Canadian Stars on Ice Review - Toronto/Hamilton/London, ON - Apr. 25-27, 2003
written by Hoo
Overall I thought this year's Canadian show was excellent, even if it did
have a rather large Brian Orser shaped hole in it :( I was much impressed
with the opening and closings as the last time I saw them was the
Washington stop early in the US tour. The US skaters looked very
comfortable with the routines and of course the added Canadians blended in
Opening - "Orin Does Ozzy"
While not as intricate as some of the openings of the past, I
really like the high energy beat to the program. It gets the audience out
and rocking right from the very start. I like how different case members
get added and then taken off and then added again so the ensemble on the
ice is always evolving and very fluid. The tie-ins between each individual
trick all worked well so that the whole thing just seemed to flow
together. Interesting to note that at all three stops, the ovations for
the intro of Brasseur & Eisler was louder than that for Sale & Pelletier.
Personal highlight for me was seeing Steven first hit the ice in Toronto -
even though you can tell he's still favoring his knee a bit, it was great
to see him back again!
Steven Cousins - "Born To Be Wild"
When I first heard Alexei was doing this in the US I really
thought it would be great, but somehow I just never bought into the
program when he did it - sort of as if he knew it was a silly number and
didn't really care. Well it's still a bit of a silly filler, but boy did
Steven make it his own! He used that fabulous charisma of his and just
sold the number to the hilt. Makes me wonder if this was supposed to be
his all along. The number opens with Todd coming out to hand him his
leather jacket, and his shirt is a mottled gray. Lots of squeels all
around the rink as Steven made eye contact and flashed that smile at
various ladies in the audience. Nicely done!
Ina & Zimmerman - "Bed of Roses"
Like others, I too love the transition into this number with
Steven interacting with Kyoko and doing the pairs ina bauers. As for the
number itself the team was on for all 3 shows with the only bobble being
John singling his axel for at least two of them (but much less jarring
than if he fell - most people probably never even noticed). This piece of
music really suits them and there style and their lifts were just amazing!
And the final pose/lift is definitely one of the most beautiful parts.
Kurt Browning - "My Favorite Things"
This music is really so tied with the holidays that it was hard to
see a program to it in may, but Kurt helped it by changing his costume so
that it was a Canada Post mailman outfit. It's not one of my favorite
programs, but it's got some beautiful ina bauers in it so I can live with
that. One program out of three is ok to be a bit light.
Sale & Pelletier - "Come Fly With Me"
When I first saw this program I thought it looked really rough and
wildy empty so I was happy to see that by Canada more details had been
filled in and they'd really gotten comfortable with it. It's just a light
program and the two of them look like they're just floating over the ice.
Highlight for me is how they enter the death spiral with Davis still
skating along before going into his pivot.
Todd Eldredge - "Channel One Suite"
This is another program that has developed well from repeat
performances. Other than an off night in London, Todd looked really good
during this program. He's obviously become much more comfortable with the
footwork sequences and they look more effortless than in Lake Placid.
It's nice to see a skater challenge themselves with improving skills even
after they leave eligible ranks. I'm still not fond of the slower middle
part but it is growing on me. And Todd's also improved in the 'look up
and *at* at the audience' thing - nice to see such an outgoing program
from him. Hopefully it's a style he'll choose to expand on for next year.
Cousins, Zimmerman, Robinson - "Hotter Than Blue"
This was a number that was definitely better in the US. While I
commend Jen for trying a role like this, she's just not the complete
goddess that Katarina is (nor quite frankly in anyone). Maybe if I hadn't
seen Kat in this number I might liked it better, but here Jen just just
didn't have enough *oompf* for the role. And as much as I'm a Steven fan,
I think John and Gorsha worked better because they have a very similar
look and you can tell that John had worked hard to match Gorsha's fluid
style of moment. While Steven and John were great together, they both
move (and look) very different so it wasn't quite the same. That being
said though, it was still a decent number and Steven and John were both
very funny in the bodyguard roles :)
Brasseur & Eisler - "The Middle"
I love to see the playful programs that this team puts together
and this one was no exception. The 'theme' of the program was that
Isabelle was sort of the fun-loving energetic girl and Lloyd was the
stick-in-the-mud guy and she spends the program trying to get him involved
with the music. It was full of their high energy lifts including the
headbanger and both of ones where she's spun upside down held by her feet.
As usual Lloyd was singing along with the music at every stop ;) Cute
program from them and performed really well!
Browning - "How Do You Keep The Music Playing?"
This program is just classic Browning, but it's definitely one of
those programs that has to be on to work. Thankfully Kurt was on 2 of the
3 nights so the program really showed everything it can be. And it's got
those great ina bauers and spread eagles in it. In Toronto Kurt had sort
of a freak fall onto his knee and he ended up leaving the ice a moment
later which caused power play to be rushed out. Thankfully Kurt came out
right after and did his solo. I happened to run into him on the street in
Hamilton and he said he's got bad knees and that it just sort of popped
but a few minutes later with some ice and a brace he could go on. He said
it was really disappointing because up to that point his knees had been
feeling 100%. As a result of this I think in Hamilton & London I was
paying excessive attention to his knees and didn't get the full impact of
the program, but it was still really excellent.
Ensemble - "Power Play"
Sadly this number is still rather pointless overall, though of
course Jen and I had great fun snickering to the little speech Todd gets
to do. It's just so completely corny. But on the positive side, while
the "group" feel of the program is week, the tricks that S&P and B&S do
are wonderful to watch. I just love the move S&P do with him in a spread
eagle and her being carried in the split position with one leg up over his
shoulder - the line it makes is just so pretty.
Ensemble - "Studz"
Now this is the perfect version of Studz - I was so disappointed
we missed Steven in the US tour and I am happy to say he was definitely
worth the wait. It's a silly program but it's fun and the guys are quite
frankly gorgeous so you won't here me complaining at all ;) In Toronto I
was, err "lucky" enough to have seats on the end where the guys pick up
the girls. While it provided a great view of that number, it also
unfortunately provided a certain skater with an opportunity he couldn't
pass up. When the guys first come tearing down the ice to pick up the
girls, Todd spotted Jen and I and instead of just stopping to get
Isabelle, he shifted over a bit and did a gigantic hockey stop - covered
the two of us in ice from head to toe! Whatever look of shock on our
faces must have been priceless and it just cracked him and Steven up.
(*sigh* sometimes knowing the skaters isn't all it's cracked up to be!).
I do have to commend him on his accuracy though - the two ladies on either
side of us got maybe 4 flakes apiece on them - the other hundreds were all
on Jen and I. *brrrr* Beyond that, I thoroughly enjoyed the program
every night - the hard part is deciding who to watch! In this tour, Todd
and Steven do the interlocking sit position move that was Gorsha and
Sand's in the US. And of course I have to say that Todd looked incredibly
silly with his handshakes - all the men jump onto the carpet and basically
shake their booty for the on-ice fans - all except Todd who shakes hands.
Though at least by the London show he'd added a little hip wiggle to it -
maybe by Vancouver he'll be fully along with the rest :)
Jennifer Robinson - "Amato Mio"
While the song is very cute, I still just don't understand the
whole coat/hat thing. Made no sense at Hol Fest either. Jen had an off
night in Hamilton (joked during retakes that when you mess up they make
you bring out your own props ) but was mostly on for the rest of the
numbers. She looked a little more overwhelmed on this tour than I recall
seeing her on Skate the Nation - makes me wonder if the role of sole
female soloist put a little too much pressure on her.
Steven Cousins - "Disco Science"
I admit it, Steven was my main reason for going (yeah like ya'll
didn't already know that ) and I was very happy to see him bring out
"Disco Science" as I'd really enjoyed it at Kurt's show. He's only doing
3toes and 2axels in the program, but since the doctors didn't even think
he'd be ready to skate in this tour at all, I was very impressed. He
landed everything except the 3toe in Hamilton (how convenient that it was
the night we'd get to see a retake ). In Hamilton Kurt gave him a nice
intro for his retake saying how he'd been missed in the US and it was good
to see him back on the ice. The in-between dance moves and footwork were
on every night :)
Brasseur & Eisler - "A Friend To Me"
Even though B&E are known for their fast numbers, they really do
pull off slow numbers really well and this number is a definite highlight.
I loved the simple black for Lloyd and the shaded sparkly purple for
Isabelle - made a stunning look for them. I was really impressed with
several of their moves that started as a high lift and then had Lloyd flip
her over his back and carry her there, then flip her again and carry her
in front before setting her down - the transitions just worked
beautifully! Nice to see this team go out with such great programs this
year - can't wait to see what they've got in store for their final Dreams
Todd Eldredge - "Miserere"
Classic Todd and done really well. There's such a think as
playing to your strengths, and this program drew huge applause both
nights. Todd's really got that classic dramatic music flair and this is
one of his better programs for it. The spins were a real highlight (as
always) in this program and they were definitely well timed to the music!
Berezhnaya & Sikharulidze - "Mme. T's After Hours"
Doesn't matter how often I see this program, I just hate those
Marilyn Monroe bits cut into the Elvis tunes - it's so jarring! Anton
however does an absolutely fabulous Elvis out there - you can tell he's
really getting into the music and the character. Sadly Elena just doesn't
project any of the Monroe characteristics - it'd have worked much better
if they'd done something like Tanith & Ben where the female is a Elvis fan
or some-such. They did have some really great high power lifts though.
In Hamilton Anton took a freak fall going backward (caught an edge or
something which just doing cross overs) so they had retakes. Anton was
cracking up the crowd by playing the Monroe bits while waiting for the
music to get to the right spot to pick up - very funny!
Alexei Yagudin - "Racing"
Not sure what is up with our Olympic Champion here. The reviews
have all said he looked injured, but I'm not sure. The jumps were huge
(granted all toes) but the footwork and even the spins were just sort of
'average.' Overall I thought Alexei just looked bored - not tired or
hurt, just bored. I wonder if doing the same thing for 70 cities just got
old for him. It was a shame I think because when he's on this program
really sparkles but when he's off it just sort of falls a little flat. :(
Sale & Pelletier - "Lovin' Touchin' Squeezin'"
Not sure what more I can say about this program that I haven't
said before. It's really a great program for these two and the lifts in
it are impressive - I especially love the Orchid lift - so gorgeous. And
maybe touring a bit with B&E has helped - their detroiter no longer looks
like Jamie is going to come crashing down!
Kurt - "Slippery Side Up"
Hmmm I think Kurt was getting a bit tired by this point in the
show, that or his knee problems were hampering him a bit as the footwork
sections were definitely slower than last I saw. And while I really like
this program from Kurt, it just doesn't work as a closer. I'd have
swapped him and S&P as their number would work well up against the finale
I'd like. But that being said, the program was still incredibly
impressive - the section where Kurt does footwork on just the one foot and
never puts the other down is just flabbergasting - I have no idea how he
Finale - "Can't Stop"
Here is where this version was much better than what I saw in the
US. The cast looked much more comfortable with the hip-hop moves and it
flowed a lot better. Of course in Hamilton we got to see them run the
thing twice which was definitely a plus! I remember being rather
impressed with the 'Yagudin' footwork sequence from Brasseur & Eisler -
it's not often you see them attacking something like that. They're still
desperately in need of another female to balance out the sections as at
one point Alexei and Todd just had to wait for Jen to get over to their
side. Each night there was quite a bit of playing around as the cast
skated back for the final bow. In London I remember Steven and Jen having
sort of a footwork contest that was pretty funny. It's definitely a great
high energy way to end the show so you leave on a real high.