Monday, July 22, 2013

Off Season Fun 2012-2013: Favorite Short Programs

Yay for Off Season Fun!  Now I’m going to take a look back at my favorite programs from the 2012-2013 season.  First up, the Short Program!  Here are my favorites from last season…

5. Mao Asada - “I’ve Got Rhythm”

I wasn’t sure about this music choice at first but I have to admit, this became one of my favorites of the season.  Mao has been through a lot recently and for a very long time I didn’t sense any kind of joy in her skating.  Luckily, she’s rediscovered that joy in these last few seasons and I’m so happy for her.  It was great to see Mao perform this program with that same youthful energy and happiness she had back in her junior days coupled with the skill and maturity she has gained over the was an excellent combination.  I loved the happy opening and the footwork was out of this world.  That sequence at the end is pure joy and always brought the house down.  I loved this program.

4.  Adelina Sotnikova – “Capriccio Espanol”

Adelina has her problems when it comes to technique and controlling her nerves but when she’s on, she is a serious podium threat.  In addition to the technical content, Adelina had maturity, presentation and performance in this program…there are only a handful of newbies who can bring all of that to the table convincingly.  Wonderful use of her gorgeous lines throughout (take note Julia Lipnitskaya) and I loved the fire and energy she brought to program especially in the footwork.  This is definitely my favorite SP she’s ever done.

3.  Akiko Suzuki – “Kill Bill”

The first time I saw this program I wasn’t a fan but it grew on me over the season and now it’s one of my favorites.  I commend Akiko for taking a giant leap outside of her comfort zone and going for something completely different.  The program had excellent musicality throughout as well as a ton of personality and energy.  It was a fun, exciting and a very different style than what we’re used to seeing from Akiko.  She was tough and badass…and I loved it!

2.  Kaetlyn Osmond – “Mambo No. 8”

Kaetlyn blew me away with this program.  She is the best of the newbies when it comes to engaging an audience and connecting to her music…hell, she’s better than a number of the veterans as well.  Kaetlyn has a very charismatic personality that comes across when she skates and nothing shows that off more than this SP.  As I said in a previous post, I’m not a big fan of up-tempo Latin music when it comes to skating.  The music generates this wave of energy that most skaters cannot match.  Not Kaetlyn…she matched every joule of energy the music created and the result was a fun, energetic and very entertaining program.  Amazing transitions throughout, musicality and, most importantly, she looked like she was having a blast out there.  This was the best senior debut SP I’ve seen in a long time.

1. Carolina Kostner – “A Transylvanian Lullaby”

Carolina never ceases to amaze me when it comes to her music and choreography.  I fell in love with this program the first time I saw it.  The musicality is incredible; it’s like every single note of music is utilized especially in the opening and then again once the music picks up towards the end.  I love the drama she brings to her performances and the way she commits to the choreography and the character from start to finish.  Unfortunately, there aren’t too many clean performances of this gem but if you can splat on the ice and still manage to give me happy piddles, you’re doing something right.  In my opinion, from a music, choreography and performance standpoint, Carolina’s SP is the strongest overall this season.

Rounding off my top 10 favorites…

6. Kanako Murakami – “A Prayer for Taylor”
Kanako has a good team when it comes to picking music and developing choreography that highlights her unique style of skating.  I thought this program was very beautiful and touching, and I loved the unconventional arrangement of the elements as well.

7.  Christina Gao – “Close Without Touching”
Christina shocked me at Skate America with her performance of this program.  It really brought out a more mature and elegant side of her and I was amazed by how well she connected to the music and the choreography.  This is the best SP she’s ever had.

8.  Ashley Wagner – “The Red Violin”
Kudos to Ashley for taking on this well-known piece of Kween music…that took a lot of guts but I think she pulled it off respectfully enough.  This program didn’t really grab me but I love that she met the challenge head on and ended up with a nice program.  The 2A + falling leaf was genius…

9.  Valentina Marchei – “Esperanza”
I loved the music and the choreography in this program.  I remember being completely drawn in by her performance of this at Skate America.  It was an excellent program for her and she delivered it very well.

10. Mirai Nagasu – “Downhill Special”
This program was a step in the right direction for Mirai.  I love that the music brought out her personality and allowed her to have fun for the first time in a long time.  This proved the spark is not gone from Mirai’s skating and that there is still hope for her… 

Great programs this year!  What was your favorite?  Don't forget to vote on the poll.

I can’t wait to see the Short Programs for this Olympic season.  Everyone will have to dig deep and come up with something amazing that can set them apart or make people take notice.  Next up will be my favorite Free Skates of the season…check back soon!