U.S. Professional FS Classic Reports

Thanks to both William and Tess for these reviews!!

William's Review

First of all, my seats were spectacular. Front and center! I was like 3 seats to the left of the judges and referees. However, I was across from the Kiss and Cry, so I couldn't see the skaters' reactions too well. (But I could see them on the big screen above).

Ladies' Technical Program

Ladies' Technical Program Skate Order
1. Tonia Kwiatkowski
2. Michelle Kwan
3. Lu Chen
4. Surya Bonaly

Michelle's warmup: Michelle practiced her double axel with a new beginning and end to the jump a couple of times. She then practiced the 3 lutz on the usual long gliding edge. She then practiced the usual footwork into 3 toe.

Tonia Kwiatkowski: She skated to "It's in his Kiss (The Shoop Shoop Song)." She had a 50's costume on with cute things on her skates that made them look like black Converse shoes. Elements: 3 lutz (a bit of a flutz), camel, 3 toe, combo spin with camel, layback, and sit; 2 toe, split jump, flying sit spin

Scores:
Skating Techniques- 5.4 5.4 5.4 5.4 5.4
Presentation- 5.4 5.5 5.5 5.4 5.4
Overall, fairly entertaining.

MICHELLE KWAN: She skated her new short program "The Fate of Carmen" in her black Dream of Desdemona costume. Her opening position is kind of like the Rachmaninoff opening pose but the hands are more curved in towards her more. She uses her long gliding edge and does perfect 3 lutz/2 toe combo--light as a feather! I love her new double axel entry and exit. While she's gliding forward, she sticks her right hand out to the audience opposite the judges then goes on her forward outside edge. She does a big double axel but when she lands, she doesn't do her usual arm movements, she puts her hands over her face like a seductress. She does a wonderfully centered layback spin in her usual position. She makes a fierce pause and goes into a rhythmic, flamenco (?) style straightline footwork sequence that could use a tad more speed. I was disappointed that the audience didn't clap along. She then goes into her usual footwork into 3 toe. Then, her spin combo where she does her usual sit to Y spin and then the same on the other leg. Music cuts to the death scene music and she does the gorgeous inside/outside spiral, and then another spiral. She ends with a flying sit spin and then a end pose that includes a quick hand movement near her face or chest. The music was not as unheard of as I thought it would be. Parts of her cuts were used by ice dancers Krylova/Ovsiannikov last year and by Katarina Witt in 1988. Not as spectacualr as Rachmaninoff but still great

Scores:
Skating Techniques- 5.8 5.8 5.7 5.7 5.8
Presentation- 5.9 5.8 5.7 5.8 5.9 <--A bit low, I was stunned.

Lu Chen: She skated to a different arrangement and rearranged choreography of her "Butterfly Lovers" Olympic long program in a pink outfit. It's an exquisite piece. Elements: her usual combo spin, spirals, 2 axel, 3 toe, usual flying camel, spirals, split jump, her trademark "butterfly" spiral, 2 loop, flying sit spin, spiral She ends on her knees. She was magnificent. This actually, IMO, would have beaten Kwan's if Lu had more technical difficulty.

Scores:
Skating Techniques- 5.5 5.6 5.5 5.5 5.5
Presentation- 5.8. 5.9 5.8 5.9 5.7 <--Lu has 3 higher presentation marks than Michelle; my jaw dropped. Lu, however, was spectacular. I think the judges are trying to send Michelle some kind of message or maybe they expected too much from Michelle.

Surya Bonaly: She wears a colorful costume and skates to arabic sounding music. Elements: half Biellman spin, split jump right into 3 toe/half loop/2 salchow; one foot backflip, 3 sal, spiral, 3 toe, combo spin with 3 camels, a sit, and a Rudy Galindo type spin; spirals, walleys into 2 salchow; butterfly/sit/sit/scratch spin combo.

Scores:
Skating Techniques- 5.8 5.5 5.4 5.7 5.6
Presentation- 5.6 5.7 5.3 5.6 5.5
Her scores drew big boos from the audience, but I thought she was just average. Too many salchows IMO.

Standings after Technical Program
1. Kwan
2. Chen
3. Bonaly
4. Kwiatkowski

Ladies' Interpretive Program

Skate Order for Interpretive Program
1. Bonaly
2. Kwiatkowski
3. Chen
4. Kwan

Michelle's Warmup: She practiced her 2 axel first. She missed one and turned, threw her head back and smiled-adorable! She practiced the 3 lutz on the long gliding edge. She practiced spinning in both directions last.

Surya Bonaly: She skated in shiny yellow to a Tina Turner medley I think. Elements: split jump into 3 sal/2 toe; two 2 axels in a row; 3 flying sit spins; two feet backflip; body slide onto ice--break dancing on ice--splits on ice; 3 toe; butterflies

Scores:
Skating Techniques: 5.5 5.5 5.4 5.5 5.5
Presentation: 5.5 5.5 5.6 5.5 5.5
Once again, boos from the crowd.

Tonia Kwiatkowski: Much different look for Tonia. She skated to Janet Jackson's "Black Cat" in a black leather outfit with shiny studs. Elements: 2 flip; layback with cat-like arm movements; body on ice--rolling on ice--leg kicks on ice; single axel; camel/camel; 3 toe; split jump

Scores:
Skating Techniques: 5.4 5.3 5.5 5.3 5.5 <--boos from crowd
Presentation: 5.4 5.4 5.6 5.6 5.6
Nice departure from her usual stuff but too much stationery dancing for me.

Lu Chen: Skating to "Peel Me a Grape" in her red short program costume. She starts by giving Dick Button and Peggy Fleming some grapes! Elements: fall on 3 toe; flying sit spin; 2 axel; spiral; 3 toe; camel that is not very centered; layback- usual combo spin

Scores:
Skating Techniques: 5.6 5.6 5.6 5.5 5.6
Presentation: 5.8 5.8 5.8 5.8 5.8
Not as strong as her first program but still good; needs more technical difficulty.

MICHELLE KWAN: She skated to "Dante's Prayer" in her royal blue costume with dramatic lighting. This program works better for me with lighting-makes it more intimate. Elements: 3 toe; spiral; camel to the left/camel to the right; spread eagle; shaky triple lutz (2 foot?); nice 2 axel; 2 split jumps; layback spin with stretched arms and leg and then into her usual layback position; inside/outside spiral; another spiral; 3 salchow; spiral; back bend is ending pose. This was absolutely magnificent. All I could say was wow! I gave her the most genuine standing ovation I have ever given to anybody-skater or not. I felt so fortunate to be able to see this program live. I didn't even think about the glitch on the 3 lutz. I wanted 6.0s!

Scores:
Skating Techniques: 5.9 5.9 5.8 5.9 5.9 <--amazing technical scores considering the imperfect 3 lutz
Presentation: 5.9 5.9 5.9 5.8 5.9 <-- no 6.0 even though she skated last. I was surprised. She was so artistically perfect. Oh wells.

Final Standings for Ladies
1. Kwan
2. Lu
3. Bonaly
4. Kwiatkowski

Michelle came out to receive her award and bowed. She came out at the end with the other skaters. I got to high-5 her from the boards!

Men's Technical Program

Men's Technical Program Skate Order
1. Ilia Kulik
2. Kurt Browning
3. Philippe Candeloro
4. Todd Eldredge
5. Rudy Galindo

Ilia Kulik: He skated to that "Il Pagliachi?" opera with his half black/half white costume. Elements: 2 axel, flying spin; Ina Bauer into a 3 lutz; flying sit spin; 2 toe; spiral; 2 flip; 2 axel; circular footwork; combo spin including camel/sit/sit/Rudy Galindo type spin; butterflies; spiral

Scores:
Skating Techniques- 5.6 5.6 5.6 5.6 5.6
Presentation- 5.7 5.6 5.6 5.7 5.7
I was surprised by how poorly Ilia skated, only one triple jump when I believe four are allowed.

Kurt Browning: I don't know what music he skated to, but he wore a white top with black pants. Elements: light footwork into 3 toe; ina bauer; a two footed 3 loop; straightline footwork into 2 salchow; a 2 axel that he barely holds onto; 3 toe; 3 toe; sit change sit spin; ina bauer type slide; combo spin that included camel/sit/sit/scratch; footwork; 2 axel

Scores:
Skating Techniques- 5.4 5.7 5.6 5.8 5.7
Presentation- 5.8 5.9 5.8 5.9 5.9
I love his footwork!

Philippe Candeloro: He skated to Dartagnan with the same costume, I love this number. He isn't on the program, he must have replaced Urmanov. Elements: 2 axel; 3 toe; flying camel; 3 lutz; sword fight footwork; flying sit spin; plays with a judge; shaky 3 loop; sword fighting footwork sequence; backflip; 3 toe/2 toe; combo spin that included camel/sit/sit

Scores:
Skating Techniques- 5.7 5.6 5.7 5.7 5.3 <--last mark drew boos from the crowd, I think that last mark is too low.
Presentation- 5.9 5.9 5.9 5.8 5.8

Todd Eldredge: He skated to his Jesus Christ Superstar number in a white top and black pants. Elements: spiral; camel change camel spin; 3 toe; a huge 3 axel that was a little forward; 3 lutz that sent ice flying on the landing; flying sit spin; 3 loop near my seat; spiral; camel/sit spin; 3 toe/2 toe; two 2 axels in a row.

Scores:
Skating Techniques: 5.8 5.8 5.8 5.9 5.8
Presentation: 5.9 5.7 5.8 5.8 5.8
A brilliant program, technically superb and one of Todd's most artistic ever!

Rudy Galindo: Skated to "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" in a complete sky blue outfit with a rainbow sash draped on his back. Elements: 3 axel; sit/grab foot up spin; 3 loop; flying spin; spread eagle; 2 axel/3 toe; sit/y spin; takes off the rainbow sash and holds it up while doing an Ina Bauer (Wow); spirals; 2 axel with sash held in his arms in the air; combo spin including butterfly/camel/layback/sit/Rudy Galindo type spin all while holding the sash.

Scores:
Skating Techniques: 5.7 5.5 5.5 5.8 5.7 <-- I think the 5.5s are low.
Presentation: 5.8 5.8 5.6 5.8 5.7 <-- the 5.6 is absurd.
His scores drew boos and I think he was cheated. A great technical and artistic program.

Standings after Men's Technical Program:
1. Eldredge
2. Browning
3. Candeloro
4. Galindo
5. Kulik

Men's Interpretive Program

Skate Order for Men's Interpretive Program

1. Galindo
2. Kulik
3. Eldredge
4. Candeloro
5. Browning

Rudy Galindo: He skated to a Village People medley in his navy costume and then changes into a striped shirt when the song changes. Elements: 2 axel; 3 flip; 3 toe/3 toe; 2 axel; quick turns; combo spin with butterflies/camel/Rudy Galindo type spin

Scores:
Skating Techniques- 5.4 5.4 5.4 5.4 5.4
Presentation- 5.7 5.7 5.7 5.7 5.7
Huge boos from the crowd. Rudy skated with his usual flair and the judges dished out their usual low marks.

Ilia Kulik: He skated to a tango in a red shirt with black pants and vest. His opening position is by the boards across from the judges. Elements: flying sit spin from a stand still (wow); fall on 3 axel; lutz; knee slide; 3 toe; combo spin with camel/sit/sit/Rudy Galindo type spin; 3 flip; circular footwork into 2 axel; butterflies

Scores:
Skating Techniques- 5.6 5.8 5.7 5.8 5.7
Presentation- 5.4 5.7 5.6 5.8 5.8
I liked the second half of this program a lot.

Todd Eldredge: He skated to a country song called "I Love the Way You Love Me" in black pants and a red shirt with some weird armor looking thing on it. Elements: 3 loop; 3 flip?; 3 axel; camel spin; blows a kiss to the judges; 2 split jumps; knee slide; his usual combo spin including camel/sit/bring leg up/sit/cannonball/scratch - great centering; 2 axel; camel spin

Scores:
Skating Techniques- 5.8 5.9 5.9 5.9 5.9
Presentation - 5.8 5.7 5.7 5.8 5.8
I was disappointed that he chose to do this program. I don't like the song and I don't think he interprets it that well. This would have been a better technical program and his "Jesus Christ Superstar" number would have been a better interpretive program. I think the judges lowered his presentation marks here justly. The guy who sat next to me said it almost moved him to tears though.

Philippe Candeloro: He skated to a Bee Gees medley with that white disco outfit. Elements: 2 axel right in front of me; 3 toe; rubs his behind while looking at the judges; 3 lutz; flying camel right in front of us; he goes over to a kiss a lady in the audience that is only like 5 seats to the left of me; he takes his jacket off; He does those trademark hops of his; backflip; sit spin into his famous knee spin

Scores:
Skating Techniques- 5.6 5.6 5.5 5.6 5.3
Presentation- 5.9 5.9 5.9 5.7 5.6

Kurt Browning: Before he started, he tried to hug a little flower girl twice but she skated away from him both times! Too cute. He skated to "That's Entertainment!" which is a medley of music from classic movies like "Singing in the Rain" and "The Wizard of Oz." Elements: 2 axel; light footwork; spread eagle right into 3 sal/2 loop (WOW); flying sit spin; walley into 2 axel; 3 loop; camel spin with varying arm positions; spectacular footwork sequence while playing the Scarecrow from "The Wizard of Oz"; more footwork with a slight trip up; 2 axel into 3 toe; 2 split jumps; flying sit/scratch spin.

Scores:
Skating Techniques- 5.8 5.8 5.7 5.8 5.7
Presentation- 5.9 5.9 5.9 5.9 5.9
Amazing performance, much better than his first. He delivered the second best performance of the night (the best was Michelle's "Dante's Prayer"). He deservedly won over all 5 judges and beat Eldredge.

Final Standings for the Men:
1. Browning
2. Eldredge
3. Candeloro
4. Kulik
5. Galindo

Party:

I got to go to the party afterwards. It was so nice. Good food and drinks. Michelle was great. She signed a gazillion things for me to bring back to my friends. I also gave her an essay I wrote about her. She promised to read it at a later time. I overheard that Michelle's short program costume is still being made by Jeff Billings.

I met so many people. Rudy's mom was there and he said to her jokingly, "Yeah, last place!" I got his autograph and I told him that I felt he was undermarked. He said that that was how ISU judges are. I got Ilia's autograph and told him I loved the tango. I got Philippe's autograph, but he wasn't too friendly. I got Todd's autograph too. Kurt had to take an early flight out, so I didn't get to see him. I got Surya's autograph and saw her mother there too. I told her "Merci." I saw Tonia but didn't get her autograph. I got LuLu's autograph and told her that I was glad she did "Butterfly Lovers" again. I also got Dick Button's autograph and told him he is the best commentator and that I learned so much from him. I also met people from the ISU like Claire Ferguson and Sally Stapleford. What a night, huh?


Tess's Review

Hello! Last Saturday was my first time watching a competition, I normally would watch the shows like Stars on Ice and Champions on Ice. It's thrilling to watch a competition. The only thing is that I always hold my breath when Michelle does her jumps. She was solid last Saturday though. I liked Michelle's short program - very dramatic, and you can see that she really gets into it by her facial expressions. I still need to get to know her music though. I can see why she may be concerned about her long program not being viewed until the Nationals. One has to hear the music several times to feel it or like it. Michelle did a beautifully executed salchow or flip during warm up.

Her artistic was magical. I love the music - Dante's Prayer. I also love her blue outfit which she wore at the Grand Slam. Very classy. I was so mesmerized watching her do her program - so beautiful, so emotionally touching.

I went down to the aisles after her Dante's Prayer program to hand her a little orange stuffed tiger. There were a some kids in front of me. After she did her bows, she came to our area and gave a group hug to us (I hope I get to see it on TV).

You know, a lot of the skating programs that other skaters perform get a little old after a while, but Michelle's programs seem to grow on you no matter how many times you see them. It's like everytime I watch her do the same program, a new secret or a new feeling or a new message is revealed.


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