Stars on Ice
Kurt in SOI
Creative Team

Stars on Ice Review - Detroit, MI - Feb. 8, 2003

written by Judy

Saturday night SOI played the Palace of Auburn Hills in metropolitan Detroit. The crowd was slightly larger than last year. The lower bowl was about 80% full and the upper level about 10% full.

The show was better than last year and one of the best in recent years. The crowd wasn't all that loud, except for our section.

The Opening Number - The Great & Powerful Oz
I'm not really an Ozzy fan and I thought the music was too loud for the arena. The music was not your typical skating music but did set a mood for the audience to 'get ready to rock'.

The cast came out and skated well. They seem to really feel comfortable with both the music and choreography. The highlight was towards the end when Kut and Scott did double axels in near perfect unison.

Born To Be Wild
Alexei skated this on Saturday. The footwork was the predominant memory of this number. I loved his dydroplaning near the end. Alexei looked very cautious and it was obvious he was holding back on his technical moves. But still very enjoyable.

Bed of Roses - Kyoko and John
Nice choreography (by Sasha Zhulin). I loved the Spread Eagles. Several different lifts and pairs moves. This is one pair where you notice the man more than the women.

John looked great in his light blue t-shirt and lt blue cotton jeans. I don't remember anything else about Kyoko.

Come Fly with Me - Jamie and David
David wore white shirt with narrow black tie and black pants. Jamie wore a halter style white flowing dress with yellow at the edges. This number just flowed magically. Lots of great moves that went perfectly with the music and their personalities. I can't remember any specific moves because I was really into listening and watching them. Jamie and David were smooth and fluid; the audience flew them through the number.

Channel 1 Suite - Todd
This jazzy number sounded like a competitive number. Several good jumps and footwork was OK. The music has some slow spots and some fast spots. Todd's footwork seemed to be too slow for the music at some points. This was choreographed by Richard Callaghan so I can understand the 'competitive feeling'.

Richard was in the audience and so were many of Todd's local fans. (Todd's home is only about 10 minutes away from the arena).

Hotter Than Blue - Katarina / Gorsha / John
Katarina came out in a lime green dress. She didn't do anything technical. I watched the men. This is a 'filler number' where the audience just watches the sexy people in the number. No real skating, but lots of sex appeal.

Over Come - Alexei
Again Alexei was tentative. His jumps were just triple toes. His only combo was triple toe, triple toe, double loop. The audience loved him again, but I could tell Alexei wasn't 100% technically. But, Alexei was perfect with his sense of the audience. He wanted to entertain the audience and he was able to do that with simpler jumps and slower footwork. The audience appreciated his effort.

I'm Your Man - Jenni and Todd
I always associate this song with Gary Beacom, but Todd Sand comes close. Todd's and Jenni's facial expressions were perfect for the number. We had on-ice seats and could really appreciate the number.

This is not a 'family show number'. If you listen to the lyrics and watch the choreography it is adult humor. It could be toned down if it is ever aired on TV. The lyrics about 'examing every inch of your body' aren't bad, but the position of the lift is questionable. The audience enjoyed it. If any kids were there they probably weren't listening to the lyrics (I hope).

The only fall of the evening occurred on the throw axel. They went into it too slow and Jenni stumbled but got back up.

How Do You Keep the Music Playing - Kurt
So Kurt, How do you keep the skating going ? The number was technically perfect. The double axel had great height. I loved the three turns into the triple toe. He did a triple salchow and a few other triple toes.

Footwork was true Kurt. He was on that night. Kurt was really enjoying the number. It shows that he feels comfortable with the number and his performance comes from his heart. This was choreographed by Sandra Bezic and her years of experience with Kurt shows. Kurt feels so comfortable with the choreography that I feel that he did a lot of it himself. This is a great number for Kurt this year.

Power Play -- Elena & Anton / Jamie & David / Todd
Cut Todd's vocals. The audience is here to see skating, not here to here someone lecturing.

This number closes the first act. But it is a 'downer'. Closing numbers should grab the audience and make them crave for the second half to begin. At the end of the number when the lights went on I looked at the program to see if they were skipping a number. This number capitalizes on the Salt Lake City competition; let the past rest. Interesting thing is that no choreographer is listed on the program. I guess nobody wants to admit to this mistake.


Studz - THE MEN !
This should close the first act. The audience needs time to cool off after this. What can I say about Kurt / David / Todd Sand / Gorsha / Alexei / John dancing around in tight jeans. They had a great time and the audience really appreciated it.

This is a classic SOI group number. I think it should be expanded out next year. SOI has never repeated a group number, but this should be the first. The ladies like to see cowboys prancing around on the ice. They can change the music next year, but keep the cast.

I can honestly say I can't remember much of the technical skating moves. They did some pseudo pairs lifts that were a lot of fun for the men. The men were having fun out there and it showed. I didn't even pay attention to the song because my senses were concentrating on the visual sights.

The Rest of Your Life - Katarina
Katarine, spend the rest of your life off the ice. She is way past her prime on the ice and the audience knows it. She wore a purple dress with a very sheer front. The panties on her outfit were black and jsut didn't match the skirt. This number was just pure sex appeal for the men in the audience.

Is it a coincidence that this number followed the sexy men ? One number gets the women worked up while the men sulk. While the women are cooling off, the men get their turn.

Miserere - Todd
Another Andrea Bocelli number choreographed by Richard Callaghan. Sounds like another competitive number. Technically Todd is still at his prime. He did several great triples. He did his triple lutz but had a terrible takeoff - he was almost parallel to the ice. But, Todd (and his cat legs) managed to actually land the jump. That was the most entertaining part of the number.

Todd is obviously going through a transition phase. This is his first year of touring with SOI full time. He was probably smart to stick with Callaghan for his choreography in a 'comfort zone'. But I would like to see him work with Christopher Dean next year.

The Prayer - Renee and Gorsha
Wow ! The moves just flow. The lifts, turns, edges, choreography just flows. A classic number. This is one number you need to see in person to appreciate it.

Slippery Side Up - Kurt
True Kurt. Great comical number; only Kurt can do these. The audience appreciates him and Kurt appreciates them.

In this number Kurt gives his skate guards to a fan. He happened to find a little girl (about 2 years old) that had on ice seats with her parents. She was standing in front of the chairs and was too young to understand what ws going on. But Kurt just played it up. Not only is he a great entertainer, but he'll be a great father.

Love on the Rocks - Kyoko & John / Jenni and Todd / Renee & Gorsha
This is a cute group number that works well. The six skaters are doing some cute moves that grabs the audience's attention. I admit to watching John throughout the whole number. He's in a tight white t-shirt and I appreciate the great costuming.

Elvis & Marilyn - Elena & Anton
I hated this number. I don't care for Elvis and Marilyn impersonators. They're both dead; let them rest in peace. Interesting that Tamara Moskvina was a co-choreographer; it's an amateur exhibition number, keep it to the ISU competitions.

Lovin Touchin Squeezin - Jamie and David
This number is pure attitude ! It's obvious Jamie and David are a couple off the ice and they're not afraid to show their feelings. They have attitude and the moves are just so natural for them. They are true entertainers.

Technically they are still at their prime. A gorgeous triple twist. Great death spiral, etc.

It's interesting how Jamie and David's classic number followed Elena and Anton's dead number. The audience walks away with their own viewpoint about who should have really won the gold medal. (Doesn't Canadian Sandra Bezic plan the program ????)

Racing - Alexei
He came out skating to the checkered flag. This is the true Alexei ! Great jumps, including triple flip. Fast footwork; great choreography. A real crowd pleaser. If his injury is still bothering him, it doesn't show. It looks like he got a boost of adrenalin from the Studz number and it carried forward to this performance.

I question why the injured Alexei has three solo numbers. Kurt should take over Born to be Wild and leave Alexei with the other two. He is too valuable of an asset to SOI (and the fans) to risk losing him. I am partial to this because I want to see more Kurt.

Can't Stop - Cast
The show had to come to an end and this is one of the better closing numbers in recent years. The audience didn't want the skaters to stop skating. The skaters were having a good time and didn't want them to stop either. It left the audience with a good feeling at the end of the show, and a want to see the show again.

At the end of the number Kurt was right in front of us. He opened up his shirt as if he was saying, 'look'. I don't know if any of the other men did either.

Overall Rating - I give the show an A this year.

No props this year and that was positive. It was pure skating.

The audience response was 'average'. I was surprised they were not louder during Todd Eldredge's numbers. He's the hometown boy and had a group of friends in the audience.

Kurt seemed to be the true star of the show. He ws the crowd favorite and a leader of the cast. John was the 'most watched' of the evening. I think he skated with someone out there but I don't remember what she looked like.

Jamie and David have made a smooth transition to the pro circuit. They are true performers. Jamie has the charisma and David has the comedic role.

Elena and Anton need to get pro numbers.

Jenni and Todd have real personality on the ice. Give them some more comedy routines.

Todd is transitioning much like Kurt did his first year. Next year he should be ready to branch out to a Christopher Dean or Sandra Bezic number.

Alexei is a natural for SOI. Let's pray he stays healthy.

Renee and Gorsha are natural performers and well seasoned veterans.

Katarina Witt. She's past her prime and is just there for the sex appeal. I don't know if she is a factor in ticket sales; SOI could save a lot of money by keeping her at home modeling.

John Zimmerman is a great looking skater. I can't remember anything about Kyoko. In most pairs, people watch the lady and don't pay much attention to the man. (Everyone watches Jamie and David is just her support). But with this pair, John is the one who shines. They have real potential with SOI.

People watching in the crowd. Yuka Sata and Jason Dunjeon. Elizabeth Punsalon and Jerod Swallow. Richard and Mandy Callaghan. Larissa Spielberg and Craig JoRight. All the local elite skaters were there.

Steven Cousins was there. He had on-ice seats with two of his friends and he was part of the entertainment. He was really cheering on the skaters. The skaters knew he was there and played up on it. That is probably why Kurt opened up his shirt. He was six seats away from me and we chatted with him during the intermisison.

Steven is doing well after his surgery. He's walking without pain or a limp. He said he's getting fitted for a brace this week and will be on skates shortly. He's keeping his fingers crossed and is planning on being back for the Canadian leg of the tour. He has a great attitude and is determined

He was saying how different it is for him to watch the show from the sidelines. He said it was an odd feeling. But he's motivated and both him and his doctors and therapists are optimistic for a full recovery.

Highlight for the evening - STUDZ

Suggestion for next year - more cowboy numbers with men in tight jeans.

They had advance order forms. I have a few extras if anyone needs one for Detroit. (Contact me privately).

I'm disappointed that I will be seeing only one SOI show in the States. I usually see a second one in Michigan or Ohio, but the schedule has changed this year and other close cities are during my trip to Worlds.

I will be seeing the show in Canada and hope it follows the same format. (except for Katarina and Elena and Anton's solo).

Good work skaters (and congrats to everyone reading this long review; I didn't think it would be this long).