Ondrej Nepela Trophy and Autumn Classic International 2017 review

Posted on 2017-09-25 • 10 comments


It’s impossible to watch two competitions simultaneously, in different time zones. Well, challenge accepted. For real figure skating fan this mission isn’t impossible :) So here’s my mix of impressions of both competitions: Ondrej Nepela Trophy and Autumn Classic International 2017.


They forgot to inform Alena Leonova that required rhythms in the short are only for dancers, and cha-cha is actually for juniors. Or maybe the message of this program is “This season we have latina – just deal with it”. Alas, Alena’s latina turned out dull and boring, it just not for her. But I really liked the Indian free program (unexpectedly in a half-naked dress), it’s cheerful and has a potential.

The only hope of Koreans for the home Olympics (I remember about So Youn Park but unfortunately don’t have much faith in her) Da Bin Choi in SP skated the repertoire of Yuna Kim. Surprisingly, Yuna didn’t skate to the music from DaBin’s free program. The program is lovely and she skated well, if she continues to skate consistently, the scoers will also rise.

It was hard to watch Elena Radionova‘s short program. It looked heavy and with no spark. The scene in the kiss ans cry was heartbreaking. Apparently, Lena also thought that we may lack latina this season) But in general, the free program looked much more optimistic. And what a character! She repeated that loop, even though they wouldn’t count it. That’s great, because I started to worry that her fighting qualities were gone along with clean jumps.

The paradox of Rika Hongo: she has neither good posture, neither beautiful lines and her jumps aren’t wow now, but it’s interesting to watch her skating. She stands out from the range of cute Japanese skaters, whose names I always confuse. It’s hard to confuse Rika with someone else) Frida unexpectedly showed up in her FP, russian pattern unexpectedly showed up on her dress)

Evgenia is still ahead of the whole planet. The short program is beautiful, the music of Chopin suits her a lot, all jumps in the second half – just wow. But these sighs and “I can’t breath” at the end and the whole libretto about clinical death…. Oh, I really want to hit Averbukh with a defibrillator a couple of times, he spoiled such a beautiful program! The free program….well I didn’t get it yet. I really like the first part, it’s very musical and the music does not really ask for jumps … ..the second part does not ask them musically either, but they go one by one … ..

Now we’re moving to Canada

Alaine Chartrand. While I have a feeling that the short program is too hard for her, she can not cope with it yet. Somehow she jumped everything, but then fell out of the blue. The FP seems choreographically easier, but it did not help her much.

Courtney Hicks scared me a bit with her dress for the short program. No, the dress is nice, but first I thought that she also decided to join the group of swans. Too many swans for my taste) Luckily that was The Lady Caliph.

Elizabet Tursynbaeva…..Carmen….Yeah that was funny) The free program is quite another thing. Beautiful, gentle, lyrical program. But, looking at Elizabet, I start to think of little vampire Claudia from Interview with the vampire, time passed, but she did not grow up and did not change at all :)

It was a bit surprising to see that Mai Mihara turned into young woman and has a tango in short program. The program is very-well choreographed. I also liked the free program, it suits her soft skating. The dress is also lovely.

Kaetlyn returned to the old SP. It’s the best program in her career, so I think this was a right decision. But it’s a pity that we won’t see something new from such a talanted performer. Well, at least she isn’t skating this program for the third season….A tiny “mitigating circumstance” – at least she tried to get a new program. The first thing to do in this FP is to wash off this make-up. But honestly, I expected more from this music choice. I still don’t like the aka ballerina moves on toepicks and weird moves “where’s my wallet” after the spin.

Pairs at Nepela were quite boring.

Most of all I liked the short program of Astakhova – Rogonov. Programs without theatre suit them much more. In the free program they have a nice music cut of La La Land (in contrast to many ones we have already seen), but unfortunately jumps weren’t there.

I liked Zabijako – Enbert less than last week at Lombardia. Perhaps, they are got tired, but they seemed slow and unnecessarily cautious. The yawn of the Slovak cameraman told everything about their free program.

Pairs’ competition in Canada was very interesting.

Castelli – Tran have such a great programs and such a good costumes. It’s a pity they can’t claim for something serious. The free program is amazing!

I do not know why sweet and romantic Julianne and Charlie needed these all shades of gray, none of them are the hero of this um novel, but the program is excellent. Everything is musical and stylish. Free program is completely in their style, which you watch with a smile on your face.

Meagan and Eric decided to do lyrical program again. The program is very beautiful, but I still have an impression that it doesn’t show all their capabilities. As for the free program, well I have the same opinion about all skaters who brought old programs this season. The program has its moments of shine and it’s very difficult to repeat that impression. Especially with mistakes.

In the first 10 seconds of the SP, Vanessa and Morgan gave more sex than some dancers in latina. Entry for the twist is just legen wait for it dary! Make it rain….Oh yes, we’re going to need some rain to cool down after such a hot program. The free program is stunning. But it’s dangerous to watch it at night….I guess you know why) And a quad throw…. What can I say? Vanessa, Morgan, I’m all yours!

Men at Nepela were even more boring than pairs. Here I completely agree with poor Slovak cameramen, who frankly yawned at all participants. Misha’s quad lutz was the only ray of light in this kingdom of darkness)

Grant Hochstein skated something lyrical-classical …. He has a nice skating, but not really memorable, so every year it seems to me that he skates the same programs.

The Australian Brendan Kerry, whom I liked so much last week at Lombardia, decided on two quads in the short and predictable failed both. In the FD he also didn’t shine, but with a help of other participants still got the bronze.

(Fortunately) Voronov‘s programs are without choreo revelations. They suit Sergei, especially the short. Such usual and understandable tango. I can’t say much about his FP … ..typical Voronov.

Misha Kolyada‘s short program it’s just “Why? Why? Why?” Why did they steal the music cut from Liza Tuktamysheva’s last season’s program, where poor Mozart was combined with tango. Why did he put a lutz if the percentage of successful attempts is clearly not high enough. For a good clean program with one quad Misha would have got more than 90 points. In the FP quad lutz was amazing…..but he failed the two other quads. And the program itself … well it’s better than a short and isn’t bad, but why? Why take Elvis, if just a year ago, a top skater has already done Elvis and Misha definitely can’t beat that performance. Why not to pick up something else, something more unique?

Ok, let’s move to Canada.

After the short program I thought that finally Nam is back and things are getting better for him…..But in free program he decided “Who cares about jumps” ;)

Oh, unfortunately he wasn’t the only one who thought like that.

What happened between SP and FP is a mystery. Either magnetic storms, or they celebrated Yuzuru’s record.

Either magnetic storms have no power over Misha Ge, or he wasn’t invited to the party, but both his programs he skated decently. Misha does not lag behind the trend “Bring the old program back in the Olympic season, and better both”. Well, Misha isn’t fighting for medals and he wasn’t sure whether he’s going to compete this season, so I won’t complain about his old programs.

I liked both Javier‘s programs. Charming Chaplin in the SP. In the costume for the FP Javier looks like a real prince, so I predict that many Dulcineas will want to jump on the ice after his performances)

Knee bothers Yuzuru, he is not in shape…they said before the short program. Well, if it’s not in shape than what we can say about the rest whom we’ve seen this week? Adult skating? That’s why the fp was a shock….I really hope that Japanese fans on the stands were ok and there were no heart attacks. I wish Yuzuru health, neither optimal shape nor records are necessary this early in the season.

Ice dance

I do not know what’s wrong with me, but I really liked Betina and Sergei. I even liked their latina, but I would gladly remove this polka dot something) And Carmen is just a great choice for this duo and the dance is well choreographed, with some interesting details. Of course I worry that on close ups I’ll see all Betina’s facial expressions…..but still I son’t understand why they didn’t get a TBA spot at the Rostelecom cup…..

The Parsons‘ skating is just stunning….And the short dance is stylish. Unfortunately they lack strengths for the fd, the music goes faster and faster and it’s difficult for them to correspond, oh and the lifts looked heavy.

What to say about Bobrova – Soloviev‘s latina… There are dancers who are not about passion and sex. No matter how hard they try, it turns out funny and ridiculous. Katya and Dima are one of them. I don’t understand why their choreographer don’t see that and instead of showing us their strengths such as experience, mature skating they show us this:

Oh this shoulders move……

But this is more a matter of taste, but losing in tech to former juniors should be painful) After latina, free dance looks almost like a masterpiece. Though, we still didn’t see this dance in good stream with close ups) But the rotational lift is amazing.

Ice dance in Montreal, I watched with great interest and pleasure, and not just leaders.

I really liked the Danes. They have nice latina of James Bond and his lady in the short dance. Their free dance si one of my favorite this season. So I think they was underscored in fd….

McNamara runs and rushes, lines and beauty of poses do not bother her ;) But she has charisma and energy enough for both of them. I liked their tango….judges want to say me that Lorraine and Quinn are weaker dancers than Smart-Diaz?) Oh come on!

I like Olivia and Adria‘s short dance, it’s stylish. I like it almost till the end…but at last seconds Adria remembers that it’s latina, so you should do something crazy and does this:

For me their FD isn’t memorable – watched and forgot. So I don’t understand why the scores were so generous.

I have a feeling that with this short dance, Piper and Paul just making fun of latina. This choice of music with squeals, costumes that amaze the imagination … but they do it with such a self-irony and in their own style, so something really interesting turns out. As for the fd I think it has lots of potential and I like that they continue to experiment and do something unusual.

Looking at Kaitlyn and Andrew‘s super laconic costumes I start to think that Piper and Tessa took all the rhinestones and there was nothing left for poor Kaitlyn) But I have a feeling that after a couple of competition the usual magnificence of their costumes will be back. I like their short dance, especially the step sequence…but it seems that previous latina was emotionally closer for them.  The FP makes an impression mostly because of the strong music, yes Nikolai won’t advice bad music) But with time it’ll look better and better. At the moment in some places, music is stronger than them.

Predictably Tessa and Scott have the best latina. Ballroom moves, work of upperbody, the interaction of partners everything is great. Watching how they do it, you realize that the rest are mostly kindergarteners compared to these two masters….  I like everything, except music and costumes. Well, knowing Tessa this isn’t the last dress for the season, but with music I’ll have to deal somehow.

I have mixed impressions about the FD. I really liked the parts I saw at practice, in plain costumes, I even got the goosebumps. So I expected that performance at competitions will make even greater impression. It did not. Yes, I watch them and realize that no one else can skate like this….but…Probably I just wanted and expected more, but I love them no matter what….. so come what may.


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10 Responses to “Ondrej Nepela Trophy and Autumn Classic International 2017 review”

  1. Bindy says:

    Oh, thank you for the lighthearted humour! I have to remember to read these every week! And this week you had plenty of fodder for the cannon. I think we should get up a petition to get Tessa to wear that gorgeous blue practice dress. And Scott should give away the SP shirt…he just does not need sparkles and always looks great in simple styles. And Kaitlyn W will come up with something gorgeous for the FS, hopefully, because that see through black dress was not becoming..and I can’t believe I am going on about costuming when it’s the dancing I really love. Looking forward to next week!

    • FS Gossips says:

      Thank you)
      “I think we should get up a petition to get Tessa to wear that gorgeous blue practice dress”
      and wear it for the short dance)

      Oh, I’m not sure whether I’ll write something about Nebelhorn or not( Unfortunately I didn’t have an opportunity to watch it all.

  2. Live for skating says:

    Judges want to say that Elliana and Alex are weaker than Nazarova Nikitin? Oh come on!

  3. skating fan says:

    I love Vanessa & Morgan’s new FS! This FS has tender and victorious moments and I can definitely say that the choreography is very good, I like also the fact that their lifts are innovative, transitions are very good, they keep the mood of the program, they are constantly improving, not only their technique but artistry as well, I hope this year will be very good for them!

    Rika, I hope she will be back in the game! She is definitely memorable and maybe it is the reason why I like her so much- she is herself, she doesn’t try to be the next cute girl.

    Evgenia, very good technique and two programs which don’t convince me.

    Astakhova & Rogonov: the jumps weren’t there, but very nice FS, the music cut to their La La Land is indeed very good.

    Kaetlyn’s SP is very nice, this style suits her a lot, powerful jumps and she looks relaxed and enjoying the performance.

    Castelli & Tran- their FS is just amazing, they conveyed the mood of the program, for me their romance on ice was totally convincing. It’s a pity that the jumps weren’t there.

    Meagan & Eric- both of their programs seem to be emotionless for me, they definitely can do better than that.

    Javier is a natural performer, his SP is very good, he needs only moustache to be the star of the Golden Era of Hollywood. Although, I agree that his costume for FP is great and he looks hot, I prefer Javi’s FS to “guys and dolls” or as Elvis.

    Yuzuru- I like his new SP, Chopin was a really good choice for him. He used nuances of the music, I like spins as well as step sequence.

    • FS Gossips says:

      “Yuzuru- I like his new SP, Chopin was a really good choice for him. He used nuances of the music, I like spins as well as step sequence.”
      But it isn’t new. He’s already skated this program for two seasons in a row…and this will be the third.

      “Castelli & Tran- their FS is just amazing,”
      Such a beautiful program….I really hope to see it skated clean!

      • skating fan says:

        about Yuzuru- I’m not his big fan and I have seen this SP for the first time. I agree that in such case it’s not the best choice.

  4. susan says:

    FS Gossips, I love your reviews, especially the humor. I agree with you about V/M’s new FD. Their skating skills will always carry the day, but I found the program discordant and disjointed. Their choreographers have still not convinced me they can do any style other than lyrical romanticism, which I fully expect P/C to do for the fourth year in a row.

    • FS Gossips says:

      Thank you!) I think VM’s FD requires some more work, the part when tango Roxanne ends and “Come what may” starts it looks a bit empty( I also liked this dance more at practice in plain costumes….

  5. Lotte says:

    I must admit that I somehow start to like Katia and Dima’s FD – it didn’t convince me at all at test skates but now when they polished it a little, it looks even kinda elegant and mature. I still find the idea a bit cheesy but I think if they master it, it may turn out the most memorable of their dances. At least I hope so, partifularly given that it may be their last season.

    • FS Gossips says:

      Definitely this is one of the best dances in their career. I was worrying that Zhulin will give them another crazy bird dance for Olympics. Fortunately that did not happen)

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