Monday, March 10, 2014

I just did an entire Skating Skills post using canadablue/waltzflower's great videos, and the embed codes didn't work. I think because the videos are private - that nullifies the embed when you go live.

I'm downloading the first one now and will upload when it and the DW one are done and switch those out for the embed code IF the files aren't too big for blogger, and it's entirely possible the files are too big for blogger. I will persevere because the title cards alone are important. And worth a stand alone post.

Meantime, some Dancing With the Stars observations and remarks:

Here is Couple 1. I feel like they go together like ice cream and bacon. They're a complete WTF to me. Maybe because Maks is sort of a babyish, overbearing douche who works a Teddy Bear act underneath, and he tends to need some personality with him in the room, and I'm not sure he's got that here.

If I didn't feel that DWTs has used "M&M" to death already, I'd figure that would be this team's un-portmanteau. In terms of the styling, I will go out on a limb and say I think DWTS is going in the right direction and thus far doing a better job than whoever styled Meryl for ice dance. It helps that she's wearing super high heels to lengthen the leg line (which, granted, was not possible in ice dance), and the heels and spray tan help make her legs seem curvy (yes, the knees jut out, but at least there's some contour to combat it). Then they shirred the shit out of the dress, to create some curve and soften the angles and sharp corners. Fluff the hell out of the hair and, IMO, where figure skating always went in the wrong direction, and DWTs is going in the right direction - go monochromatic with her make-up, not high contrast with it. We want to keep things easygoing, not startle people.

On the dancing side, is he going to be holding her up the entire time, because here it sort of looks like it. She's in a pose and he's got her braced. How familiar.

Wow, you can see this guy's a dance champ in every inch up there. The detail. The alignment. The energy extending to his fingertips. The open chest and shoulders and the stretch throughout his body.

Going by these photos there's going to be as much clutching on the dance floor as there was on the ice.

I'm interested because it's another way to deconstruct DW's smoke and mirrors. They skated in two dimensions. Derek Hough is a genius at dancing in two dimensions, but I don't know if the pro partners tasked with Meryl and Charlie have the knack.

I've done a little scanning around the web, including TWoP (, and I don't think the DW fandom is going to split their votes. They're going to leave Charlie to his own devices.

Finally, I hope Meryl/Maks and Charlie/Sharma will be allowed to find their way without constantly battling the shadow of this cut-with-a-knife chemistry and soul-to-soul connection:

Because this was seventeen years in the making.*

They should be allowed to make their own mark.

*What kills me in the gif isn't even the eyes. It's the whole face, including the kill me now mouth. That's not about equilibrium.


  1. Well this is one weak cast for DWTS..the only competition really is Danica from the Wonder Years and Candace Cameron from Full House in terms of's going to be a long season....and with the height difference between Meryl and Maks - my guess is that we will see Meryl's feet in the air more than Meryl's feet on the floor...anyways I have never watched DWTS and I don't plan on starting now...and the only other former athlete is Sean Avery who used to play in the NHL and is crass and so not classy...oh and I forget the double amputee athlete...

  2. Let me know if it makes the most sense to try making my videos public, OC. It's not a huge deal to me if they get taken down (I don't know if they ban users or not, but I'm not using the channel for anything else), it's just then you'd be back to not having workable videos in your post :/

    1. Well, if it's okay with you, I'd love to try making them public. If they get taken down, the post would still be there, and I'll save the title card part of the video on my hard drive and illustrate with screen caps. I don't want to repeat what's in the post I've prepared, but I think it is extremely important that actual information about figure skating technique get broadcast loudly and often even in a small corner of the online skating world like the blog. Because the sport itself works to confuse the issue - the commentators are constantly telling us stuff that's irrelevant to the criteria in the rulebook by which this sport is judged, former champions like Platov tell us bullshit, and the comments section often contains contributions by people who tell us how it is with the package, which is also irrelevant. Funnily enough, none of the stuff these people blabber on about is in the rules. Are we all just agreeing now, including those in the damn sport, that the rules and criteria are a fig leaf and don't matter? We can all publicly acknowledge that? It certainly seems to be going in that direction to me - or, actually, already there.

      As I type this, there's been a discussion on the VM thread in fsu where they talk about "dance" versus "athleticism" and somehow skip addressing bladework altogether. Bladework has become a freaking ASPECT, instead of the thing itself. Or, as one comment here said "Only one part of the pcs!" Jesus Christ! You're not showing athleticism and some dance rhythm and then over here, a little skating. My God.

      I love your title cards, how explicit they are. Even without seeing actual skating, anyone who read the title cards and has SEEN skating would immediately know who had really skated and who didn't, and who did it well. To see DW skate after those videos is just infuriating, but as long as we're interested in skating, it should never be swept under the rug.

    2. Sure OC, let's go for it... done. Hopefully this works.

      And agreed, my motivation was certainly this^. I was literally yelling at the TV by the time Worlds was over, the commentary was so insufferable. And the articles. And plenty of fan discussion. It's NOT preference. D/W didn't do the skating. And there's extremely specific criteria - and it's publicly available! Thanks for persevering with getting this done. I should be able to get Transitions done later this week.

    3. I'm trying and still no luck, not even on google chrome. While troubleshooting, the problem seems to be that dailymotion is based in France and the embed code isn't always html-compliant for N.A. Wordpress will automatically embed if you paste the URL, but that's not the case with blogger. There's different troubleshooting solutions but none that have done the trick yet.

      I have the videos uploaded, so I'm going to cut them up and see what happens. It takes a long time but maybe it can be the solution. I REALLY want the title cards up, and just watching DW's free skate as I play with embeds, I can see two-footing, hesitations and wobbling blade and clunky feet all over the place. It's enough to make you scream. I also can't believe that even a casual viewer can't tell they're not doing it. They must let themselves be believed that "doing it" is only "part" of what's being judged.

    4. The videos by AWaltzFlower and canadablue are great and exactly what is needed to combat this whole 'it all comes down to preference because the teams are equals' crap. Thanks.

      Also, the VM thread seems to have been invaded by DW ubers and pseuds, or something...the whole thread has changed in the last couple of months. I don't post there, but I read it all the time and some of the regular people don't post as often or at all anymore...i wonder if it is because the mods were giving them a hard time. Well at least there are still some worthwhile posts. I love this response to the whole 'Tessa is too heavy to be lifted by Scott' crap started by DW uber SusanM:

      "Any bozo that thinks Tessa is too heavy needs their heads examined. You wonder why people have eating disorders with this kind of talk. Also V/M have had innovative, amazing and yes acrobatic lifts. Look no further than 'Carmen'. They could've done the same lifts over and over again (like some teams) but they were always challenging themselves to be creative and yes sometimes the lifts had to be altered or changed all together because they were new and weren't always perfect by design but sorry I don't buy that it's because "Tessa's too heavy for Scott' nonsense. If that's the case what's the excuse of some other teams wavering and wobbling all over the place in their lifts when they are suppose to be the 'perfect' body type. Such BS."

      I love that this person points out that the team with the supposedly perfect body types are struggling to do their lifts (and also brings up how they have mostly been doing the same lifts again and again).

    5. And this one from this Golightly person who must be a dancer or ice dancer or something. She knows a lot about technique:

      "Tessa has the best lift technique out of any current ice dancer. I don't think she looks heavy AT ALL. They are of similar heights. She also had to develop more muscle after her surgery in order to change her technique, which was very taxing on her shins and calves. I don't have the link, but I've seen several sequences of pictures of Tessa entering, transitioning, and coming out of rotational lifts and it truly is remarkable the work she does with her legs, arms, and torso. What is more, they always managed to create some pretty fantastic lifts. So, I believe that this thing about Tessa being ”too heavy" is way off the mark. Also, some detractors seem to use this argument a lot, I wonder why that is. I remember when that guy from The Skating Lesson said that for Carmen to win, Tessa needed to lose weight, which I thought was very rude. She's in a very healthy shape, in my opinion.

      Good point, sequins. How come White rocks on his blades so much when Davis is way shorter than him? How come he hunches his back so much? It's all about technique, from both the lady and the man. Tessa does carry a lot of her own weight during lifts, that's great partnering right there."

      and this one from sap5:

      "V/M actually performed a wide variety of lifts, considering the limits imposed by the rules. Why is Tessa's weight a problem? I could see a problem if they were only able to do the same lifts over and over, but that's not what happened."

    6. And then there was this one from one of the ice dance experts on the board (Cherub721):

      "So now they've been struggling with lifts in recent seasons? That is news to me. Sounds like revisionist history. Their lifts were very innovative in 2009, and they kept some of them in 2010, but always adding in more difficult variations. They had to change their jump exit from the Goose after the GP, but did they go back to the easier exit from Pink Floyd? Nope, they created a beautiful new transition out. They had to change their lift in the OD during Worlds, like, right before the competition started. Not many teams could do it and look good.

      2011 was an injury year but they still had a couple of great new lifts, like the one from the Temptation section of their FD. The 2012 lifts in Funny Face had a lot of high on the shoulder lifts with effortless changes of position and they had no problems. The Carmen lifts were insanely difficulty and very consistent level 4. I'd like to see any other team doing those lifts. Didn't D&W do a similar handstand lift this year and then adjusted it to make it easier after the first competition?

      I do question some of V&M's lifts this year and how much they changed them around. I lay it all on Marina. It was very odd how all of a sudden they struggled with lifts when they have been managing new, very difficult, level 4 lifts the entire quad. There was poor strategy involved.

      Take the first straightline lift in their FD. Scott does a spread eagle and Tessa lifts herself into a beautiful extended position. All season, Scott went onto one foot, and actually extended his leg in a parallel position to hers. It was gorgeous... and totally unnecessary! They hit it beautifully sometimes, struggled other times. At the Olympics they eliminated the part where Scott goes onto one foot and parallels her leg... and guess what, even with him in the spread eagle, it was still level 4. They never needed to do the extra features at all. So they weren't struggling to make level 4, they were doing extra thing to challenge themselves and when they performed it well (like GPF) those things should have been reflected in components like Skating Skills, Choreography, and PE, but it doesn't amount to a hill of beans when your rivals get 10s anyway. This is a problem in coaching, not in V&M's abilities.

      It's kind of like when people say "Tessa has a mental block with twizzles".... well, people are going to mess up sometimes when they change their twizzles every season and are doing three sets of twizzles and the variations are difficult. I'd rather say that teams who have done the same set of two twizzles for five years, and still often are out of sync and slow on the second set, have the mental block with them. After all, they didn't even try doing them differently.

      No one thinks they are the same weight. I'm just saying their weight and height difference is certainly much less than the average ice dance team, and that does affect what you can do. It's physics!
      How then do you explain how Marina could lift Gwendal yet Gwendal could also lift Marina?

      The physics part of it comes into play with how the woman carries herself and her limbs. Tessa does it well, probably better than any of the taller girls. If you want to watch taller girls who can't manage themselves in lifts and look clunky, watch some of the lower ranked Russian dance teams. Not Tessa. It's all about how you carry yourself.

      The premise of this video is that anyone can lift anyone, if they have the right technique: (make sure to watch the lift at 2:18)."

      I'm glad some of these people are combating the bogus claims some people are making. There were other good ones in there, but I just chose my favorites.

    7. LOL, oh yikes. I must say my appreciation for youtube's convienence is skyrocketing. Surely the Olympics are allowed again at some point - using Vancouver footage wasn't an issue prior to Sochi, although it's blocked now, and there are tons of Turin videos still available - but I have no idea when.

      You know what - I'll give a try uploading them on vimeo - my understanding is that it has laxer restrictions and it's US-based. I might as well have them in multiple places anyways in case one copy gets blocked. I'll post the links as soon as they're done if you'd prefer to give that a try first.

      Glad to do it, 1:33 :) Long term, I plan to do the same format with GOEs, plus with the off-season coming, hopefully I can catch up the canadablue comparisons and tackle some past seasons.

    8. That lift instructional video that Cherub721 linked is great.

    9. "This is a problem in coaching, not in V&M's abilities." This person makes the right points and comes to all the wrong conclusions.

      This is a problem in JUDGING, not in VM's abilities. This is a problem with the ISU, not in VM's abilities.

      Tessa most obviously has the best lift technique in ice dance. Best lift technique in pairs is, IMO, Tatiana Volosozhar.

      But the sport itself pushes propoganda that contradicts reality. Look at Platov. He's lifted his entire career. He knows Tessa's not overweight and he knows she has the best mechanics in the business. Instead he seems to be co-signing and promoting what the sport itself is unofficially doing - throwing away the rulebook and promoting arbitrary aesthetic values - completely arbitrary aesthetic values based on what country you skate for and not even what your aesthetic may be.

      And since when the hell did Charlie White and Meryl Davies have perfect body types?

      It's so funny, because for years posters on fsu used to claim that Igor insisted his female skaters be anorexic (literally - not too thin - anorexic). This seemed to have its roots in his days coaching Jamie Silverstein, who did struggle with an eating disorder. Tanith Belbin, also, would look dangerously underweight at times. IMO neither Tanith nor Meryl are about Igor, but about people with imperfect technique/mechanics trying to compensate by lightening the load. It could be chicken and egg - the attempt at compensation can lead to obsession with leads to an eating disorder, but may not start with an eating disorder.


    10. I love how these D/W ubers think because V/M weren't clean with some elements throughout the season, but delivered most when it counted, that should be held against them (never mind that D/W are never clean either, it's just that their elements are so dumb-downed to begin with).

      With that lazy logic, Denis Ten, Carolina Kostner, and I/K shouldn't have gotten medals, because they had inconsistent seasons.

    11. I'm fairly certain that Platov has started pushing the propaganda because Coomes and Buckland are a team in the vein of DW. It benefits him if the judging continues to favor not skating and not dancing.

      " Tanith Belbin, also, would look dangerously underweight at times."

      Tanith stated in the 09-10 season that she had previously struggled with disordered eating and once basically blacked out on the ice because of it. She remarked (paraphrasing here) that once she put on some weight and muscle and worked on technique under Linichuk, the lifts got easier for both she and Ben.

      There are some coaches that do contribute with the mental pressure to be thin, but we don't know that Igor is one of those coaches. I think by chance, in skating, all coaches are going to end up with at least a couple of skaters who struggle with eating disorders. It doesn't mean the coach is the cause.

    12. 2:43 - I agree, I think the chances are that in skating, all coaches are going to wind up with at least a couple of skaters who struggle with eating disorders.

      I remember when Tanith talked about her issues - the one thing for which she did receive criticism was she would only say "disordered eating" and not cop to eating disorder as such. One is sort of vague. If you're going to talk about it - talk about it. With her, she's a curvy girl. Maybe in some ways that contributed to her desire to be thinner, but I also believe if she had better control of her core and limbs in space her weight wouldn't have mattered as much to her. I believe in the same article where she discussed disordered eating she discussed strengthening her core and control of her body, to where Ben said it used to be like managing a sack of potatoes, but now it was easier on him because, being stronger, she was able to carry herself better in lifts, distribute her weight.

      Which again, IMO, goes to looking at why Meryl is so underweight. I've hypothesized that it's the aesthetic. But it could also be the same as Tanith. The woman can't manage her body in space. This means more of the load is on her partner. Charlie even has to straighten her legs for her. The weight she maintains lightens that burden.


    13. OK, last shot... (You have to pay for vimeo, I was thinking of veoh.)
      V/M skating skills
      D/W skating skills

    14. I think that poster meant Marina could have had them do the lift without Scott transitioning to one foot--it would have gotten them higher GOEs throughout the season and made them look 'cleaner'. While I don't think anything would have helped VM this year because the judges were dead set on handing DW the gold, I think that post makes a lot of great points. I have read other posts from that cherub person, and she knows her stuff. Her arguments are always sound and she knows a lot about all the dance teams and about ice dancing (blades, body, etc.). I know the thing to do over at FSU is call VM fans stupid and crazy, but a lot of the best ice dance discussion on that board happens in that thread. People actually talk about technique, rules, etc. and they do lots of breakdowns of the skating and talk in specifics.

    15. But the genius of that lift was Scott transitioning on the one foot. It was an absolutely brilliant lift when they nailed it.

      Even when the changed at the last minute in Sochi, it was still a more difficult lift than anything anybody else was doing. The arch in Tessa's back was unreal.

    16. But isn't part of the coach's job to figure out how their skaters can achieve level 4 with the highest possible GOE? How to achieve level 4 without going that little bit too far that makes the element messy and inconsistent? It's a system problem, for sure, that the added difficulty gets no extra points and performing it poorly can actually take away points, but the coaches know that and need to take that into account. And that should have been done much earlier than at the Olympics themselves!

      I know that the posters here generally do not agree with blaming Marina for everything, but can she not ever take any criticism whatsoever? Some maintain that PR and politicking should not be part of her job, but surely the creation, execution, and modification of elements is part of her job?

    17. Anon: 4:53: with that reasoning, why wasn't Marina called out for the execution of D/W's backpack lift? As the season wore down, Meryl basically thumped down on Charlie's shoulder; there was zero finesse or technique in the entry of that lift. Why that lift was a level 4 to begin with boggles the mind.

      In the team event, Tessa hit a rut in the ice, and that's why the entry was so awkward; otherwise, it was good all season (save for TEB, but that was a timing issue, and their timing was off throughout their TEB FD). The public reason they had to change it was because it affected the timing of the following steps (WHATEVER), but we all know it was ISU last-minute fuckery.

    18. DW fans can and should complain about whatever they want with regard to the lifts Marina gave them, but I'm a VM fan so I really don't care.

    19. The difference with DW's lifts is that they have poor lifting technique to begin with, so there are few lifts they can execute well. VM have the best lifting technique in the world. I also heard about them hitting a rut in the ice and when I looked back at the video, I could see it happen. I wish they had kept the original lift but the version they did in the individual event was still beautiful and well executed.

    20. Why is Marina the one we're supposed to quiz? Why not the ISU and the USFSA? It's plenty obvious Marina packages them as the USFSA has determined they shoudl be packaged - she has the musicality to do it.

      This stuff isn't on HER. She did her job. The judges didn't do their job. She could have given them an even shittier lift and it would still have been L4 +3. Everything they did got more labored and sloppier as the season progressed. The very best they ever did that backpack lift was the first time they showed it in public. Every time afterwards was more and more labored.

      I believe that in Marina's mind, she does her job for DW (which is putting this shit together) and she does the job for VM - which is giving them brilliant programs that show off their skating brilliance and up the ante with CoP - and then when the judges do their jobs, VM win - but she's done her proper, best job for both teams.

      There is nothing Marina could have done with choreography or element design that would have changed the outcome in Sochi. Just as there's nothing the skaters could have done. The fix was in.

    21. Furthermore, I am so over what even the skaters claim is a result down to subjectivity. No it fucking well isn't subjective. What's subjective is if both teams are doing it and the judges weigh and compare values, as I and others have pointed out many times before. To simply - let's compare a content-packed program with clean but small-ish elements and great speed (in pairs) and a more open program with enormous elements and stunning speed.

      There IS no subjectivity about VM versus DW. DW's program was constructed in a blatant violation of the ISU's own rules. They did NOT show the skating technique that explicitly merits the tens they receive. That is not subjective. There is no point in their program that we could isolate and say - there, that is multidirectional skating. There, that is knee compression in stroking and powerful run of blade. There ISN'T. They didn't do it. But they got 10s for doing it. It's not subjective. At all. It's objective. They didn't do it.

    22. P.S. - I, too, think changing that lift was mind fuckery. Gee guys, it's impacting your steps - better take it out.

      How obvious does it have to get? That was the showcase move of the program - it doesn't matter what level, it told everyone watching who the gold medalists were. DW's backpack had long since degraded to a meh. The heist was brazen enough without pulling it off with the original VM straightline and that's why they were told to take it out. It happens every time.


    23. IOW- the levels VM receive versus the levels DW receive have nothing whatsoever to do with how Marina has designed an element or how well the respective teams execute. The scores do not relate to how something is actually done on the ice.


    24. All elements at this level of skating are designed to be level 4 _if_ executed correctly. It's up to the tech panel to evaluate each element performed against the rules to see if, as performed that day, the element meets the requirements for level 4.

      For rotations to count as a feature for levels, there are supposed to be at least 6. When Charlie stops short at 5, they haven't met the requirement, but the tech panel ignores it. 100% of the steps and turns in a step sequences are supposed to be clean for level 4. When DW hit a flat, it's ignored and they're given level 4. Being out of sync on twizzles isn't a levels issue, it's GOE, but DW sometimes make mistakes on those twizzles that should drop the assigned level. The tech panel ignores it. Meanwhile, if anyone else makes a mistake, especially VM, it isn't ignored. Sometimes, with VM, they even get marked down a level when there was no mistake.

    25. If VM had skated "clean" the entire season (and as it was, they were as clean as DW only DW's fumbles were ignored) - some other issue would have happened. Remember the incredible Carmen at their own Canadians? What did it score - something ridiculously low? The spin level dropped though it had gone through the GP fine. It was the spin ITSELF, not the execution, because VM had to change it. The sport proactively looks for the highlight moves of VM's programs, the things that transparently set them apart from the rest because only a team with their skating skills can perform it - and gut it in order to enable the DW trajectory. Skating clean didn't stop a crap score at Canadians in 2013. Skating incredibly didn't stop bogus level calls and a below season's best (when all the other top teams got a sb) at the Olympics.


  3. I think I saw one explanation floated on twitter that the photo of Meryl could have been photoshopped. If not, it is brilliant styling. And yeah, the makeup too. The overpainted look isn't flattering on anyone, but when she has unusual features to begin with (not an insult, I don't at all think she's ugly like some do), it's even more off putting.

    1. They're all photoshopped to smooth the skin tone and the color on her legs is obviously photo-shopped to emphasize the muscle tone, which helps create some contour.

      Meryl's on ice "look" has always been contrived and sort of shoe-horning a square peg into a round hole, combining two things that don't easily go together - the whole "sylph" deal with the "exotic" thing. The "exotic" with her coloring, and the sylph-elf stuff with her features and the body type she's had for ice dance. Where the two collide is in her face, and DWTs is using much more common sense, much more flattering make-up.

  4. Compare the official photo, to the photo linked in one of the previous posts:
    I believe that her legs are definitely photoshopped to look fuller, more muscular, and less like matchstick legs. Heck, I wouldn't even be surprised if those weren't even her legs at all, but someone else's. But what are they going to do when the show is broadcast---you can't photo shop live television. Be prepared for a lot of long skirts on her.....

    1. I don't think they'll put long skirts on her because then what's left? Legs is always a safe way to go. The heels will lengthen the line. If she gets dinged for bad feet, then here come the long skirts. However, I think the scores for both Meryl and Charlie will be extremely generous and kept as close to each other as possible, if not tied all the way through, because one of the narratives is the two partners competing against each other, because the show is showing its age and the ratings aren't what they were, and at least DW do have a fan base, although how large it actually is is unknown, it's still more than many contestants who have an unguessable fan base. I definitely think both will be protected in the scores.

      Of course, the styling in the promo photo is DWTs. Once the competition begins, the styling for his partners is often Maks. I remember when he had Misty May Treanor (Olympic volleyball gold medalist) - this was an athletic, natural beauty and he had them pasting her make-up on like a drag queen. That's how his partners often end up looking between the heavy spray tan, heavy make-up and over-literal costuming that ends up wearing the dancer instead of vice versa. I can't really see Meryl Davis putting herself in his hands in that respect, but OTOH, her taste isn't faultless - her look this year was pretty startling in a not good way in both costuming and make-up.

  5. I think Charlie will struggle a lot with Sharna. She's too tall for him. If he couldn't even handle little Meryl how is he supposed to lift Sharna ? She's a pro and can make up for a lot of his short comings but she's no magician either.

    I think Meryl will win as long as they dress her nicely, give her decent make up and forbid her to talk. She doesn't have to try, Maks is strong enough to throw her around a little which will impress the audience.
    When the viewers can decide whom to pair up with whom they'll put Meryl and Derek together ( no cheating of course ... ) so that they'll both can dance in the final.
    Charlie will get voted out long before that.

    1. The thing is, nobody's voted out - they're voted to stay in. I think the DW fans who are really dedicated have already set up camp on DWTs message boards and are prepared to vote for Meryl. Do they have a Shawn Johnson-size robo-vote potential? I don't know. Shawn Johnson was heartland, with a lot of corporate tie-ins, and a big get-out-the-vote push off line as well as on line. She was definitely seen as "one of us" and the middle of the country is DWTs voting heartland.

      I feel as if I already know exactly what Charlie's "contemporary" dance will look like. He'll use his sweeping arm gestures, take wide steps, there will be a lot of movement from this stationery pose to that stationery pose. In contemporary there's no real need to observe a rhythm and there aren't any footwork demands. He'll wear some sort of billowy shirt open to his sternum, and support Sharma in her poses and maybe a couple of lifts. It's a piece of cake.

      Meryl has the cha cha. It's not going to be the potential train wreck of the jive (if she ends up getting the jive). She tends to have a one-note performance mode that she slaps on the second she gets her cue and maintains no matter what. She's not terribly alive in the moment - it's more like she's going to keep smiling (and her eyes keep the same expression) and that makes me wonder how much she'll connect to the audience as a performer on this show.

      Lysacek may not have had the popularity of a Yamaguchi, but he gave it his all and had more rhythm than I think anybody would have expected from watching him skate. He was more alive in performance, with better timing, and an organic connection to his partner on the floor, in a way that surprised people. I think that, as well as the figure skating fan base, helped push him to the finals. People who didn't necessarily follow figure skating liked him. I wonder if that's going to be the case with either of DW.

    2. Something else is that we won't get a complete sense from the first week. They've had 2-3 weeks to work on this, but then it goes down to only a week - and then even less once Stars on Ice starts. So, will a team who could do so little new movement when it was their full time job be able to keep up with that? I doubt it.

      And even if the judges go relatively easy on them, they will still likely get more critique in this experience than they have in quite a while, that might be entertaining.

  6. Meryl actually nice here. I second your thoughts on the DWTS styling, OC. It's good (in combination with the Photoshopping).

    That gif just reinforces my opinion that while Meryl is willing to act fake-y romantic, Charlie can't/won't.

    1. I agree. I think Meryl is willing but Charlie just isn't there.

      I am actually worried about the image of ice dancers after Meryl and Charlie compete on DWTS. A lot of people will tune in and think that is teh best that ice dance has to offer. So basically, you don't have to dance well to be an OGM ice dancer. I hope the ISU is happy...

    2. You don't have to SKATE well to be an OGM ice dancer. That's much, much worse.


    3. 1:48 here.

      "You don't have to SKATE well to be an OGM ice dancer. That's much, much worse."

      That's for sure, but dancers and choreographers tuning in to the show may not have seen DW prior to DWTS and not know they can't skate well. But they will see that they can't dance and think ice dance must be devoid of actual dance.

  7. Charlie lifting Sharna :

    Why am I even surprised that he would recycle a five year old lift for the show ?

    1. I hope contemporary backfires on Charlie like it did for Corbin Bleu. For those that don't watch, Corbin is a Disney star with extensive dance training. Last year he paired with Karina, the best Latin dancers on the show, but who does not have the cross-training in jazz, contemporary, and hip-hop that many of the American pros do.

      Their first dance was contemporary, and it seemed that he was partnering her. He actually had more experience with that style than she did, and came off looking like a professional. That got them the ringer edit, which meant the judging for them was extra harsh all season, and they would get 8s or 9s for technically brilliant routines with one finger out of place, while others got 10s for schlepping and stomping around (ie, they were the Virtue/Moir of the season). They did make it to the finals, but lost (they were robbed, IMO).

      If Charlie is out there teaching Sharna actual lifts, taking a leading role in the partnership, that could put the ringer target on his back even moreso than it already is, and hopefully lead to more exacting judging, and God knows there would be a lot there to deduct if they're so inclined.

      If he can pull off these lifts with Sharna, who is much bigger than Meryl, then that will lead me to conclude two things:
      1. Sharna's lift technique is a million times better, and Meryl has been the problem.
      2. Charlie's skating skills really suck, and the problem is not his lifting technique but that he has to do them while on blades.

  8. A new thread was created to discuss both teams but it will inevitably turn into another place to mock VM fans. Here is a post from someone who fancies herself an expert:

    "I don't think you are giving this viewer enough credit, because he did go on to note re V/M "they didn't even seem to be hearing the music, let alone interpreting it" which really does get to a key point in judging ice dance. When technical experts are asked to explain D/W's high marks, one of the first things we often hear is that they use every note of the music and accent the musical highlights.

    I think a lot of the folks who have been in love with V/M for years just have not been willing to see how much D/W improved in the last 4 years. Meanwhile, V/M did not really improve any of their technical skills. There may be lots of reasons for that. Tessa's surgery cost them most of a season and her condition limited their training at times, but the bottom line was that 4 years later, they were basically the same team, or maybe even a team no longer at their best. To me, they actually looked a bit slower and more earth-bound; they just didn't seem to float over the ice quite like they used to."

    FOA, who, besides AussieWilly, said that DW use every note of the music? SusanM said experts, plural. Who are these experts? And AussieWilly does not judge senior dance.

    And VM are "basically the same team, or maybe even a team no longer at their best"? What is this person watching? VM are so much better than they were in Vancouver--much faster and more powerful and are doing more difficult programs than ever before. Someone needs to show this person AWaltzFlower's and canadablue's videos.

  9. how long will it take until the this thread is shut down because d/w ubers cant deal with people criticizing d/w ? i expect a shitfit

    1. Dumbass Doris P is piping in that the reason that V/M's lift levels were erractic all season was because Scott must have had some injury and they had to adjust the lifts to compensate. Umm, no, it's because the ISU was dicking around with the levels all season.

    2. I wonder why D/W reverting to an old lift *and* making it easier by Meryl holding on isn't seen as evidence of injury. I don't think they were injured, but obviously these people would never admit that Meryl and Charlie were aware they could get away with taking it easy. Oh no, going back to an old lift at all is evidence that the ISU was threatening them with downgrades, or something.


    Good grief. Tessa yet again saying it's *strange* that people want to see her and Scott get together. These guys hold hands throughout the podium ceremonies in Sochi and in general act their normal affectionate selves and then turn around and basically are saying the fans are stupid for imagining things.

    I hate this enabling from all the public entities who interview and/or write about VM. They let Tessa and Scott get away with ridiculous and patently false statements and never question anything, never bring up the myriad contradictions. These "journalists" would never do this if they were reporting on a hard news story.

    I want to point out to those who accuse this blog, or certain fans, of hating VM that bringing up and acknowledging VM's bad behaviour does not equal hating. VM are blaming the fans for their lies and we have a right to say so and push back. I like VM but I hate that they do this. I also refuse, as a fan, to be labeled a crazy fan or a delusional fan just because I see their lies and I dare call it what it is.

    1. 7:23 And you'll notice Scott didn't even flinch, didn't roll his eyes or sigh....just waited for Tessa to trot out the same old lines. He is so done with it. I wonder where these journalists do their "research", if they do any, because a quick nose around the fandom will not lead you to the conclusion that the fans are dying for them to be together. As the blog often points out, the fans buy the platonic thing. It tends to be the people who've just discovered them who are all "OMG why aren't they married already?!!!"

    2. FWIW, the interviewer framed the question as whether it's weird, and Tessa's answer was "it's strange, but I can see why..." so IMO, she is not exactly saying the fans are stupid for believing it and ignoring the way she and Scott have behaved. She's still lying, it's still ridiculous, she's still MARRIED, but I don't feel it's as insulting as its made out by 7:23.

      "I want to point out to those who accuse this blog, or certain fans, of hating VM that bringing up and acknowledging VM's bad behaviour does not equal hating. VM are blaming the fans for their lies and we have a right to say so and push back. I like VM but I hate that they do this. I also refuse, as a fan, to be labeled a crazy fan or a delusional fan just because I see their lies and I dare call it what it is. "

      I understand and I hope all of us VM fans can make peace. I'm someone who was duped by the sham for years but I wasn't following them closely enough to have been stinged by the Monaco setup or other facebook hijinx. I don't feel insulted by the sham, but I understand why other fans do. I totally support calling them out on their lies. I know that some fans call anyone who agrees with this blog delusional and crazy, which I think is awful and wrong. There are also a lot of fans on twitter, though, that do agree with this blog's premise, know that VM are lying, and do not think that VM are hateful people or that they enjoy hoaxing us. While the facts of this blog are true (the lying, the marriage, and the child), their motivations cannot ever be fully known. Even if they tell their inner circle what the motivation is, we still can't ever know they aren't lying to those people (they have no credibility) or even to themselves. So a lot of the posts here, even from OC, are based on speculation and our interpretations of their actions and words. And we are all entitled to that, and hopefully we can all respect each other.

      So what I'm trying to say is that while I hate that some fans wrongly call those who call out VM's lies haters, I also hate that some fans insist that those of us that don't believe VM are sociopaths are just reading the situation wrong and almost at times insinuating that we are stupid because we don't feel insulted by the sham in certain ways or that we aren't angry enough about it. I hope that makes sense, and I am not referring to your post - you haven't done that, it's just a general comment and your post was a good opening for a point I've been wanting to make.

      I do hate how VM have torn apart this amazing fanbase that they have, filled with loving and dedicated fans who want the best for them. And boy, are we good at getting together and supporting them where it matters - their skating. By creating this complex web of lies about their personal lives, they have really torn apart a lot of their fans and made us mistrust and argue with each other about stupid things. That just sucks, and I blame that entirely on them. We have fans who feel that they must believe everything VM say in order to be good fans, fans who feel that telling the truth makes them good fans, and everything in between. It shouldn't be divided like this. Other than this I think we're one of the best fan communities on the internet.

    3. I'm 7:23. I want to clarify that I do not believe Tessa and Scott hate their fans. As far as I can tell, there are no fans who say this. I think some people on twitter jump to that conclusion and accuse comments here of saying VM hate their fans.

      Imo all indications are that VM appreciate their fans. However, it's clear they have a major and weird compartmentalization going on, where they treat the fans, as a nebulous, abstract group, as if they're stupid. It is very strange how they can show contempt towards fans, as an abstract group, but towards real people-fans they are kind and personable. I think it's all part of that bizarre compartmentalization they do that to them, justifies their shamming.

      Sorry, all of that to say I don't believe VM hate their fans, nor do I believe anyone here has ever said that.

    4. 9:50 AM - you are absolutely right that even if (and even when) it's known what they tell their inner circle about their motivations, or what their inner circle passes on to the larger community about their motivations, we don't know if it's the truth. In fact it's not the truth, because they say it's privacy, and they contradict that left, right and center. It was in our face last season when fans were dying to talk skating and VM kept twisting the narrative back to their relationship. It was in our face this season when fans were braced to see the team prepare for the Olympics and got scripted soap opera bullshit lifted from what fans had speculated on message boards - and nothing meaningful about skating. In fact, they distorted their skating for the show.

      Although I believe Virtue and Moir have proactively treated fans very badly, in many instances, and have been outrageous jerks, and that's when the blog becomes the most vehement, the core principle that started the blog was how they used social media, and how fans sort of self-assigned themselves the role of enablers. (Some fans). Moirville would put the sham on their public walls even when other albums were private, and fans pretended that the sham wasn't aimed their way. Moirville acted as if they could co-opt social media for their own ends. If they want to do that - fine. But there was no obligation for fans to play along and start playing the role of idiot. A lot of fans did. They knew better and they humored along Moirville.

      To me it's very important to emphasize that what you put up on the internet is public domain. It's not private. The blog was started to make that point. It started also to chronicle the sham - just have a place on the web that used what they used - the web - to point out that they were lying. And it was also there so that anyone who was interested would be able, if they chose, to see that they weren't crazy, but Moirville was intentionally jerking their chains. The web is for everyone, at least the platforms Moirville used, yet they acted as if the web was a place they could not be called out. No, that's the legitimate media where they can't be called out. That's in their own professional public relations - what there is of it. It ain't the web.

      I don't think fans have been called sociopaths. Tessa has been, using either hyperbole or not, depending on what Tessa's up to in the moment. It's not that ridiculous. The woman proactively lies about every inch of her life and embellishes those lives. She'll take a question and beat the ever living crap out of it with lies, trying to close every loophole. They have jerked fans around six ways from Sunday. Then, since at least 2009 (IIRC), she's touted The Fountainhead as her favorite book. That's not just any book. That has a specific history and represents a very particular hierarchy of values based on certain human beings inherent superiority to other human beings, and portraying non-superior human beings as human waste with no inherent value. She puts this stuff out there. Of course we can bend over and say she's an idiot and doesn't know what she's talking about, has never shown an ability to link A and B or discern the implications of an action or a statement. That's true. But OTOH, the book is not nothing, especially compared to her history of dealing with the public.

      I don't think, though, that fans who don't buy into the sham have been called psychopaths.

    5. That said, as I see it, and although I did not have this lens when the blog started, I do see everything this blog has talked about as part of a larger, toxic whole. The sham. Skate Canada. And DW's scoring trajectory. It's all part of what figure skating has become. I don't think any other athletes - not in figure skating, would in a million years have conducted the sham this way - not in their dreams. It requires insularity, lack of accountability, lack of scrutiny, entitlement, unearned superiority, an attitude towards the public that apparently is hardwired (look at how the ISU isn't fussed when the public reacts and - reportedly - falsified statements from Yuna Kim in order to quell dissent about the results in ladies, and selectively edited the response they were receiving in order to shut down questions). There's pro-active aversion to transparency. The sport isn't accountable - why should Scott and Tessa think they're accountable? It's all the same thing.

      Plenty of blogs and webpages started out with one goal and that goal expanded. As I've had this blog, one thing has (organically) led to another and we can see that VM's sham is a component, not the core problem. The core problem is figure skating, and the culture inside figure skating. This is enabled by the myth that figure skating - the bladework - is an arcane technique that no lay person or media person can apprehend. That's crap, but the media isn't exactly motivated to prove that myth wrong because with the status quo they can know nothing, expense their week, groupie up to their subjects and then write what they want. It's not a gig you get many other places in sports, entertainment or "journalism."

      But it IS quite easily apprehended. Skating technique is not opaque. It's observable. As I said, DW's win was not subjective, not in any sense of the term. The ISU's rules and criteria are explicit. DW explicitly didn't fulfil the criteria and were awarded scores anyway. More and more fans know it and are way ahead of members of the media who know it imperfectly and produce a half-hashed out complaint about the results (half hashed out because they are still getting it second hand, still unable to see what's going on on the ice, relevant to CoP, for themselves).

      Worst of all, people in the SPORT are all over the map with no consistent standard for when we should accept the sport is "subjective" and when we should raise holy hell - unless the beneficiary is Russian (and even when raising holy hell is misplaced and the Russian actually merited their placement). People in the sport, from P.J. Kwong to Kurt Browning to Tracey Wilson to non-English speaking commentators in Europe to former champions like Platov all went out of their way this season to ignore that this sport has a rulebook with very clear standards of superior technique and performance, and instead pumped the public full of bullshit about arbitrary aesthetics and undefined impact.

  11. Another great post, this one from Dolore in the VM-DW open discussion thread:

    "To say VM haven't improved since Vancouver or have declined is nothing but parroting Dave Lease because all evidence on the ice shows you just how much VM have improved.
    The difficulty in their lifts is unquestionable, their edges got deeper and their strokes more powerful. Their ice coverage in steps and lifts is second to none.
    Their Mahler program was brilliant but in terms of difficulty it's almost junior-ish in comparison to Seasons and Carmen.

    Why people keep using Tessa's injury as an excuse is beyond me because nothing in their on ice performances says she didn't train properly. The reason VM make mistakes at the beginning of a season is because they start from zero every year and it simply takes time to perfect it. So far they have always been a hundred percent ready at worlds/Olympics. So even if Tessa had a problem it wouldn't matter for this discussion.

    DW are ready early in the season because they spent the last quad to improve the program they gave skated four years ago. They haven't challenged themselves, didn't have to learn new elements and hardly ever adjusted to the rhythm they were supposed to be skating to.
    They used the same rhythm and timing in their movements for waltz, finnstep, Persian, tango and what else they were skating to.

    DW have slowed down a lot and when they are fast it's usually during one arm or hand-to-hand holds or with lots of space between them.
    VM may appear slower but just look at what their blades do and see how quickly they cover so much ice in short time in closed holds while skating close together.
    Blade work - what ice dance is supposedly about - seems to be completely ignored in most ice dance discussions.

    But the most glaring problem is neither of the teams but the judging.
    VM are usually treated harsher than other teams but their scoring would be okay if the judges would use the same standards on the other teams as well. Alas that doesn't happen.
    Meryl skated the finnstep on flat edges most of the season, Charlie kicked up lists of snow, they both often missed the key points, their twizzles were often out of unison, shaky and didn't cover much ice. Charlie was hunched during the lifts and his blades were rocking uncontrollably.
    Yet they never got deducted for these things. They were rewarded +3 for glaring mistakes.
    The excuse that they won because they were clean all season long is obviously wrong. They made many mistakes, the judges simply chose to ignore them."

    1. Exactly - they were not clean all season long - the protocols were juiced to create a precedent - same with VM. The ISU has proactively worked since prior to Vancouver to jerk VM around and create the impression there's always something that needs to be reworked.

      It is beyond typical that what DW fans do to defend their favorites is go after VM. But it doesn't matter. VM could NOT have improved since Vancouver (although they've improved tremendously) and they are STILL much superior to Davis White.

      Furthermore, simply saying that VM fans ignore that DW have improved, without citing WHERE they have improved, with specificity relevant to how scores are supposedl awarded, is just useless. It's misdirection, and a ploy. It's not a defense of DW. It's an avoidance of a defense of DW.

    2. and if you want rocking blades and sloppy feet, just wait til the skating lesson videos are up. I can just see casual viewers wondering what the HELL ice dance is that DW got the gold.

  12. Where is that gif at the end from? I'm dying it's so funny.


    1. That gif is from