Worlds 2012: Pairs LP

I never seem to be able to catch a break these days. Just when things were calming down, I find myself with a gazillion things to do again. So much for a vacation. In any case, I’ll try to finish up the Worlds posts. All I have left to write about is the ladies’ competition. But before that, let’s take a look at the results of the pairs LP.

Narumi Takahashi & Mervin Tran were a surprise spoiler for the bronze this year. Their SP is definitely the pairs SP of the season and they’ve shown definite improvement and growth. One aspect of their skating I’ve noticed is how they complete their movements, which makes them look crisp, clean and less frenetic which I fear, their old rivals Sui & Han, lack. This is how they’ve demonstrated a newfound maturity on the ice and the itsy bitsy Chinese pair need to take note. Having less fast-paced programs might help as well.

In any case, they skated a strong LP with the only mistake of Mervin stepping out of the SBS 3S. Their triple twist was magnificently high and the other elements were skated cleanly. I would’ve liked to see a little more expression in the program since the performance was a bit flat throughout. The music was pretty but as performers, these two needed to make something out of it. I guess in this sense, it proves the extent of their maturity but they’re young and have time. (Though I didn’t know that Narumi was 20. I guess since I often pair this team with Sui & Han, I’ve always thought that she was only older than Sui by two or three years.) Score: 124.32, 3rd in the LP.

Tatiana Volosozhar & Maxim Trankov started off the competition badly with that abhorrent piece of “choreography” to music from an emo band that was popular 10 years ago and placed 8th in the SP. They recovered well by placing first in the LP with 140.90 (8 points in front of Savchenko & Szolkowy) but because of their poor SP score, they finished second on the podium.

Their LP skate was strong and they did their best in performing it despite the crap choreography they were given. I absolutely loved the perfect synchronization of their SBS 3S and SBS 3T-3T. I haven’t seen such good SBS jumps in a long, long, time. Their triple twist didn’t give them any trouble though I’d say that surprisingly, T&T’s was better. They had good height on both their throw jumps (the salchow especially) and it was a strong skate, although it was clear that they were slowing down and running out of gas near the end. So they skated well, what’s your problem then, you ask. Well, this program lacks any emotional impact because of the way it’s constructed.

Although the music is from the movie, Black Swan, a lot of the music comes from Swan Lake, an old warhorse and it’s easy to see why. It’s dramatic, a commonly known story, balletic and passionate. You can easily draw emotion from the crowd from the melodies and crescendos but Nikolai Morozov has somehow failed to make the most out of it. This program epitomizes some of the worst qualities of an IJS program (and I actually prefer the IJS system to the 6.0 system which I feel makes no sense) – all the elements are put in with no rhyme or reason. There is no flow and if V&T were not skilled veterans at skating and performing, it would look like a checklist of elements one after the other. Morozov was lucky that these two brought intensity and commitment to their performance or this entire thing would’ve fallen flat. There are some long pauses with very little skating involved a la Nikolai Morozov. (I mean, seriously!? They almost come to a full stop before they go into their spins!!!) I hope that these two somehow find a way to get good choreography next season that challenges them. They deserve a lot better though I’ve got a feeling that they’ll do well in competition no matter what Morozombie shit they skate to.

It was refreshing to watch this Pina LP after V&T’s piece of… well… you know what I think of that program. In any case, I’m quite surprised that V&T somehow got a higher score for CH (choreography) in the PCS. As for overall PCS, V&T got the higher score and I guess I can attribute that to the fact that they made less mistakes and it appeared that they had more commitment to the program (a great feat considering what they had to work with) than S&S. This wasn’t Aliona & Robin’s strongest skate – they were out of sync in their spins and Robin singled their SBS double axels. In the end, they still won gold thanks to their lead in the SP and I guess they should relish it. I’m not sure if Mother Russia will let them win against V&T in the next two years…

As for the rest…

Yuko Kavaguti & Alexander Smirnov finished 4th in the LP that was unfortunately ridden with mistakes. Yuko stumbled out of her SBS 2A, Sasha couldn’t life Yuko above his shoulders in a lift and Yuko barely held on to the landing of their throw 3S. Still, it’s a decent performance. I’ll just have to find an older version to put in my figure skating library.

Qing Pang & Jian Tong had a lovely LP and are wonderful performers but this program was unfortunately marred by a lot of mistakes which took them right off the podium.

Wenjing Sui & Cong Han were fast and furious across the ice. They had the big tricks but had a ton of tiny mistakes and Han couldn’t complete one of their lifts at the end. I keep saying that this team needs polish. I suppose Shen & Zhao took a while to get good so I won’t give up hope yet. I quite like this LP for them though; they exude great energy in this program. I hope they use it again next year and take the time they’d use to learn new choreography to polish it up.

For all the scores and detailed breakdown of the pairs LP, click here.

What did you think of the pairs competition?

~The Rinkside Cafe

P.S. I still refuse to acknowledge the ladies’ SP but I’ll do a post on the LP.

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