More Grand Prix and Music Announcements
Skate America, the Internationaux de France, and the NHK Trophy fill their rosters; three ladies abandoning new programs.
As we close in on the Grand Prix series, the remaining blank spaces are getting filled in. One type of empty space, of course, has to get filled in: the TBD host spots at the events. Most of them now are, after a slew of new entries today. Another type can remain blank until the skaters actually show up to skate, but most top skaters who don’t debut their programs early will make an announcement of their music sometime before October. In recent days, we’ve seen plenty of both types.
Most Grand Prix Host Slots Now FilledEmbed from Getty Images
After Canada filled up all their Grand Prix host slots and Russia filled up three of theirs over the weekend, the U.S., France, and Japan mostly followed suit this week. China’s three slots alone remain unfilled, along with the third Russian ladies berth.
Skate America was the only event that had TBDs in all four disciplines. Their men’s berth goes to Ross Miner, who’s medaled on the circuit once in the past. He won’t be without a chance of it at Lake Placid, though he would need to be lucky. Bradie Tennell faces a loaded ladies field, but she proved her potential at the Lombardia Trophy last weekend, which is probably what got her this invite. The odds are more against Deanna Stellato & Nathan Bartholomay, though; they’re just happy to be on the circuit. Nor are Rachel & Michael Parsons likely to make the dance podium, but it’ll be interesting to see how high they finish, and how it bodes for their senior careers.
Japan and France both had empty pairs and dance slots to fill. The two pairs choices were both obvious ones. Lola Esbrat & Andrei Novoselov are France’s longtime second pair and Miu Suzuki & Ryuichi Kihara are also reigning silver medalists, and almost certainly the Japanese team that will go to the Olympics if any get the opportunity to. The two ice dance berths went to reigning national bronze medalists, Lorezna Alessandrini & Pierre Souquet and Misato Komatsubara & Timothy Koleto. The French silver medalists had two assignments already, and the Japanese ones retired this summer. None of these four teams are likely to be factors in their competitions.
Savchenko & Massot Amoung Those to Announce Their Music Late, Three Ladies Discard New ProgramsEmbed from Getty Images
We’ve had a lot of cases this season of skaters reusing old programs from the get go. But every season, there are always also cases of skaters deciding their new programs aren’t going to work, and then going back to old ones. New music announcements are still coming in, and we got a huge one this week. Sort of. But we also had a pair of high-profile cases of old programs taking the place of scrapped new ones, as well as a few more scattered music announcements.
The big announcement is one that’s been known in Europe for some time, but it’s only now those of us in the west have heard it. Only days ago did word hit the English-speaking message boards, saying back in June the skating magazine Pirouette announced Aliona Savchenko & Bruno Massot as skating to Maxmie Rodriguez’s “Spanish Flame” for their short and Armand Amar “La Terre vue due ciel” for their free. Then, with their debut at Nelehorn now less than two weeks away, Savchenko pretty much confirmed that with an Instagram post that included the album cover from the latter:
Their free program music especially is beautiful enough that they could conceivably top even the masterpieces they skated to last year. We’ll have more knowledge of that, of course, after next week.
The first program announced as gone last week is the one Kaetlyn Osmond kept through the Summer Series, but apparently, even then, she wasn’t sure she was going to use it. Now she’s decided to instead give her Edith Piaf short a second season of use. They insist it wasn’t because they were unhappy how the new “Summertime” program was going; they just thought she’d be stronger with the older one. Certainly the new program wasn’t bad, though it paled in comparison to some of the “Summertime” programs that came before it. The Piaf program, on the other hand, is one she’s made her own. She’s slated to compete at the Autumn Classic this weekend.
It seems it may be harder to make La La Land programs work than some skaters initially thought. Back during Champs Camp, there was a claim out that Ashley Wagner had been the second high-profile case of discovering this, and had gone back to her old Moulin Rouge program. Now her IceNetwork profile has confirmed it. There’s also a claim she did it under advice from U.S. skating officials, which she would’ve been under pressure to follow. But either way, it’s dismaying. Her Moulin Rouge free may be a beautiful one, but she’s done it for two seasons already, and too many other skaters are using that soundtrack this season already. Wagner’s a character skater, and it’s a huge disappointment we’ll see nothing new from her for this Olympic season.Embed from Getty Images
At least one lady, however, abandoned her long program early enough to get a new one. A week before she competes at the Ondrej Nepala Trophy, Da-Bin Choi revealed she’d abandoned her West Side Story free and gotten a new one to Antonin Dvorak’s “Gypsy Songs.” That’s an ambitious piece to tackle, but, as someone who actually made La La Land work for her last season, it might still be more suited to her than the more common choice was.
Unfortunately, as well as the return of a Moulin Rogue into a season with too many of them, we also have yet another Swan Lake on our hands. After missing the Russian test skate Anna Pogorilaya talked to the press, and that’s her long program. Her short program is to Spanish music, though we don’t know any more than that yet. Contrary to what we were told earlier, she now says she missed the test skate due to injuries.
In another one, Evgenia Medvedeva did talk about her long program she debuted in Sochi, and there’s a translation not too far down this post. The story’s a pretty abstract one about faith, and fans may heed it or ignore as they so wish.