know that's speculation by others who have seen it.) He said, um, it's a new program. LOL, so that really wasn't an answer.

Johnny was next. Skip the next few lines if you don't want to be spoiled on how he skated at the Tampa event. ;) One pic was from Nationals and one was from Tampa. And he said "eww, Tampa!" LOL (he didn't skate so well there!) I said "well, you skated awesome at Nationals!" And he thanked me.

Next was...Michelle! I had seen her walking past us to go to the end of the line when I think we were with Kimmie.

When she gets to me, she's signing one of my pics, I said "I hope you enjoyed the book we gave you in Tampa." And she said yes, she loved it, and thank you so much. She she really appreciated it. She said thank you for your support (and to you guys) several times, I lost count!

And then, she says "I like your hair, it's nice down and straight." Which of course, blew me away. ;)

I had two pics signed, both from Nationals (one of my favorites from Bolero and another from You Raise Me Up spiral, that's been my wallpaper basically since Nats.) She saw the You Raise Me Up picture, and that's the same costume she's wearing for her program on tour. So she looks at the pic, and says "did you take this yesterday!?" and I said, I'm not THAT fast. And she laughed. Then I said, but I do have one I took in Tampa. She said she wanted to see it. It wasn't a great one (I didn't have much luck picture wise at that event), but I showed her. And she liked it. She didn't sign it though. ;)

I then got a picture with her. She was just so great. :)

She kept talking to me even when she was several people past me. It was very cool. One time, when she was walking away, she jokingly asked "why weren't you guys in Moscow!" I said, "aww, I know! I'm sorry!" lol but I did feel bad. ;) After that I thought, oh no, I'm going to have to go to St Louis, aren't I? ;)

OH!! And I asked her when she was past us who choreographed her program. And she smiled and pointed to herself!! Aaah!! I saw, wow, it's beautiful!

LOL, and one time, when she was past me, I was going to take a picture of her signing for another fan. And it was funny, because she turned just at that moment to look at me. So it wasn't the best picture (it was a *bad* one...I don't think Michelle can take a bad picture!) After I took the picture, she looked and said, "oh, you need a better picture than that!" And she came back to me, and posed for a picture! :) That picture is beautiful, of course. She said, "I guess I'll see this on the website" haha. And I said, you bet! :)

Have I mentioned yet how cool she is!? When she was about 3 or 4 people past me, she turned back towards me, and I said I'd say hi to everyone for her, and she said yes, please do! And waved.

I hope I'm not leaving anything else out. If I remember anything else, I'll be sure to post again. She said a lot of thank yous and such. It was great. I was very, very happy. ;)

Gwendal Peizerat was the last skater to come down the line. I said I was so glad they were back on tour. The pic I had was from the last COI they did. And that was that! It was pouring rain today, so I don't think anyone waited by the buses to wave or anything. I certainly didn't.

Check out my pictures from the show and backstage!

Last updated April 8, 2005

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Photo Heather Winfield