I attended the 2pm show in Philadelphia, the site of the 1998 US Nationals. :) As usual, the show started about a half hour late. There is one thing I have to say that isn’t about the skating. I never liked the souvenirs at the show (SOI has pins, magnets, everything. COI only had shirts and programs.) This year, at $15, I heard many people complaining that it was too expensive, and that they weren’t going to buy them. However, there was one thing that I really liked. They sold a cast picture, just like SOI does! It was only $5, and I was about to buy it when we spotted some friends from Nationals. By the time we were done, the pictures were gone, and we were running around trying to find another (which we did...the last one!) So, if you want one when it comes to your arena, get it right away!

Anyway, onto the show. Our seats were great...front row, almost center ice, right next to one of the tunnels. The people sitting next (who have had those seats for 5 years) said to me said that it was near the mens dressing room, and sometimes the skaters come out, so keep an eye on it. I did, and none of the skaters showed. However, Michelle Kwan’s mother was there during the opening, closing, and the end of Tara’s number. I watched her at different times, and her facial expression never changed, she was always smiling.

The show was pretty much mistake free from what I can remember. One year I went, everyone fell...but I digress. I tried to remember as much as possible, but then I realized by the end I didn’t even remember most of the opening! One more thing, no one got a standing ovation...I think that’s the first time I went to COI (TOC, whatever) where no one stood (until the end, of course.) Oh well. Here’s what I remember (they may or may not be in order):

Kazakova & Dmitriev skated first.

Nicole skated to “Barbie Girl.” I almost didn’t recognize her...her hair looked different (it’s curled...in the cast picture, my mom didn’t even know who she was!)

Brassuer & Eisler skated to “Fly.” They also skated to it for their number...did they run out of music for them to skate to? ;-)

I can’t remember what Phillippe skated to, but at the end, he did his sword footwork from the Olympics. The crowd loved it. :-)

Todd Eldredge skated to Chumbawumba. Perfect for him if you ask me (“I get knocked down, but I get up again.”)

Michelle skated to "Takes a Little Time" by Amy Grant. She was wonderful. She wore a blue dress that had some red in it. I watched her mom at one point, and she was smiling just a little more than she was for the others. Onto the rest of the show...

The first skater was Evgeny Plushenko. He skated to the thing he did in the Worlds exhibition. Lots of jumps. Got kind of boring after a while.

Punsalan & Swallow were very nice. I know they skated this before (Frank Sinatra music: “Love is a Many Splendored Thing” and “That's Life.”) A few years ago, I think. He takes off his jacket. I think they changed it a little, though.

Maria B was next (she wasn’t announced at the beginning, so some people were surprised.) She did her short program. She fell on her combination, but landed her triple loop and double axel nicely.

Michael Weiss skated next. He wore he short program outfit from this year. Skated to “When a Man Loves a Woman.” Very different for him, but I think he pulled it off. Did a backflip, and the crowd went wild.

Irina Slutskaya skated to some Spanish music (?) Didn’t really like the program, but I liked her a little more. She never stopped smiling. Very cute. She did 4 Beillmann spins, but she slowed down a lot by the last one. The program just kind of ends...I don’t think many people liked it.

Jenni Meno & Todd Sand made me bigger fans by skating to Boyz II Men music (and, coincidentally, one of my all time favs...“End of the Road.” The other song was “I’ll Make Love to You.”) A beautiful program. They had purple costumes on which I really liked. When she landed the throw 2x axel, she got the most wonderful expression on her face...she was *very* happy!! She must have been missing it a lot lately.

Nicole Bobek was next. She also got a big ovation from the crowd. Very cute number. Skated to “I Will Survive” and other ‘70s music. Really good for her! She landed her double axel and a triple, but fell on 2 of her triples. The audience didn’t care, though.

Usova & Zhulin skated to the French Sting thing. I didn’t see much of it since I was putting more film in my camera.

Surya had the nicest outfit I have seen from her. Gold on top, white on the bottom. Typical music for her though, some opera thing? She landed all her jumps (I think.) She did 2 back flips...the first one she didn’t land too good, the second one was perfect.

Rudy Galindo got the biggest ovation at that time. The crowd loved the number. It puts a smile on your face. :-) The guy sitting next to us (who didn’t know anything about skating) said, “What is he going to skate to, “In the Navy?” He was just joking, but I was LOL, he was right! ;-)

Klimova & Ponomarenko weren’t as depressing as usual (although I don’t know what their theme is...so it could be after I find that out!) She had a purple scarf attached to her arms. Don’t know what the significance of that is, either. She has her hair short, and looks great for just having a baby.

I finally got to see Berezhnaya & Sikharulidze (although they were called “Elena and Anton” most of the night) live! And one word...speed! I know that’s what they are known for, but you can’t appreciate it until you see it in person. I don’t really like their program though (then again, I don’t like John Tess too much.) Also, there was one thing I couldn’t stop noticing. She looked very uncomfortable out there. She never smiled...and he didn’t smile much either. Is it they don’t like the attention, or performing?

The act concluded with Phillippe. My friends joked that he would jump into the audience by us (I would have a heart attack!) But, he skated over to a pretty lady (big shock) with a huge hat. He was wearing the hat for a little while (LOL.) He also brought a smile to your face.


First up in the act was Laurent Tobel. Skated as a ballerina. It was supposed to be a joke, but he had *such* a serious look on his face.

Krylova & Ovsiannikov skated to Carmen. Her back was to me most of the time, so I really didn’t see her famous facial expressions. The program was OK.

Are you sitting down? Elvis skated to...Beetoven! I’m serious! He wore a white wig, and pretended like he was conducting. Now, this would be cute for about a minute, but it went one forever! It got kind of old fast. I understand that he can’t do any jumps, but I wish he at least made it shorter. When he came out, he got a *huge* ovation. When he was done, the crowd was kind of disappointed, and he seemed a little upset.

Todd Eldredge. My second favorite skater of the night, and he did NOT disappoint! He got one of the top 3 ovations of the night. He spins were wonderful, and he did one combination right in front of us! When he skated past us once, my mom said that you couldn’t even hear him when he skated, “what is that, edging or something.” ;-) He saved his triple axel, and landed everything else. He skated with such feeling. From his expression on his face, you could tell that he just *felt* it. He just glided...he seemed so at peace. I think it was the best performance I have seem from him this year. The people in the next row had a sign for him. I don’t know if he saw it, though.

I finally got to see Brasseur & Eisler! They never come to Philly! I was so happy when I found out they were here. As I said earlier, they skated to “Fly.” Lots of tricks as usual. But, I have to say something about her costume. She had a coat on that reminded me of what Harry wears on 3rd Rock from the Sun, but in gray (if you know what I mean.) I didn’t get the coat at all! It was distracting. Also, I think they messed up the “say hi and goodbye” thing (is that what it is called?) She fell instead of her being in the position she is supposed to be in.

Viktor skated to the thing where he sits on a chair and pretends to play a piano. Then, he takes off his jacket to reveal a multi colored top. I didn’t really like this program...kind of boring.

Kazakova & Dmitriev did really good. She smiled a lot more than I have seen in the past.

Oksana skated the Chicago number. I really like this program, it is perfect for her. She landed a 3x sal, and was extremely happy about it! But, as she was going into a 2x axel, she had this look of terror on her face, and, you guessed it, fell. I think she fell on another jump. Oh well, she looked like she was having fun. Also, she is growing her hair out.

Grishuk and Platov skated to Frozen by Madonna. My mom turned to me and said, “what is with that outfit?” It is this 2 piece orange thing, I can’t even explain it. Not much of a response from the audience when they were announced this time either. It was pretty quiet during the number, except during a few of their tricks. At one point,they are on the ground, and she was mouthing the words to the song. The people in the row opposite me were trying to keep from laughing. Then, they skated right in front of us, and she was mouthing again. It was just too funny to explain. They got a better reception when they were done.

Then, there was Michelle, skating to “Dante’s Prayer.” She wore a blue costume with black accents (if you get the cast picture, she is wearing that costume.) The audience started screaming when they said “she is the 2 time and current World Champion.” She was the only skater where I was actually nervous for her first jump! After she landed it, I was OK (if I get like this at the tour, can you imagine what I was like at Nationals?) I didn’t watch her on the Worlds exhibitions because I wanted to see it for the first time live. All I have to say is “Wow!” I think it is my favorite exhibition of hers. She landed all her jumps, although she doubled her lutz. Oh, and she landed a beautiful 2x axel! But her jumps didn’t matter here, it was just a beautiful number. If she didn’t have jumps in it at all, no one would have cared. I had the chills at the end of the number. Her spiral brought the house down. Everything was just perfect. She just pulled us in, and made us feel like we were a part of it. It was so moving, and it felt like she was skating for each one of us. Just breathtaking! She got the loudest ovation of the night.

Ilia was next. I finally got to see that black and yellow costume in person, and it is even worse up close! ;-) He did is Olympic number. His back seems fine now. I don’t know how he is going to keep it up the whole tour! He just kept jumping, it will be amazing if he can do that every night.

Tara was the last skater. She got a big ovation too, and she won the flash-o-meter award. I think I got blinded by all those lights! She wore her hair down (which makes her look a little older), and had the prettiest costume I have seen from her...a white one with gold accents. She skated to something from the Broadway musical “Ragtime” (at least that’s what someone told me...I didn’t recognize it.) Actually, there were two songs together. She was landing 3 triples (I think, I know she did the loop.) Then, she fell on the 3x lutz right in front of me, and the crowd went silent.


“My Heart Will Go On” was played for the first few skaters (although they chopped it up really bad... I hate when they do that!) K&O and M&S were two of the couples that skated to it.

Evgeny Plushenko skated to one of the songs from Hercules, and was doing lots of jumps. It looked like he messed up on his Beillmann spin. He could get his leg all the way up, or something.

Surya did a backflip with one foot landing, into a triple sal! Haven’t seen her do that in a while.

Nicole skated to some country thing (she must really like country...or the person that picks the music must think she does. Isn’t this the third year that she skated to country music?)

P&S skated to “I got you babe”, and they wore ‘60s outfits. Pretty funny. :-)

Rudy skated to Macho Man (they didn’t have something else for him that he had to skate to part of his number?)

I don’t know what Todd skated to, sorry. But, again, he got a huge ovation.

Oksana skated to “Candle in the Wind” (the first edition, not the Princess Diana one.)

Michelle skated to “I don’t want to wait,” by Paula Cole. Another huge ovation. They were screaming when she was announced, when she was skating, and after she was done. She wore the costume that she wore in the Worlds exhibition to Dante’s Prayer.

Tara skated to “Go the distance” from Hercules. Her costume looked like her Olympic long program one, but is was more purple, and the embroidery was bigger.

Then, they all came out. They were all doing different moves (K&D did a lift right in front of me.) M&S and B&E did a double death drop...it was very cool! I tried to get pictures of the skaters when they skated around the rink, but they were too close (if that is possible!) Some were slapping hands with the audience, but I had my camera in my hand! Then, I was trying to get a picture of Michelle at the end (when they are in a line), and, of course, she was all the way at the other end of the rink! Oh well. It was still a very good show. I enjoyed it a lot more than last year.

Check out my pictures from the show

If you want to read others reviews of the full show, go to COI Reviews. Or, you can just read about Michelle Kwan on the COI tour .

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Photo © Heather Winfield