Stars on Ice
Kurt List

Kurt Browning's Gotta Skate

Copps Coliseum - Hamilton, ON - Nov. 1, 2002

Written by Tina and Wendy (mostly Tina)

Tina's impressions: I went into this year's show thinking that there was no way they could top last year's show. The cast had fewer dancers, I didn't know who these Edwin and the Pressure people were, and the lack of Roca & Sur combined made it seem like it might turn out to be a weaker show this year. However, coming out of it, all I could think was "that was so much better than last year's!" Sonia played a lot bigger role in this year's show, and everything she and Kurt did was really well integrated into the whole. The diversity of performances was wonderful - I enjoyed almost every program. The only complaint I had? Kurt had *no* solo numbers. Everything he did had someone else on the ice or on stage or segued into someone else's number. But, what he did do on the ice was really good. A lot lower cheese factor in this year's show =). And I really liked the music too. If they do this show again next year, I'm definitely going to be there.

Wendy's impressions: As much as I liked last year's show, I enjoyed this year's even better. I felt this year's show was more cohesive and definitely did not look like a show that was put together in such a short time. Part of this was that there was an MC (Rosalynn Sumners and Kurt sometimes) who introduced everyone while adding interesting tidbits and humor. Also, since Kurt made no pretense that this was not a show made for TV, he would stop and restart what he was saying midstream, sometimes making for an incredibly funny scene (more detail about this in the review). Another great aspect of this year's show was that it better showcased Sonia and her dancing, especially in her number with Kurt. Anyhow, I had a great time at the show and am really glad I went even though I was tired and hungry :).

The show started rather late. The arena was mostly full except there were random rows which were mostly empty scattered through the lower bowl. The upper sections were filled to at least the twelfth row as well, at least on the side that we could see. The stage area was more set-like. It had a abstractly-spotted spray-painted-sheet-like curtain, with a city skyline painted above, and props of crates, boxes, and laundry-type bins, creating an overall gritty feel.

The show began with Kurt talking to the live audience, welcoming the audience and introducing Roz as the MC. She talked about how honored she was to be invited to participate in the show, and how she saw last years show and didn't think Kurt would be able to top it, but after watching rehearsals the last few days she really thought he had outdone himself, and how the audience was really in for a treat because they had an amazing show planned with a little bit of everything from skating, to ballet, to acrobatics... Kurt also mentioned that this wouldn't be like a normal show because it was for TV and there would be retakes (yay!). As he said that, he turned towards the audience, and Ros took the opportunity to grab his right butt cheek, causing him to lose his concentration and the audience to laugh, so he said "you would be distracted too if someone did that to you" and then maybe something like "that's something else you won't see on TV." Then they said something about not being in TV time yet and proceeded to introduce the show all over again for the cameras.

Let the show begin!

Kurt started the show skating to some music we can't remember and was joined shortly thereafter by Sonia onstage. Kurt was wearing leather pants with a dark sparkly shirt. Sonia was wearing a sparkly green half-sleeve midriff baring shirt with skin tight velvety looking purple knee-length pants. Her dance was more contemporary/modern in style, dramatic and intense. Kurt was skating in a similar style, often very far from the stage, making it difficult to decide who to watch, especially since they were both doing interesting things. They ended with Kurt by the stage with Sonia. This number really set the tone for the evening.

We don't exactly remember when the skaters were introduced but Roz came out at some point and said "let's introduce our cast." Lulu was introduced first as a two time Olympic bronze medalist, then Steven was introduced as an eight time British champion, Josee was introduced as "our own three time Canadian champion," Brasseur and Eisler were introduced to a lot of cheers. Kurt introduced Brian as a man who needed no introduction (with Roz adding "two time Olympic silver medalist"), B&S were introduced as Olympic gold medalists, followed by Scott Hamilton. Lastly, Kurt introduced Sonia as "principal dancer with the National Ballet of Canada, Sonia Rodriguez...isn't she cute?" (causing her to do a little curtsy)

Then the skaters gathered in the corner by the stage, and started skating as a group to "Let's Dance" by David Bowie, while Sonia danced on stage. At one point, they lined up by the stage, and broke away by twos to do some featured skating down the ice. Scott and Brian went out and did simultaneous backflips (which got a big response from the crowd). Lulu and Josee went out together and did either spirals or spread eagles (something long and edgy) around in opposite directions and towards each other. B&S and B&E did lifts down the ice after each other, with Isabelle facing backwards in a split (side split?) position, and Elena facing forwards in the same position. They also did simultaneous death spirals and maybe one other move. Kurt and Steven went out doing little bits of footwork (similar to Me and Julio), with Steven following Kurt, and then did a side by side jump (possibly double axel). The opening ended with the skaters converging at the stage, and Sonia being lifted into the air by two of the men (probably Anton and Lloyd).

The skaters all left the ice except for Kurt, and Rosalynn Sumners joined him. They started to introduce Lu Chen, with Kurt saying something like she has beautiful arms, and she's graceful...and let's start this all over again because it's TV, and we can, and that was terrible, wasn't it? Beautiful arms?? The second time Kurt tried to do the introduction, the audience started laughing because this time he said something about lyrical and graceful and beautiful hands, causing him to say something like "you're not going to take me seriously anymore, are you?" to the audience. Finally, they got an intro out (with Ros having to insert the fact that Lu Chen was a two time bronze medalist at the Olympics) and Lu Chen came out in a pseudo-Chinese style red top and shiny black skirt. Instead of leaving the ice with Ros, Kurt stayed on and skated a bit around Lulu as she began the program, doing edges in counterpoint to her spirals, etc. The music started out pretty slow and soft, but soon after he left the ice, the tempo picked up, and Lulu was dancing to "China Girl," also by David Bowie (see above link). This was a fairly typical Lulu program, with a lot of moves that she's used in other programs before. Lulu could definitely skate better than she did for this program - she was a little slow, and the most she attempted were doubles. Something that really made me do a double take in this number - I swear I heard canned applause during one of her early spins coming out of the speakers over the stage. I knew they filmed sections of the audience cheering to use in the broadcast (which they did again this year) but canned applause? Luckily I didn't hear it again during the rest of the show.

Ros then introduced Steven Cousins, saying something about a skater with a lot of sex appeal, charisma, and charm. Steven came out in a tight red and black shirt, black leather pants, and cool red-tinted sunglasses, eliciting more than a few whistles of appreciation from the audience. Unfortunately, neither of us can remember what he skated to, but it was upbeat and dance-like. I (Tina) remember thinking (for both programs) that spending time with Kurt had done him a lot of good, since he seemed a lot more in control of his body and precise with his movements. The program was very enjoyable, we just can't remember the music.

Kurt then came out to introduce Antigravity, talking about how he was lucky enough to skate in the closing ceremonies of the Olympics, and that Antigravity closed the Olympics. He also mentioned something about them being a troupe that combined ballet, dance, gymnastics, etc, and something about the next act being one you might have to look up to see. The four men that comprise Antigravity stepped out on the ice and attached themselves to white cloth ropes that were hanging from pulleys. The number essentially consisted of moves that gymnasts do on the rings, combined with a little of what you might see with Cirque du Soleil. The four men dangled from the ropes by their hands, twisting in the air, doing flips, strength moves (the cross shaped stance where they're holding themselves up with their arms perpendicular to their bodies, the platform?? hold where they're holding their bodies parallel to the ice, etc)...they also did a cool move where they look like they're walking up the air, ending up upside down with the ropes twisted around their feet. They then did some stuff while hanging upside down (generally more twisting). They were periodically lowered to the ice and raised (probably to give their arms a break). While on the ice, they would dance around, doing different steps, etc. The four men were very very into the act, particularly the one nearest us =), bopping along and trying to engage the audience. In fact, I think the guy nearest us periodically was late with the cues because he was too busy grinning into the audience =). Towards the end of this number, Kurt and Sonia came out - Kurt on the ice, Sonia on stage, pointing and pantomiming to each other like wow! look at that! Then Kurt looked at Sonia like, "want to?" and Sonia nodded, so Kurt picked her up in his arms and skated her out to one of the guys, placing her in his arms. They got pulled up into the air with Sonia in a rather nice position (I think he was hanging from his armpits). Then he went over to the guy next to him, hung on to his feet, and got pulled up in the air (guy was hanging from his hands) as well. The two of them went higher and higher, turning around - Kurt was almost in a flying position (body trailing behind him) while Sonia looked as comfortable as could be in the guy's arms. Kurt looked both nervous and like he was having the time of his life at the same time =). Finally the two of them were lowered to the ice, and the six of them ended in a nice pose together. One funny moment about this final pose - two of the guys lay on the ice in front of the group with fists up in the air...for some reason Kurt pushed down the fist of one of the guys who was right in front of him jokingly, who looked surprised and laughed back up at him. From their interactions through the evening, I'd say Kurt and the Antigravity guys developed a pretty good rapport =).

The Antigravity number was followed by Josee, skating to a rather odd song that didn't seem to have much music to it (or at least background music). Also, wearing a rather odd costume that I *think* she designed herself, but that unfortunately I didn't like very much. It was a rather dark grey, simple outside over yellow - quite plain, and not a very flattering combination of colors. The program was nice though, and she did a nice job of interpreting the music, such as it was.

The next program was the first of two done to music Kurt's skated to before -in this case, Brasseur & Eisler skating to Radar Love. Isabelle was introduced as the mother of Gabriella, just two years old that day, and Lloyd was "no longer available" or something like that. This was a fairly typical Brasseur & Eisler program - upbeat with lots of tricks. I have to say, the Canadian crowd really loves these two. Fun number.

Brian Orser's Hallelujah number came next. I really liked this program - it was a step more dramatic than some of the numbers he's done recently, and he really put some nice interpretation and emotion into his skating. Nice footwork, nice jumps (though he had to redo a couple during retakes). Probably one of my favorites of any of his recent programs.

After Brian skated off, two people covered in satiny white sheets skated slowly onto the ice, the shorter one skating to the other end while the taller one stayed towards the tunnel. Some Elvis music (can't recall which song at the moment) came on and Anton pulled off his sheet, revealing himself to be dressed in a white Elvis outfit and started bopping along with the music. He skated over to Elena, still covered in her sheet, even lifting her up in the air, and having her skate around him before (I think) some Marilyn Monroe music came on and she whipped her sheet off, revealing herself to be dressed as Marilyn Monroe. The number was Elvis music, interspersed rather jarringly every now and then with clips of Marilyn Monroe "boop-boop-de-doop"ing, which was rather odd. Anton seemed to be having the time of his life, really playing the Elvis persona up (well, more of an Elvis-wannabe who's not very good b/c he's enjoying himself too much ;)). Elena, by contrast, seemed almost too subdued to play her Marilyn Monroe part well, but still did a nice job. Aside from the weird music cuts, Anton's obvious sense of fun in the program combined with the nice upbeat nature (and their throws, which were quite impressive to someone more used to watching the single throws in pro skating) made for a fun program to watch. They also had some neat choreographic moments, like Elena doing a spread eagle while Anton followed her in a spiral, or Elena doing a split on Anton's back while he does a spiral (which seems to be a signature move, since they did it in their other number as well).

The next number was the highlight of the evening for me. It was Kurt/Sonia/Alex Antonijevic's program together, and it was done incredibly well. I think Roberto Campanella put this together (from something Kurt said in the retakes), which makes sense since the dance on stage and the skating on the ice blended together too well to have been done by a figure skating choreographer (sorry, Lea Ann Miller). The number opened with a chair out on the ice, and Kurt alone on the ice staring at the chair. He skated in a white spot around the chair, looking lonely and moody, occasionally looking longingly towards the stage. His choreography in this number tended towards being very bendy - bending towards the chair or towards the stage as he did footwork and turns around. At one point, the choreography was very similar to Chairmen, as Kurt sat or knelt on the chair and spun himself around the ice. Eventually (not quite sure when b/c I was so captivated watching him), Sonia and Alex appeared on stage, Alex dressed in the identical grey shirt and black pants as Kurt. Their dance, in conjunction with Kurt's skating on the ice, set the theme of the piece, with Kurt reaching towards Sonia, but stopped by an invisible barrier on the ice, and Sonia dancing on stage, striving to reach towards Kurt, but always being brought back to the ground by Alex, who would reach out and draw her back as she bent towards Kurt. The dancers would occasionally break out and dance independently of Kurt as Sonia seemed to give into the inevitable barrier between the stage and ice, but then she'd always end up reaching for Kurt, and Alex would draw her back to the back of the stage, where they would stand, frozen, while Kurt skated out his longing for her, his jealousy, and his frustration at being unable to get out of the box and reach her. There were a few bits where what Kurt did and what Alex did mirrored each other, but the most interesting part to me was when Kurt skated, turning, towards the stage, only to stop dead and stare at his rival, who had left Sonia behind and stood at the edge of the stage, looking challengingly at Kurt. Both their stances were fairly aggressive, and their choreography mirrored each other down the stage/ice, doing the same general steps and turns, and then back up again (they got a little out of sync in the return but it didn't disturb the mood very much). It was almost as if Alex was throwing in Kurt's face that he could be up there on stage dancing with Sonia the way Kurt wanted to be. Eventually, the two dancers left the stage, leaving Kurt to skate around his box, sad and despondent. Suddenly, Sonia comes sliding out of the tunnel on her own chair towards Kurt, who immediately brightens up. The barrier is breached, Sonia is finally out there on the ice with Kurt. The choreography here was fairly reminiscent of the Chair Tango from last year's Stars on Ice, with Kurt pushing Sonia and spinning her around on the chair. They finally ended this program with a nice (and fairly surprising) lift, with Kurt lifting Sonia straight up above his head (she was basically sitting on his hand with legs extended?) and I think even turning a little (I have a photo of her back and then one of them from the front so they must have turned). As he lifted her, it started "raining" from the ceiling, so the final shot was of them looking happy in the rain. I was particularly surprised by this lift because Kurt's no pair skater, and I was frankly surprised he could lift her straight up like that. This was a *great* number, emotional, heartfelt, thematic, with wonderful choreography - wonderful concept, amazing execution. I can't wait to see it again on TV, since I'm sure I missed a lot during the actual program.

The first act closed with Antigravity coming back out on the ice in their "antigravity boots" - stilt-like springy attachments to their shoes that let them bounce to impressive heights. These were the same apparatus they used in the closing ceremonies of the Olympics. While their previous number was pretty cool (though not quite as interesting as it could have been), this one brought the house down. Those guys can do amazing things in those boots. From just bouncing really high in a circle, to doing can-can like steps, to some incredible flips and twists in the air, they were constantly in action and kept the audience's jaws nailed to the floor. At one point, they did passes of a series of jumps and flips, almost like a gymnastics floor routine, down the ice. It was pretty incredible. If I remember correctly, the audience jumped to their feet at the conclusion of the number, as the guys belly flopped their way off the ice with stilts in the air.

After a 20 minute intermission, the second act opened with Kurt and Ros again MCing and prepping the audience. Ros asked Kurt what it was like being suspended up in the air with the Antigravity guys and he answered "don't look down, just don't look down." If I remember correctly, it was during this part where one of the Antigravity guys came bounding out in his antigravity boots, boinged around the stage for a while, and then went running back out as Ros was saying "can I get a pair of those myself?" and Kurt said something about them being attention hogs, don't pay attention to them. After some chat, which I unfortunately can't quite remember, they introduced recording artist Deborah Cox, and Lu Chen. Lu Chen skated to Deborah singing live (don't remember the song) and actually did a lot nicer of a job with this program than she had with the first. She actually landed a couple triple jumps (not remembering which at this point), and while the number was still filled with a lot of trademark Lulu does flirty dance number moves, she carried them off quite well while interacting with Deborah up on the stage.

After the song ended, Lulu left the stage while Deborah Cox thanked Kurt for inviting her to this incredible event, and then promoed her new CD (Morning After that I think was being released 11/5). She then said she'd sing a song off her new album, "Absolutely Not." When she started singing the song alone on stage, my first thought was oh no, one of those featured solos by a guest singer. However, I was quickly proved wrong when she was joined on stage by the Antigravity guys (this time on foot), who were soon followed by Josee, Isabelle, Elena, and Lulu, all in skate guards, and each dancing with an Antigravity guy. After dancing together on stage, Josee quickly slipped off her skate guards and skated out on the ice, and was soon joined by the other three girls, turning it into a bit of a girls' number, while the Antigravity guys danced in the background (I think). I remember at one point, Josee and Lu Chen did spirals around and towards each other, followed by Elena and Isabelle doing spread eagles while reaching their arms towards each other. The four of them also did simultaneous spins in the middle of the ice. Towards the end of the number, the girls went back on the stage (putting their skate guards back on) and continued to dance with the guys. The number ended with each pair in a different position - I think Isabelle was being held overhead in kind of a one-handed Detroiter position, Lulu and Josee being dipped, and Elena also being held overhead. (BTW it might have been in this number or later in the finale that the guys did a segment of pretty cool jumps and flips, and then two of them started breakdancing on the stage)

If that Deborah Cox number was the girls' number, then the next was the guys'. Kurt came out on the ice dressed in tight jeans, a funky designed long sleeve shirt, and a denim vest, and started talking about how he always wanted to be a rock star when he was growing up. He went on about this for a little while, and then went on to say, now he has the clothes (indicating himself), and these guys (indicating Edwin and the Pressure, who had come on stage after they lifted the curtain that hid the band's equipment) were going to help him make his dream of being a rock star come true. He said that ever since he heard their album "Another Spin Around the Sun", he found that their CD kept spinning around his player. He finally put down the microphone and the music started. I don't quite remember what it was anymore - might have been someting like I want to be a rock star, but I'm a little skeptical? Anyway, Kurt starts out doing all sorts of "rock star moves", from standing with his back to the audience, and his fingers down in a sort of peace sign by his butt, to pointing with a "cool" sneer at the audience, to doing a sort of funky air guitar stance. Then, a blond, long-haired wig gets lowered from the ceiling, which he promptly throws on his head, and then really starts rocking out around the ice, where he was joined by Brian, Scott, and Steven, also in their own respective wigs, tie-dyed shirts, and vests (I think Kurt's, or maybe Jef Billings', image of a rock star solidified in the 80's ;)). Scott's wig looked kind of like his Hair wig, Steven's was a reddish color, while Brian's was a dark curly mop on his head. The four of them skated off down the ice, rock star wannabes headbanging and bopping down the ice. The choreography here was a little similar to "Sin Wagon" in that the guys largely followed Kurt down the ice as he did some steps or choreography, doing the same general thing as he did. What was particularly funny was that the lead singer and the rest of the band looked like they were trying their best not to crack up at the skaters' antics while they were performing =). The four guys eventually ran up to the stage, doing "we're not worthy" bows towards the band, before joining them up on stage and banging away. After the number ended, Roz came out laughing and said something to the effect of "when's the last time you ever saw Scott with that much hair?" (my thought, during his Hair program a few years back), and then "and Brian Orser! he looks like he just stepped off the podium of the '84 Olympics!" eliciting a huge laugh from the crowd.

The audience had to calm down a bit for the next number, Isabelle and Lloyd skating to INXS' Never Tear Us Apart, a number they did last year on the CSOI tour. This number was a bit slower and more dramatic than what they're primarily known for, but still filled with tricks as well as some more interesting choreography. At the same time, I thought it was funny that some of the dramatic moments in the music were filled by...crossovers...but overall the program was quite nice.

B&E were followed by Josee, skating a number in a foreign language (definitely European, probably not French) in a red dress. The number started with her taking a necklace off her head, looking at it, skating around, and then putting it back on her head, so I'm guessing there was some significance to it (being able to understand the lyrics might have helped). This song was slower and more lyrical than her previous number, and she did a nice job to it. There were in particular some nice dramatic moments to the piece that she carried off wonderfully. Overall a wonderful program from Josee.

Kurt came out next (in the opening number sweater that he didn't wear during the opening number) to show us a little glimpse of backstage. I think it might have been here, or a little later, that he came out, started talking, it came out completely garbled (I didn't understand a word he said), causing him to abruptly about face and march straight back into the tunnel to much laughter. He finally came out and managed to talk coherently =). As Kurt talked, Alex came out in warmups, and Sonia in a rather silly looking tutu and pink leotard. They were shortly followed by Scott Hamilton, dressed in black sweats and white sneakers. Alex and Sonia went through some warm up ballet moves, while Scott did his own little form of ballet moves off to the side. Kurt watched and told the audience how Scott knew ballet, and had been wanting to do some ballet numbers. While he was saying this, Alex had been preparing to lift Sonia, when he was elbowed aside by Scott (who I *think* might actually be shorter than Sonia) who put his own hands on Sonia's waist and started "lifting" her - about a foot or so off the ground, with Sonia looking awkward and confused, kind of looking like "hey...put me down!" As soon as Scott set her down, Sonia moved quickly towards Alex, looking like she wanted nothing to do with Scott. Scott continued to offer himself as a ballet partner, eventually driving Sonia and Alex off stage. Kurt said something about not knowing what was going to happen later in the show, but we should keep watching...as he said this, Scott comes running back across the stage and does some mock leaps across the stage, completely cracking Kurt up.

Kurt then goes on to introduce Steven, who came out and skated an amazing program to Wicked Games by Chris Isaak. The choreography and execution of this program were smouldering. This number took full use of Steven's sex appeal in a way they normally don't take advantage of in SOI. Rather than being overly campy and playing to the audience, Steven very effectively brought out the mood and intensity of the song. This was an *excellent* program (good jumps too) that I would love to see Steven do in SOI. It's probably one of the best programs I've seen him do live (I've only seen him in SOI). Once again, you could see Kurt's influence here - Steven's movements were very controlled and precise, and you could just sense the coiled energy there.

After Steven came the second "hey, didn't Kurt skate to that?" program of the evening, Brian Orser skating to Beyond the Sea. Wearing the costume he wore for (I think) Summer Wind, Brian carried off the light, swingy song well, though I have to admit that I much preferred his first number. This was a nice, light, happy number nonetheless, and quite enjoyable to watch.

Following Brian's number came Alexsandar and Sonia's pas de deux from Swan Lake. Ironically, even though I've seen very little ballet in my life, I've actually seen this pas de deux before, and it was interesting to watch the two of them do it. This was a beautiful, if somewhat repetitive number, that showed off Sonia's beautiful positions and flexibility really well. I think I somewhat preferred last year's more dramatic and showy Four Seasons pas de deux with Rex Harrington, but this one still captivated.

This beautiful real ballet (how ballet should be) was followed by Scott Hamilton's ballet parody, Don Quixote (how ballet shouldn't be). The crowd still got a kick out of Scott's mock proud stance, his silly ballet-like movements, and his overweening pride in his own stuffed codpiece. Very cutely done, though a bit jarring after the solemnity of Swan Lake. I realize that Kurt intended the jarring juxtaposition, but I'm not sure I was all that fond of it. Program brought the audience to their feet, though =).

The last solo program of the evening was B&S's "The Kid", their Charlie Chaplin number. This number had a lot of charm to it, but has been seen many places before, so I won't go into detail about it.

After their program ended, Ros and Kurt came back out on the ice. They took the time to thank Lea Ann Miller for her wonderful choreography and direction (pointing her out at the booth in the back), as well as Jef Billings for his wonderful costumes. Kurt also thanked the folks at the Copps Coliseum for making it rain - said that his choreographer, Roberto Campanella, wanted it to rain at the end of the number but they couldn't make it happen (wasn't in the budget or something?) but the wonderful folks at the Coliseum rigged it up and made it rain for them right there in the arena. Ros asked Kurt what it was like to skate with his wife, and he said "the most important thing is, don't drop my wife. don't drop her. as long as i didn't drop her, then everything's good" or something like that. Kurt also commented about the rock star wannabe number, saying it was really cool to go like this "pfft" (as he blew out his lips) and blow my bangs away from my face.

Essentially, most of this talk was to kill time as they prepared the stage for the band, and once the band was ready, Kurt started skating to the finale number - "It's So Good To Be Alive". From what I remember of this number, it was more great choreography (much of it in that bendy style - bent spread eagle, bent reaching out towards the stage), footwork, and interpretation by Kurt. Would have been a great solo except he was shortly joined by the other skaters on the ice, skating up and down en masse (neither the intro or finale group portions particularly stood out, though Kurt's solo sections did). As the show ended and the cast gathered in the middle to take their bows, the Antigravity guys came bounding out again in their boots around the skaters. When the skaters broke up and started skating to the stage, several of them, including Steven and Kurt, started jumping up and down pretty high in imitation of the guys in their boots. I noticed Kurt jumping up and down with his hands in one of the Antigravity guy's hands (he was helping him get higher) when suddenly one of the other guys came up behind him and grabbed and lifted him, I think scaring the hell out of him since he basically jumped and whipped around to see who had grabbed him.

Of course, the show wasn't over at this point, since there were still retakes to do. Kurt and Ros killed some more time with the mics (but I can't remember anything of what they said, I think they pointed out Lea Ann Miller again, Kurt said something about being on the phone with her all summer working on ideas for the show. i think they also promoed when the show would be on TV again for like the millionth time). Finally Brian Orser came out to do his retake - Kurt was like "and here's Brian Orser, who's still doing up his pants!" (i think it might not have been buttoned, and the legs were unzipped - guess they were tearaways or whatever you call them?)... he went over to Brian and was like "you're a mess!" and started helping him adjust his clothing, while Roz started fiddling with his hair, commenting that his hair was a mess. As Brian skated away after getting properly fitted, he said something about "at least I have some!"...Kurt, who was skating off the ice at the time, bent over laughing, and then came threateningly back towards Brian, who quickly skated away, saying "that's the last time I'm going to be invited to a Kurt Browning special". Oh yeah, and earlier, they asked him what he had to retake and he said "my salchow", pronouncing it like it's spelled. It took Brian a couple tries, as I recall, but he finally got his jump down and could go. While they waited for the next skater to come out, Kurt came back out to promo the sponsors, saying where's that Smuckers logo? I know it's around here somewhere, I saw it! before he finally looked down and went "oh there it is!" (it was painted in the ice again). He said that if you enjoyed the show, maybe you could support the sponsors who gave the money that made the show possible - take a look around at the logos and company names and support them next time you're in the supermarket. Finally, Steven Cousins came out to do his retake - also a salchow. Steven was greeted by a lot of whistles and cheers, causing him to laugh embarrassedly (and also happily, I think) and which delayed him restarting his program (Wicked Game). Unfortunately, this wasn't Steven's night for salchows, and he had to retry several times. After the second try, he mildly shocked us by appearing to throw a somewhat naughty gesture up at the sky in frustration. He finally landed a very shaky salchow, and skated off somewhat sheepishly (but still with the million watt smile).

After Steven left the ice, Scott emerged, followed by Kurt carrying Leah (his dog). The dog was adorable, though Kurt had to call her into the tunnel since he put her down before reaching it, and she was running around, a bit confused, I think =). Scott was about to restart his program when Kurt came out to tell him they were switching the tape. Scott immediately grabbed a microphone from Kurt, understanding that he should entertain the crowd while they were waiting. He said that they were changing the tape since they knew it was him, and that they'd need a lot of tape for the retakes. He said he hoped we were patient. He also said that he'd been away for a year and skating in front of this Copps Coliseum crowd has made him realize just how much he misses it. He added that being away for a year has made him out of practice... if he was in practice, he'd remember that when taping a special, when doing the (triple sal? toe?) and it goes up that big, he should pull in. And when he's doing the double axels, he should really go for it, or he'd have to retake them later. Finally, the tape was ready, so Scott put down the microphone. The music started running, far earlier than the jumps he needed, so Scott mimed the motions he'd be doing, including all the laying on the ice, etc that he does, before going through and I believe landing his jumps on the first try. Scott's retake, I believe was followed by Josee's. They jokingly asked Josee if she was going to retake the salchow as well (since that seemed to be the jump to miss of the night) - she said no, the triple toe, but it could be a salchow if they liked...they said, maybe both! She was like..yeah..maybe both with a grin on her face. as I recall, she also had some problems with her retakes, finally settling on a jump that wasn't all that steady. I guess both she and Lea Ann Miller thought it was acceptable though, since they didn't redo it again.

I almost forgot - at some point during the retakes, Kurt took the opportunity to say hi to his family (who were apparently sitting a few rows behind me in several spots in the same section). Then he told the whole arena to say "Happy 80th Birthday, Dad" and then led us all in singing Happy Birthday to his father Dewey, who stood and waved to everyone. It was really sweet, and I have to say - Dewey looks nowhere near 80 years old.

After the retakes ended, Kurt and Ros came out to thank the audience again and say a few closing remarks. Overall the show was a great one. Great music, great concept, great execution...they did such a good job of integrating Kurt and Sonia into their numbers this year, and the whole show just was so much fun to watch. I had a wonderful time, and am looking forward to seeing it on TV (W Network in Canada on 11/29 from 9-11PM and NBC on 12/1 from 4-6PM EST).