Stars on Ice
Kurt in SOI
Creative Team

Stars on Ice Review - San Jose, CA - Feb. 10, 2008

written by Tina

I will confess something. This year, I went into Stars on Ice not expecting much, and not knowing much. In past years, I would have read reviews, found out more about the programs, watched the full telecast... this year I only knew the theme and had a vague idea what a few of the programs were. I knew that Christopher Dean was no longer involved, and that Stars on Ice was in the hands of a choreographer I hadn't heard of, Cindy Stuart. And I knew that many of my favorite skaters were no longer on tour.

On the other hand, there were skaters I was excited to see on tour this year - I was looking forward to Ina & Zimmerman, who I'd heard had some particularly interesting programs. I enjoyed Shen & Zhao on the Canadian tour last year and was looking forward to seeing them again. I'd heard good things about Michael Weiss' programs. I love Yuka Sato. And Ilia Kulik, who was performing in San Jose this year, is always a treat. So I still made a particular effort, the week before the show, to find the best seat I could. And after a lot of wrangling with Ticketmaster, I managed to get two seats in the 7th row near the aisle, one section off center ice, right on the blue line. Not bad for last minute seats.

I found this year's Stars on Ice a very pleasant surprise. I enjoyed it a heck of a lot more than I expected to, and my friend who was with me said she thought the show was better than the last one she'd gone to, two years ago (not that she could really remember the show, she was just more favorably impressed with this one). It wasn't the best Stars on Ice ever, but it was really quite good, and I left quite pleased.

As usual, I did have to ignore the theme to really enjoy the show. I've said it in every review the last few years, but I really wish Stars on Ice would give up these unifying theme attempts. I mean really, "LIVE and in COLOR"? As opposed to dead and black and white? I realize they were trying to emphasize going to see the live show (ie paying tickets, showing up at the arena) over watching skating on TV, but given the heavy use of video screens in the in-between segments and given that well, we were there watching it live, it was just odd. On the other hand, that *is* a far easier theme to stick to since the show is naturally live and in color, so in that sense it didn't bug me b/c they were deviating too much from the theme, as in past years.

The video transitions in between were alternately cute, funny, strange, and overly long at times. I won't remember in a million years which one went where, so just a quick set of the ones I remember... There was the Brady Bunch one where the skaters mugged in their blue squares as they sang about their family of skaters, and ending with "Todd Eldredge as Alice" winking absurdly at the camera. There were a few videos of just people's feet in skates, doing quick dancing footwork steps in place on the ice, or just wiggling and dancing and stepping in time to the music. There was "a day in the life" to Coldplay's Clocks which fastforwarded its way through the skaters waking up, brushing their teeths, warming up at the rink, playing soccer, coming out of the bus, and finally, stepping through the tunnel onto the ice. There was another video playing with video effects - these out of an old Michael Jackson video - morphing each skater's face from one to another which was both strangely effective and really really creepy. There was a video set to "Shiny Happy People" by REM where various cast and crew members waved, smiling, at the camera...

As far as non-video intros went, there was a weird bit where Marie-France and Patrice came out and spoke in French to the crowd while the videos translated only a subset of what they said (basically, we are happy to be here in Smuckers Stars on Ice). Another weird bit had Sasha coming out to talk about how great music was, and musical interpretation, and then saying "One of my favorites..." then pausing to take a piece of paper out of an envelope "Nessun Dorma." That was odd b/c it was clearly supposed to be like she was announcing the winner at an awards show, but "one of my favorites?" That's not how you introduce an unknown winner. Jennifer Robinson early on was up in the stands offering to take an audience question and then asking the audience to telephone the question down when she couldn't hear it ("Why is Sasha Cohen so flexible?" "She's actually increased her flexibility this season - she used to be able to touch her foot to her head, but now she can touch it to her shoulder (or something)"). At another point, Yuka and Michael came out to talk about how great their fans were and Michael saying how their fans send them gifts backstage, follow them from city to city, etc, and how they would basically do anything for the skaters, so he would basically do anything for them, even give him the shirt off his back. Yuka called him on it - "you talk the talk, but will you walk the walk?" - Michael first demurred saying it was his favorite shirt - had the autograph of every cast member on it - and then agreed to give it away. They settled on a really cute little girl in the on-ice seats who was so excited she couldn't stop bouncing around and waving, and Michael pretended to strip, before showing off his undershirt and saying "come on, what were you expecting, this is a family show!" He gave the girl his shirt, and then posed for a photo with her after she exuberantly threw her arms around his neck. There were probably other in-betweens but they're slipping my mind at the moment.

I do have to say, that the attempt to emphasize Sasha as "the star" was a little sad but at the same time strangely ineffectual. In the opening number, she wasn't introduced with the rest of the skaters, but instead came out to her own intro and flourish, in a bright red dress (the rest of the women were in silver), late in the opening. Yet her presence wasn't exactly strongly felt in the rest of the show - she did have one ensemble piece with her as the centerpiece but that was (happily) more of a mood/artsy type piece than a "star" piece. She also had two solos in addition to that, but she didn't appear in the act I closer and didn't have a particularly highlighted role in the finale. Don't get me wrong - I'm *glad* they didn't center the show around her, but that just made that Sasha diva red in the opening that much odder. Also, I spent part of the afternoon before the show watching YouTube videos of old SOI ensembles, and I think highlighting *one* star really shows how much the show has changed in the last decade. I was watching the 2000 What a Wonderful World closer and it was like a cavalcade of stars - Tara Lipinski, Kurt Browning, Katia Gordeeva, Ilia Kulik, Kristi Yamaguchi, Scott Hamilton...each time one came out I was like "oh yeah this is the star of the show..no wait..this is..no wait..." Highlighting one of the few "name" skaters they have left only underscores how few they now have.

At any rate, enough general impressions. Here's a blow-by-blow:


Opening - Simply Irresistible - Cast

I do have to admit that "Simply Irresistible" and skating immediately brings to mind Kurt Browning's You Must Remember This special for me, but it's a fun comparison. I feel like the opening actually was a Robert Palmer medley, but only "Simply Irresistible" was listed in the program, so maybe I was mistaken. A day later, I do have to confess the choreography didn't stick in my head, but this was a fairly energetic, fun way to start the show, and I definitely enjoyed the music a lot more than last year's "Double Exposure" or the Meatloaf song a couple years ago. The program ended on someone announcing "LIVE and in COLOR!" and on the "COLOR", the guys all ripped their black shirts open to reveal different colored shirts underneath.

Between the opening and the first number, Jennifer Robinson and Todd Eldredge came out to welcome everyone to the show and to introduce their newest star, Sasha. Sasha took the mike to very unconvincingly say how happy she was to be with Smucker's Stars on Ice. I don't doubt she wants to be in the show but her line readings really were pretty flat. Not quite the effect they were looking for, I think, b/c it made it sound like she didn't really mean it. Oh well.

Fire - Marie-France Dubreuil & Patrice Lauzon

Marie-France and Patrice got things off to a hot start with a fiery and sultry skate to "Fire" by Ima. I seem to recall Josef Sabovcik skating to a different version of this song a few years back, and it's a good one. Kind of a slow burn song with bursts of intensity, and Marie-France and Patrice are the perfect pair to pull that off. They both play up the drama and intensity to the utmost, from body language to facial expressions, both of them flirting and interacting with the audience. Definite performers.

1000 Miles Away - Yuka Sato

The evening seemed to be set up to be an evening of contrasts, keeping a good mix of things, and never letting it get bogged down in one style for too long. The next program was a quiet, lyrical, beautiful skate by Yuka Sato to Jewel singing "1000 Miles Away." Well, as quiet and lyrical as over-emotive Jewel gets, anyway. Yuka wore a white dress that reminded me of something Kristi Yamaguchi wore over a decade ago in Stars on Ice, which lent her an ethereal floaty quality that matched the way her skates soundlessly floated over the ice.

Always Look on the Bright Side of Life - Todd Eldredge

From sultry fire to smooth lyricism to goofy humor... The program opened first with Todd Eldredge's "answering machine" over the speakers, as a succession of messages come on to tell him how his flight was delayed but he'll get in 15 minutes before the competition, how a big tree came down in a recent storm and landed on his Corvette (I think), and a number of other messages bearing bad news. Todd came out to skate to "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" from Spamalot, the Monty Python musical based on "Monty Python and the Holy Grail." It's a goofy song about how death is around the corner and life has all these problems, but you should always look on the bright side of life. It was cute, but I do have to say - Todd is no Scott or Kurt when it comes to comedy. He relies more on wide eyes and a goofy expression to get him by, and he totally didn't capitalize on a segment of music that would have been great for a frenetic footwork sequence, but it was a genial, amusing piece, enjoyable to watch.

Enchantment - Sasha Cohen, Patrice Lauzon, Michael Weiss, John Zimmerman

A definite mood change here, from goofiness to almost a surreal, austere piece opening with a video of a china dancer doll that did kind of resemble Sasha, as she was carried out on a small platform by the three guys in this number. It opened with her showing off her flexibility and moving a bit like a dancer on the platform, before getting picked up by John and Patrice. The program was basically consisting of Sasha being passed between the guys, one at a time, or two at a time, or with all three lifting some part of her, as she went into one flexible position after another, and showed a pretty impressive lack of fear at being handled by an ice dancer, pairs skater, and singles skater. Patrice even did a Detroiter type spin with her, while she was in a split position. The number wasn't totally smooth - there were a few hiccups, especially when she had one foot on the ice, where the foot didn't quite go in the right direction but overall, it was quite a neat piece. The music really added a lot to it, IMO, lending an interesting mood to a fairly interesting number. When I'd heard about this number before, I was skeptical - sounded like something you'd do with a dancer as a special guest, and Sasha's not a dancer, but it came together a lot better than I expected.

Feeling Good - Xue Shen & Hongbo Zhao

It is really nice to see a pair on tour who still does incredibly high twists (triple?) and throw jumps. I mean, Ina & Zimmerman still do do a double twist but Shen & Zhao just achieve this height in theirs that makes the crowd gasp every time. The throw jumps were awesome as well. And the two are just great artistic skaters as well. They captured the swingy nature of this Michael Buble song perfectly, and showed off their fluidity and grace to great effect. The crowd seemed to greatly appreciate these two - I'm not sure how many people knew who they were starting off, but they recognized technical difficulty when they saw it, and gave them some of the best applause of the night.

Hero - Michael Weiss

This song should have been the male equivalent of a Generic Female Ballad, and it kind of is, but Michael Weiss interpreted the song beautifully. He's really proving himself a great show skater - not just in the crowd-pleasing fast numbers like his second program, but in slower ballads like this first program. He showed a nice flow and stretch on the ice, capturing the wistful nature of the music and selling the emotion. Not all skaters sell emotion facially and in their body language that well, relying more on the music itself to carry it, but Michael Weiss really gets into it, and it's nice to watch. Especially since it proves he doesn't have to rely on his patented backflip or heel-gliding spread eagle to get the crowd (not that he left those out).

Shine on you Crazy Diamond - Kyoko Ina & John Zimmerman

I had been perturbed to find out that Kyoko was ill the night before in San Diego, and she and John hadn't performed their solos in that show, since they were two of the skaters whose programs I was most looking forward to. I was therefore very happy to see them come out for this number. What I like about Kyoko and John is that while they're known for their crazy high-flying tricks, they don't just rely on the same recycled moves in program after program. They seem to always be striving to learn new moves and new variations on the old moves, and they don't totally ignore choreography either. This means you don't actually know what you'll get with one of their programs. This one was very neat - lots of difficult tricks, strength/balance moves that somewhat reminded me of Besedin & Polichuk, the male acrobats (like an opening move where John lies on his back holding Kyoko in a sideways star position, one-handed, above him, and then rotates himself on the ice while still holding her up), and very intense choreography and interpretation of the music. I think the music really helped sell this program for me as well, since it wasn't just a typical high-flying fast rock number, or a soft romantic program. In fact, that was true of a lot of music in the show this year, and I really enjoyed it.

Anytime, Anywhere - Sasha Cohen

Ah, the famous controversial bra dress that doesn't bother me at all. Sasha's first solo, to a Sarah Brightman song, showed off her flexibility to great effect (though maybe not quite as impressive effect as "Enchantment"), with her high stretching spirals, leg up to her nose spins, and other signature moves. Her interpretation of the music was dramatic and serious, though maybe a little oddly subdued. I'd heard she'd missed jumps in previous shows - here she landed most of them, albeit with occasional shaky landings.

Sounds of Inspiration - Ilia Kulik

I wonder if everyone quite got that Ilia didn't just perform the music in this program, he wrote it. I said something about it to my friend and she was like, wait, what? They do try to make it clear though, with Ilia saying he sometimes finds inspiration in himself, and the videoscreens saying "Performed and Arranged by Ilia Kulik" (does that mean he didn't actually write it?). Ilia started off in the corner of the rink on Sasha's platform, with a keyboard and Mac laptop, performing a quiet keyboard piece, before getting up (as his videoscreened self played on) to begin skating to the song he'd written. This was a neat program b/c it was quite evident that this was music Ilia really felt and connected to, and wanted to express to the audience. Lots of sweeping crossovers around the rink, great ice coverage, and occasional flourishes with big grins into the audience, like this is me, this is from me, and I give it to you. He set up for an axel that he unfortunately popped, which seemed to disappoint him, but later went into a nice 2-axel to redeem himself. He also landed some nice solid triples, and a beautiful flying death drop.

Hard Steele Is Back - Cast

The video screen came up to introduce the next number, the act I closer (and what a closer it was). Scott Hamilton appeared in a hilarious wig, glasses, and mustache, every inch the nerdy newscaster reporting on the reunion tour of "Hard Steele," that great rock band who hadn't performed live in 20 years since the lead singer Axel Steele's mom grounded him for staying out past bedtime. He then threw things over to "Sylvie Salchow" (ie Jennifer Robinson), the on-location entertainment reporter out on the ice, who was ready to cover this historic event. She said that fans were coming from worldwide, there was even a contingent from Japan and China. She decided to go interview them - 3 Asian schoolgirls in white blouses, short plaid skirts, buckle shoes, pigtails, and carrying a stack of books each. Kyoko was the only English speaker of the bunch, talking about being excited to see Hard Steele. When "Sylvie" turned to Xue, all she could say was "Hard..Steele..." and then emit a high-pitched giggle that was really quite hilarious. As for Yuka, she didn't speak a word of English, but Kyoko translated for her, unleashing a stream of enthusiastic Japanese out of Yuka (with perfect cute Japanese schoolgirl intonation) - apparently she'd been a fan since her parents' 8-track tapes. And when Sylvie asked which was their favorite Hard Steele member, all three chorused "Axel Steele!"

"Hard Steele is Back" was a hilarious ensemble, featuring Michael Weiss, Patrice Lauzon, Hongbo Zhao, Marie-France Dubreuil, and Todd Eldredge as the be-wigged, fully decked out 80s glam rocking looking band, each with guitar in hand (this band has no bassists or drummers?) and John Zimmerman as the charismatic, totally into it, totally believable lead singer, Axel Steele. I have to say, he was perfect for the role, lip-synced beautifully, and just played up the whole glam rock persona to the hilt. It was awesome. The music in this section was classic as well - from the Guitar Hero classic "I Love Rock 'n Roll" (complete with karaoke lyrics on the videoscreens) to Alice Cooper's "School's Out For Summer" (with the Asian schoolgirls jumping on various band members - and showing off their pairs skills) to Ballroom Blitz, to a number of other songs that slip my mind at the moment. Between this and last year's "Peace, Love, and Skating" number, it's evident that Stars on Ice really loves its wigs. But this was just hilariously fun, with great music, and a great way to end the first act (especially since John as Axel proved to be an audience-loving, reluctant to leave star ;)).

Before intermission, a video about the Boys and Girls Club of America played before the lights came up. Then a 20:00 counter started counting down...and right as intermission ended, another video about "the value of family meals" (same one as has aired on a number of Disson special broadcasts and the SOI broadcasts) played.


Too Cool to Warm - Cast

Act II closed with Jennifer Robinson coming out in warmups, talking about (pre-recorded) how she loved warmup and how important it was. She pulled out a bouncy ball and various other warmup equipment and proceeded to use it. Michael Weiss in the meantime came out and started warming up and watching her, and then *his* "thoughts" came over the loudspeaker going "and she hasn't even skated yet!" The videoscreens brought up different titles like "The competitors" as Todd Eldredge and Michael Weiss "competed" during warmup (Todd thinking "I wonder what he'll say when I land my first backup" as he "set up" for a backflip before Michael cut him off saying "a backflip, eh?"). The two of them eventually started playing soccer with Jennifer's balance ball and then bouncing the ball off their heads at each other as Yuka "the skater's skater" came out worrying about needing to warm her legs up just right, and then declaring that the others were so immature before snatching their ball away and giving it back to Jennifer. Xue and Hongbo were hilarious - the "perfectionists" with Hongbo holding Xue on his shoulder, both in dramatic precise positions and intense looks (and Asian-sounding rhythm/music in the background) before declaring "another perfect warmup!" and bowing to each other, while the others go "they're so disciplined!" Sasha "the diva" came out thinking about whether she'd left an iron on in the hotel room and wondering what was for lunch. Then "The Dancers" appeared, speeding around the ice while everyone else dove out of the way going "uh-oh, it's the dancers! whoa! watch out!" Eventually, the girls pulled off Jennifer's warmups to reveal her white glittery vest shirt and short black skirt costume, and she was ready for her number.

Hit me with a Hot Note - Jennifer Robinson

Jennifer Robinson seems to have specialized in showgirl numbers recently - starting with her Lola character that spanned two years worth of show, and continuing in her newest program. This one isn't Lola, but it's kind of a similar brassy, old Broadway-esque showy number which allows her to flirt with the audience with rather stylized moves, broad smiles, and winks. It's a style she does well, and it's fun. But it's a little too bad that since she was reduced to one program this year, it's the only style we see out of her.

Adagio - Xue Shen & Hongbo Zhao

I'm not sure why they changed the order from the program - D&L were scheduled to skate in this slot - but Shen & Zhao were next with the soulful, yearning "Adagio." This was a number that emphasized romanticism and drama, providing a contrasting style from the more swing-like "Feeling Good" and showing how well Shen & Zhao emote while hitting beautiful positions and interesting tricks. I don't know if it was deliberate or just a feature of Ina & Zimmerman being very different skaters than Shen & Zhao, but I found interesting that they both did gasp-inducing moves and lifts with interesting positions, but the moves and lifts were virtually all distinct from each others'. The audience got a great range of pairs moves with just four programs from these two pair teams. Shen & Zhao pulled off another beautiful high twist throw, drawing gasps and cheers from the audience.

Deal With It - Ilia Kulik

This was basically the only program of the evening that I had seen live before - I saw Ilia debut this number at Kristi's Friends and Family show with Corbin Bleu and his dancers performing live on stage behind him. In some ways, the effect is lessened when you don't see Ilia performing the dance moves in perfect sync with the dancers on stage, but in others, it only goes to highlight just how good a dancer Ilia is. I've always enjoyed him on the ice but he really got those movements down - he moves like a hip hop dancer in this number, not like a skater pretending to be one, and he thoroughly commits to the choreography and the program. He also looks like he's having a lot of fun, and he totally embodies the attitude of the program. Fun to see again.

Nessun Dorma - Marie-France Dubreuil, Patrice Lauzon, Kyoko Ina, John Zimmerman, Xue Shen, Hongbo Zhao

My friend was a bit disappointed because Sasha's intro led her to believe the three couples would each provide a different interpretation of the music (since she talked about the beauty of musical interpretation), but the three actually moved in sync with mostly the same moves down the ice. However, I really enjoyed this number. I'm not used to hearing Nessun Dorma sung by multiple men and women, but it fit this number well, to have the men harmonizing while the 3 male skaters did something together, or the men and women singing together as the pairs moved in sync. This number was serious and striking, and it was lovely to see the pairs moving in counterpoint or in parallel, as well as interesting when the three broke off skating different moves, interpreting the music in subtly different ways. I really enjoyed it. Given the plethora of strong pairs teams on this tour in the recent past, it's nice that they finally (for the first time since 2002, I think), did a pairs/dance number.

Save a Horse - Michael Weiss

We can't let things get too solemn for too long though. After a really random entry where Jennifer Robinson came out in a glitterly showgirl costume (complete with boa), shook her upper body, and then yelled "Michael Weeeisss!" before skating quickly off the ice, Michael Weiss came out charged up and ready to get the audience energized to "Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy" by Big and Rich. The audience clearly recognized the song and really got into it, and Michael totally played it up. He played up the cowboy persona at first, then tossed his hat towards the audience and really started moving down the ice, grinning and connecting with the audience as he skated by each section, and energetically dancing on the ice. A fun number all around.

She's Always a Woman - Marie-France Dubreuil & Patrice Lauzon

It probably helps a lot that I absolutely love this song and have been hoping that someone would skate to it, but I really enjoyed this program. Marie-France and Patrice do the sultry, sexy, hot numbers well, and they do intense romantic programs well, but they also do the softer, more lyrical, and flowing numbers really well. The interpretation comes through also in the way they connect to the audience and each other. In "Fire," both were staring into the audience, making eye contact, flirting, doing the audience engagement thing. In "She's Always a Woman," their eyes were on each other or gazing up and out, embodying the dreamier, more wistful aspect of the music. It was nice to see.

Swing with Me - Yuka Sato

I have to confess that Yuka Sato's choices of music this year weren't my favorite - Jewel? Jessica Simpson? However, what she did with the songs only showed her versatility and charm on the ice. Whereas the Jewel number showed her quiet flowing edges, and a gentle lyricism, the Jessica Simpson number was all about dancing, footwork, crisp body movements, and connecting to the audience. Yuka's no Ilia but she's musical, she can move, and she clearly enjoys what she's doing, which makes her a lot of fun to watch.

Nights in White Satin - Todd Eldredge

I like skaters being diverse, and showing their versatility, and it's unfair to pigeonhole skaters, but I really feel like dramatic pieces like this one suit Todd far more than goofy numbers like his first. Which is not to say that he shouldn't do the goofy fun numbers. It's just to say I really liked his "Nights in White Satin" number. Though I don't know how anyone ever could think it was U2 singing - half the song is in Italian and it's very dramatic, almost operatic. This is also probably another case where the song helped sell the program to me, but I thought Todd's interpretation was very good as well - dramatic, flowing, and intense. Great to watch, and a number I wouldn't mind seeing again to get more of its full effect.

Pretty Vegas - Kyoko Ina & John Zimmerman

"Pretty Vegas" in San Jose featured the first time I've ever seen a mistake from Kyoko and John on the "fly high and say bye." Luckily, it occurred after the flying high part, after John caught Kyoko - she usually slides between his legs onto the ice, and then he pulls her out and they continue, but this time, he seemed to catch an edge and pitched forward, landing heavily on the ice, and sending them both careening into the edge of the ice. It took them a little while to recover, skating a big wide circle before figuring out where they were and resuming the program. Luckily no one seemed to get hurt, but it was unfortunate since it broke up a great program. Intense, fast-moving, and high-flying, this was a trick-filled audience-pleasing program to great music - more of a typical Ina/Zimmerman program with a lot of their trademark moves - and it was a lot of fun to watch. I would love to see it again (hey, Canadian tour - hire them!).

Imagine - Sasha Cohen

I usually can't stand Avril Lavigne but she actually produced a fairly good interpretation of "Imagine" that was only occasionally marred by weird vocal interpretation. I enjoyed this program of Sasha's a lot - she seemed to really connect to the music and interpreted it beautifully with a flowy program that really emoted and connected to the audience. I felt like this program was less about her showing off her flexibility (not that she didn't do a number of her more flexible moves) and more about interpreting the music, which made for a more cohesive and lovely program.

Finale - Make a Memory - Cast

The video that preceded the finale was a bit heavyhanded, about how we had created memories together that evening that would never be reproduced again exactly as we had them (as they showed pre-taped video footage of the show - unless they expected us to believe they actually recorded and edited that footage that night?). However, it did feed into the finale "Make a Memory" quite well, and to my surprise, even though I tried to cynically resist the message (it's live! what a great memory!), I found myself drawn into the finale and really getting into it. The song helped a lot - the lyrics fit surprisingly well, it was both wistful and dramatic, and it just kept things flowing really well. The choreography allowed each skater or set of skaters to come out and skate for the audience, while seamlessly flowing between each group, finally culminating in the entire group skating together with great speed around the ice. I think the speed actually was what really struck me - they may have done "I Believe I Can Fly" last year but there was a real sense of freedom and flight and speed as they skated in serpentine patterns around the ice. Not overly complex group choreography, but very effective. I think I enjoyed that finale more than I have in a while. A really nice way to end the evening.

Overall, I really quite enjoyed the show and think it was well worth watching. The new skaters were great additions - Shen & Zhao, Dubreuil & Lauzon, and Sasha Cohen all brought something new and interesting to the show - while the old skaters proved themselves consummate entertainers. The show was a tad bit shorter than last year though - the first act was 2 programs shorter, and the second act was 1 program shorter - but I suppose that's partly the side effect of not having a second guest star. I hope Stars on Ice continues the tradition of bringing these well-produced shows with interesting group numbers to us, and I look forward to what they come up with next year.