Saturday, October 19, 2013

This did not look so good



Acknowledging that Meryl and Charlie fake their skating (meaning, fake the calibre of their skating with a lot of non-skating hoo ha); we know what a full on Meryl and Charlie outing looks like. So, when they skate so even an casual viewer understands that wasn't the greatest, as in this short program - it wasn't good.

So give them 75 points!

But you know, it was a fairly generously scored competition segment, so to only muster 75 for DW's sluggish outing comes thisclose to saying they were disappointing. Tanith did all she could to avoid talking about tech. She ignored the standstill twizzles, and I don't blame her. No character of the music as usual, and not even a nod to sustaining an edge out of the element, not to mention the second set they both rotated like an overhead fan that had been switched off 30 seconds ago.

My impression of the speed is - slower than the Shibs by some miles. The Shibs had longer run of blade. Ice coverage not so wonderful. Lots of hesitation throughout.

When I watched this program, I thought that in a fairly scored world, this isn't the smartest short dance for them. The musical phrase to which they perform the twizzles does nothing with momentum or tension or drama to cue the audience that the twizzles are fast. This is a light, happy dance, not a pound the drums and bang the cymbols number. At the same time, it's not a peasant dance, a la Giselle. It's supposed to be actual ballroom - light, refined.

Without the music to enhance the impression of speed and dynamic skating, we can see that they're not just not fast, but much simpler than those performed by the others, and the program is fairly empty. It didn't help that the Shibutanis did three sets of twizzles that were fast, that were in the character of the music, that were powerful, and showed sustained speed, not to mention bigger run of blade in and out (DW had no run of blade out).

None of this stopped Tanith's pre-determined narrative. Last season, D/W declared they had chemistry you could cut with a knife. This season the narrative appears to be that these two are the refined, nuanced skaters in the game, the ones who carry the technique through to the most minuscule refinements of fingertips, head and neck. That's not snow Charlie kicks up while skating - that's diamond dust.

One wonders how Tanith is going to maintain the Charlie/Meryl's carriage and other refinements are the class of the discipline storytelling when they're up against VM in the same competition. Doubtless she'll find other points of focus.

The real problem with Meryl and Charlie's supposed refinement is that unlike The Shibs, Virtue Moir, and Paul Islam, the refinement isn't carried up from their blades. They're not using their entire bodies to skate. It's all styling and applied on top of, and disconnected from, the action (or lack of action) of their blades.


I use this screen cap to illustrate the point about carriage. They don't engage their pelvis/hips. If you're using your entire body - which is what great carriage is about, it's the length of your spine, your hips, your pelvis, your glutes, etc. It's not, generically, the "upper body". The chest is open. The chests up there aren't open.

Also, their butts aren't under them. By some miracle, Tara Lipinski, in her professional career, decided that perhaps she needed some technical assistance. She enlisted Lori Nichols (Michelle Kwan's choreographer). Nichols got Tara's butt underneath her, and because of that, every aspect of Lipinski's skating as a pro improved (I refer everyone to her number with Kurt Browning on youtube).

Look at the butt jutt in DW.

In reality, the "refinements" should be subordinate to the blades. Whether it's Tara or it's DW. However, DW are inferior to VM. There is nothing DW have over VM. It stands to reason if they're going to claim greater sophistication that they'd get something as basic as their asses underneath them. But I guess not.

In Marina Zoueva's pre-Skate America remarks, she mentioned that at the last competition the judges mentioned they'd like to see more speed from Davis White. Davis White are skating with the same speed they've always skated, but they've dialed down the hopping and skipping (although the hopping and skipping had more emphasis this time), so perhaps the judges are looking for ways for Meryl and Charlie to continue to fake speed. That aside, if the judges wanted more speed, and the judges wanted anything changed about the lifts, how did they end up awarding 110 at the first outing of the season? Was it going to be 120 if DW were sufficiently speedy?

Tanith was resolute in her talk about Davis and White's style and how very few teams sustain the style of the music throughout the program (which is plain wrong - many actually do). I don't think she made a single remark about element quality or execution. She blandly continued on about styling through the twizzles, the footwork and the Finnstep.

P.S. when I watched this program my impression was there were more instances of hopping and skipping than I remembered from Salt Lake City. Were they reintroducing that stuff after dialing it down? So I rewatched SLC, and no. They simply hit the hops harder and bigger in this outing than that one.

45 comments:

  1. As long as she is dating Charlie, Tanith should not commentate...it is a conflict of interest. That and she's a crappy commentator.

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    1. Well, too much agenda. The Shibs skated wonderfully, but her first remark when they took the ice was they had to redo last season's short dance, so let's hope this one hits the mark. That's signaling right out of the gate that they haven't been first rank. As they skated, though, I thought she did a fairly decent job, which made it all the more striking when she had no comment at all on Meryl and Charlie's elements. I think partly this is because the attempt is to let us believe Meryl and Charlie's elements "go without saying", but in My Fair Lady, everything from the Finnstep itself to the twizzles were obviously underwhelming, particularly in comparison to the Shibutanis. Furthermore, much of what she said about DW vis a vis the other teams simply wasn't true, so perhaps she should seek other facets of their skating (if she can) that set DW above the rest.

      Most of those teams do quite a good job carrying the style of their music/dance throughout the Finnstep itself and throughout the program, and almost all do a damn sight better job carrying it through the twizzles. When Tanith comments on Davis White, it's from a propaganda sheet. If she doesn't comment on an element, or on speed, we know they're just as underwhelming as they look. It was also ironic that she made such an issue of their "nuances" and the refinement of their carriage when the Shibutanis were better at both.

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    2. One hopes this segment, at least, adds to Virtue and Moir's confidence. An issue with Davis White in the past was they left the impression of a lot of stuff going on, so busy, so apparently dynamic, stuff was whirling around and surely that's difficult. So dramatic. This short dance is leaving no impression other than that of fairly pedestrian ice dancers with no remarkable anything skating element to element and there's nothing remarkable about the elements. Everyone can see that. Tanith's co-commentator could see it. Tanith could see it. So put that up against Virtue and Moir skating their short dance well within themselves, the judges will have no place to hide. In previous Davis White programs, the busyness and the leaping and flinging let the judges hide, especially when VM had an error. Here, Davis and White can't even really convey the impression of speed.

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    3. Tanith did something similar during CL's intro. She said something about how they chose the same music, Carmen, as Virtue Moir last year, but still managed to hold their own in the comparison. Not such a bad comment, but just enough to plant a little seed that CL and VM are in the same league now, a different league than DW.

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    4. She has no business commenting while living with Charlie White, but that's how it goes. She did it with Virtue Moir last year - kept her mouth shut while they skated, waited til a more lyrical section and said THIS is their best. By implication she was saying everything else they did - dynamically different than lyrical - wasn't a good fit.

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    5. Her commentary is a joke...I practically fell off my seat laughing when she is breaking down the lift..."Charlie has to support her knee on his lap while rotating her...rarely does the man have to deal with that obstacle!". Indeed...because most other female dancers can support their own fucking body weight.

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    6. Seriously? I didn't watch the replay. Tanith is shameless.

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  2. Everything about DW is manipulation right down to the commentating. So given the politicking, how has not chosing busy, frantic programs been a disadvantage to them?
    I keep thinking how on earth can the judges score this slop over VM, and so far I don't see any signs that this isn't going to happen. I sure hope I'm wrong.

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    1. The biggest manipulation in this short dance segment was the scoring of the Shibs vis a vis C/L. I'm a fan, but it appears here C/L were used to keep the Shibs down, so they wouldn't be the ones second to DW. The Shibs executed better than DW and skated faster than DW, let alone CL.

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    2. The Shibs had better twizzles than CL too. I guess the reason why Shibs score was so low was because of the pattern. But C/L 8 points better than the Shibs?nah.

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    3. Nope. But God forbid the Shibs be right behind DW. The Shibs are the team that legitimately could become the USA's first Olympic gold medalists (2018), but they've been consistently underscored since that time their TES started knocking on DW's door - and of course, since the bronze at Worlds.

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    4. I think the politicking depends upon the media and the public not knowing the difference. When DW skates the short the way they did, the public and the media can tell the difference. It's built in. The music requires refinement, they can't fling and leap - although you can see Charlie straining - and the result is you can see they're slow. The footwork took forever. The twizzles were glacial compared to the Shibs and VM, and it was very clear that DW's twizzles weren't on par with the best twizzles out there. Two sets, pedestrian, no character of the music, end on a standstill and a foot down.

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    5. I think it was 2011 US Nationals where the Shibs outscored DW in TES in either the SD or FD or maybe even both. There was a comment from, I think maybe Tracy Wilson--someone who wasn't Tanith--that they would soon be challenging for the US title. The followed up with the bronze at worlds, and then their scores dropped the next season.

      In the SD at 2012 Worlds, PB outscored DW in TES in the SD. Granted, PB had the injury issue in the latter part of last season, but then their scores drop. The other half or backside to all of this nonsense of DW's scoring in comparison to VM is how the rest of the field gets scored. If anyone threatens score-wise from behind, they seem to get dropped the next season. Just leaving VM out of it for a second, there are a number of other teams at this point who should also legitimately be ahead of DW. A team doesn't need to be as good as VM in order to be better than DW.

      I have only watched the top 4 from the SD yesterday. Of those 4 teams, I'd have DW last. I'd have Shibs in first, CL in second, and HD in third. HD still have things to work on and they lost training time due to Madison's concussion back in the summer, but I still feel that they outskated and outdanced DW.

      "That's not snow Charlie kicks up while skating - that's diamond dust."

      Oh. That's what it was. Diamond dust. I should have known that it wasn't snow. ;P

      Speaking of snow and blades, at one point in that SD, you can hear scratching blades in the audio, at least in the version from Russian television.

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    6. Yep. I line up with you, as to which team merited what placement.

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  3. every time i look at Meryrl's dress, i see this http://0.tqn.com/d/fashion/1/0/v/b/3/1734538_10.jpg

    sorry not sorry

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  4. Watching CBC's coverage of Skate America...no Tracy Wilson, but G/P's coach Carol Lane is doing the ice dance commentary alongside Kurt Browning. I wonder if it is because Tracy is likely commentating for NBC this weekend?

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    1. Anon at 1:22 pm - you would have thought that perhaps Patrice Lauzon would have been able to commentate instead of Carol Lane. Or hell even hire Ben Agosto...

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    2. As long as she's not commentating in any competition where Paul/Islam and Oxford/Williams are competing vis a vis Gilles/Poirier, the conflict of interest isn't egregious, but let's see how much her commentary acknowledges stellar skating skills versus generic performance values.

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  5. We are so done this season. Here's a preview of Sochi. http://31.media.tumblr.com/091a7b22f92a9530275404c7834e182f/tumblr_muy9f9cpRo1qejmb3o1_500.jpg
    It fucking kills me.
    This is shit.

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    1. Oh for fuck's sake. Enough with these IT'S ALL OVER, V/M ARE DOOMED, THEY MAY AS WELL KICK THE BALL INTO THE WOODS AND GO HOME posts.

      Who the hell is "we?" Not every V/M fan thinks like you do. If you're so depressed about this season, I have a suggestion: STOP WATCHING. I'm betting most fans who refuse to sit around endlessly declaring V/M should throw in the towel won't miss you when you're gone.

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    2. I'm not the poster from above, but I too don't see how VM can win. I just don't. Well, maybe we can start praying for a miracle.

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    3. Denial is more than a river in Egypt. You are delusional. The writing is on the wall. Tessa & Scott are going to be second. You know it deep in your heart as well. Stop being so hopeful & wishful. It's disgusting. True V/M fans know the outcome.

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    4. You don't see how they can win? Just because you don't see it doesn't mean it isn't possible or that if they do win it will be a miracle.

      @ 9:27 and all the other posters declaring V/M should throw in the towel because they will most certainly not win in Sochi: perhaps one of you can lay out what has happened so far this season that has eliminated ALL POSSIBLE scenarios in which V/M could win a second gold medal. And please don't give me an answer that is based on your own worst fears or is derived from your anger over D/W's over-marking.

      Break down the data/information you're using to make your assessment and tell me why it is so infallible you can accurately foretell what is going to happen.

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    5. @12:54 AM - it's delusional and disgusting to declare that not all V/M fans think alike?

      Man I hope you're a troll.

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    6. The data is that D&W won in SLC with the same FD score V&M had when they won the Olympics, 110, a score V&M didn't hit until Worlds last season (barely, with 111).

      And in their first GP of the season D&W have already surpassed that with 112 for the FD. V&M barely scraped 100 at Finlandia.

      It isn't going to happen. The judges aren't just going to decide they suddenly want to reward V&M's qualities, after almost two years of losing to D&W. It's over. They aren't going to make up a deficit of almost 20 points.

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    7. "It isn't going to happen. The judges aren't just going to decide they suddenly want to reward V&M's qualities, after almost two years of losing to D&W. It's over. They aren't going to make up a deficit of almost 20 points."

      That is the unfortunate, cold, hard truth about the situation. DW pulled a number for their FD in their first GP that VM never hit last season. In fact, VM's highest score ever for a FD is 112.33. So, DW are given a score in the first GP of the season that is higher than VM have ever scored in their entire career.

      We all know that the CoP is completely useless; the scoring bears no reflection on what's actually happening on the ice right now. Skating is about perception and the perception is that VM haven't beaten DW since 2012 Worlds. In theory, scores aren't supposed to be compared between competitions, but they are and VM are so far behind there right off the bat. No, the judges aren't going to just start rewarding VM now, and DW's scores are only going to get higher. Mark my words, this POS will get perfect marks in Sochi and be declared better than Mahler, TD's Bolero, and KP's Bach all put together. This train left the station long, long ago.

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    8. If the fix is in it's out of our control and out of Virtue and Moir's control as well.

      OTOH, DW got (for its time) stupendous marks in 2010 (broke a hundred) while VM got I think 97 at TEB. I well remember a very active poster on fsu foaming at the mouth that Meryl Davis had just received the highest ice dance score ever and thus was now better than Navka.

      This is an Olympic year. There's going to be score inflation. DW's scores at Skate America were, as ever, egregious, but not as egregious as one might have expected, particularly compared to how the rest of the field was scored. There are problems. They're slow. The lifts aren't anything to write home about. Marina talks about certain things being "effective". "Effective" is a good word to contrast with "good", and with DW there's a difference. IMO these programs aren't doing it for the audience, and every competition where the Shibs, who elicit a natural audience response - are present bears that out.

      These are not effective programs. The lifts look cramped. Their movement across the ice seems glacial. The twizzles aren't even faking it and everyone can see there are miles and miles between them.

      Basically it seems to me the scores are not as high as we might have expected, and I think it's possible the judges are afraid to go higher because the programs are so obviously lacking - the skating is lacking. "Obviously" is the word - when it's not obvious, then the judges are delighted to blow up the scoreboard for DW.

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    9. Above should say DW got a stupendous score in 09.

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    10. "It isn't going to happen. The judges aren't just going to decide they suddenly want to reward V&M's qualities, after almost two years of losing to D&W. It's over. They aren't going to make up a deficit of almost 20 points."

      Actually, I wouldn't be surprised if the judges do give V/M scores close to D/W during the G/P. Unless it's already been decided that C/L or B/S will be D/W's rivals this year, they aren't going to want D/W 20 points ahead of everyone else all season long. Despite what people like to think, politics needs to be played carefully -- otherwise goodwill amongst cooperators is lost in future years. The gold is D/W's for sure, but to make it more "legitimate" there will be closer scoring. Whether that is with V/M or another "rival" is what remains to be seen.

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  6. Their scores are CRIMINAL. Man, I want to complain about this but the ISU's probably paid by the USFSA already.

    People really are being blind to D/W's faults. Crappy edges, skating on flats, skating so far apart that you can stick another person between them, etc.

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    1. complain anyway.

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    2. I agree with you...

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  7. Virtue and Moir are the best dancers on the world, they are technically the best. Don´t you see it?
    For me: D/W jumping on the ice, V/M dancing on the ice.
    I wish gold in Sochi V / M, because they are really the best dancers!!! I believe, that you will see!

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  8. If anyone wants to point out the conflict of interests with taniths commenting or at least point out the scores were a joke I suggest heading over to nbc sports to post using twitter on their feed or email questions to nbcolympicsfeedback@nbcuni.com

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    1. Tanith's a commentator for Universal Sports, not NBC, so complaints about her involvement would be better directed there. I don't imagine NBC especially cares about score complaints as 1.) they have no involvement in the actual scoring process and 2.) they don't televise ice dance outside of Nationals and the Olympics.

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    2. NBC owns Universal, so it might be good to copy them anyway.

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  9. So sorry that this has happened to Tessa and Scott. What's left of their legacy now? The judges are saying that they're not even as good as they were in 2010. All their hard work and sacrifice has been for nothing. They've made fools of themselves on social media to hide their true relationship and for what?

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    1. Actually what is most obnoxious was Tanith claiming they now have a Virtue Moir type connection. That's the most degrading thing out of her mouth. What a cheap piece of shit that was to say. You don't acquire a connection by saying you do - it's not something you put on like a costume, nor is refinement. She was an ass during this competition. It needs to be announced at the top that she's Charlie's girlfriend.

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    2. "All their hard work and sacrifice has been for nothing. They've made fools of themselves on social media to hide their true relationship and for what?"

      You seem to be forgetting that six part reality show that will be featuring Ilderton. If they hadn't stayed in the game, that show would never be broadcast. It was all worth it in the end.

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    3. 2:47
      *Snark*
      VM and all their nearest and dearest have their priorities straight. We should all be grateful.

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  10. What I find more disturbing, is that beyond her personal connection with one of the teams, she is an official member of the coaching team at Canton. How can she commentate without bias when she also has a professional interest in certain teams succeeding over others? It's such a larger scale than just wanting her boyfriend to win.
    http://internationalskatingacademy.com/coach/tanith-belbin/

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  11. I think she can comment as long as it's disclosed in the broadcast that she lives with and is the girlfriend of Charlie White. The fact that she goes on and on about how DW are this and that and have Virtue Moir-level connection and it's never shared that the guy is her boyfriend is wrong.

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    1. I wouldn't be surprised if they do disclose it. Olympic figure skating audiences love that kind of stuff -- especially if they also include super-cute footage of the two of them together in their cute love-nest, gazing at Tanith's silver with Tanith lovingly saying "you're a better skater than I ever was, Charlie! Bring home the gold!!!"

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  12. Well the CBC coverage is no better. I like to see commentators pointing out the strengths of each team, but not when it means ignoring their weaknesses. IMO, D&W are very charming skaters and great performers, but they are not dancing in their SD. The foxtrot is non-existent. Yet Kurt actually praised this as an example of good dancing. And neither Carol nor Kurt commented on the fact that they (especially Charlie) kicked up huge piles of snow throughout the program, particularly during the Finnstep pattern, meaning they were clearly struggling with their edges out there.

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  13. "These are not effective programs. The lifts look cramped. Their movement across the ice seems glacial. The twizzles aren't even faking it and everyone can see there are miles and miles between them."

    LOL. That's what will make D/W's win even more awesome. I love how, knowing it was all in the bag, they decided to put crap together just for the laugh. Now they don't even need to spend the season practicing. Beer pong every night! Best will be if the fall on every lift and still win. NBC's already has the Chan footage ready to explain to the audience how the "new system" allows skaters to win with falls.

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