TX 6 - Love Is In the Air ❤⛸❤

We’ve left Disney behind, so we don’t have the Lion King to ask if we can feel the love tonight…instead, the story line of the series seems to be “my injury is worse than yours.” Here’s hoping those who have real injuries recover quickly!

 But, let me digress a moment – Dancing On Ice isn’t the UK story that caught my attention this week. I was most touched by the news Prince Philip, who not so long ago stepped away from his public duties, is giving up his driver’s license. Of course, at 97 and given recent circumstances, this is the right decision. Yet, it is never easy to watch an older person gradually give up or lose their independence, and in his case, it is obviously very much in the public eye. I may feel a bit closer to issues confronting the elderly than most my age because my close relationship with my grandparents sort of led to my documentary film. (If you’re super-curious, you can check out that story here.) The filming process made me realize how much history is held in the lives and stories of those who lived through World War 2. In this week of Love, don’t forget to send a little love to the old folks in your life! ❤

Take a look at the film on my web page here – and come to Paris in April if you want to see it screened at Ethnografilm Festival there! I’ll be there and would love to see you!

As you know, I’m in Japan now, so please excuse me for being a bit slower to post or respond to comments. Posts on this week’s skating will be up in a couple of days.

 Follow my Instagram stories on @mbs_seaturtlepig and @matejsilecky to see some wonders of Japan. I’ll be posting more photos once I’ve time to edit.

 Now, back to the figure skating.⛸

The Judges’ Challenge was a 1-foot Spin with three revolutions, a Spiral with leg above head and a single Salchow. The first two are self-explanatory, I think. A Salchow, for those who may not know, is named for Ulrich Salchow, a Swedish figure skater who was credited with inventing it. It requires a takeoff from the back inside edge of one skate, one or more rotations in the air, landing on the back outside edge of the opposite skate. While last season, I was told a Salchow wasn’t proper because it was done as a 3-turn into the jump, you will see – even on this show – Salchows are often set up from 3-turns. The jump is also done from a Mohawk.

I’ll continue to focus on standing v. skating time, actually timed rather than perception.

Comments in skating order:

James Jordan & Alexandra Schaumann     “Dancing On My Own,” Calum Scott

I love that James again starts out strongly skating on his own. His skating skills are impressive, and I think the scoring was low because he skated first. The spin and Salchow were great; his free leg on the spiral was a bit low. The program was sweet and touching, extremely well performed and executed with true finish and finesse. I don’t think this program needed more thrown into it – sometimes simple and clean is better, and since James’ pure skating is so good, this is a great way to make it stand out.

Ryan Sidebottom & Brandee Malto           “Baggy Trousers,” Madness

Ryan’s attitude and effort are awesome, and the program concept was great fun, but the skating level is just quite low – there judges’ challenge just wasn’t there. The limited time due to injury is also showing in the very rough, unfinished choreography and performance. I want to say more that is positive because of Ryan’s upbeat nature, but it’s all just fraying at the edges, likely because Ryan can’t put the time in. Lots are injured on this show, but some injuries manifest differently than others – groin injuries take time to heal. I wish Ryan well!

On another note, Chris may have had the quote of the night: “Ice is its own entity.” Love it!

Jane Danson & Sylvain Longchambon     “Love on the Brain,” Rihanna

Ah, week 6 is Coronation Street Red! I will shy away from Who Wore it Better LOL. Jane put in a strong effort, and it was a pretty program. However, her basic skating skills just aren’t that strong, which is why it’s hard for her to do the spin and Salchow called for by the Judges’ Challenge. I also wouldn’t fully count the spiral, as it was assisted. There was also a very long non-skating lead- 27 seconds or so! Because of all this, I’d score lower than the judges did. I like Jane’s performance effort – it would be great to see the skating skills catch up.

Week 6 Geeky Judging Chart, Pt. 1  Actual scores of the judges, the resulting ordinals and final placement. What do you think? Do you agree with the top of the leader board? We’re back to 21 ties - I just think that is a lot, especially as the total number of potential scores drops. (It’s now 21 out of 32.)

Week 6 Geeky Judging Chart, Pt. 1 Actual scores of the judges, the resulting ordinals and final placement. What do you think? Do you agree with the top of the leader board? We’re back to 21 ties - I just think that is a lot, especially as the total number of potential scores drops. (It’s now 21 out of 32.)

Melody Thornton & Alex Demetriou     “Somethin’ Stupid,” Frank & Nancy Sinatra

For me, Melody’s skate had the same strengths as James’. Starting out skating solo right way, strong basic skating skills that are then reflected in quality elements and a performance with finish because she is confident on the ice. I gave her a perfect score on skating because there was no “posing time,” technique is solid and she completed each element of the challenge very well. My one negative is that I did not like the glide behind the umbrellas – it didn’t add anything for me. Like James’ program, I like that the choreography was not full of fluff, but instead showcased elegant skating.

Brian McFadden & Alex Murphy     “Believer,” Imagine Dragons

Ah, Brian and Alex skating to one of my favorite songs! Brian also making me miss Sharon at Bham Physio working on my back – NOT! (❤ Sharon!) Brian started out on his own, though the spin was a tad short, as was the spiral. The Salchow was decent. I also felt Brian’s performance quality and commitment to character was good, but do feel the program should have been adjusted to reduce the number of lifts when he – who is not the skating professional – has a back injury. To me, safety comes first.

Week 6 Geeky Judging Chart, Pt. 2 - Matej’s Scoring : There’s been a bit of movement in my Top 4 since last week, but these are the 4 I think will contend for the title. I suspect my opinion of who should win based on skating may not stand the test of popular vote, but that’s the nature of the show.

Week 6 Geeky Judging Chart, Pt. 2 - Matej’s Scoring: There’s been a bit of movement in my Top 4 since last week, but these are the 4 I think will contend for the title. I suspect my opinion of who should win based on skating may not stand the test of popular vote, but that’s the nature of the show.

Gemma Collins & Matt Evers     “Survivor,” Destiny’s Child

How I wish there had been more of this Gemma throughout the show! There was improvement, just nowhere near enough at this stage. Positives – a decent spiral attempt, with the assist offset by the blade grab; attempts at the other 2 challenge elements, though not successfully completed; nice assisted waltz jump and decent crossovers. Negatives – still too long of a lead, though there was more movement; less commitment to the character. An interesting note about skating: it’s common to develop skating skills and performance quality unevenly, and an advance in one often leads to a temporary decline in the other, before all the pieces fit together. We’ll never know how that could have developed for Gemma. 

Wes Nelson & Vanessa Bauer     “Despacito (remix),” DJ Fonsi & Daddy Yankee ft. Justin Bieber

I feel that Wes, like Vanessa’s partner last year, has a lot of natural talent, but I fully agree with Jason that it isn’t being “managed” as well as it could be. Each week, there seems to be so much in the program, that there is a loss of both skating and performance quality, leading to little mistakes here and there. This week’s comment theme does seem to be turning into, “Sometimes, less is more,” but I really feel that would lay the groundwork for a big improvement for Wes. Positives were a great rotational lift and nice balance between lifts and other elements, a great Salchow, good spin and reasonable spiral, good overall skating skills. Negatives – almost 25 seconds of lead before skating though some is OK because it related to setting salsa theme, less character commitment and performance quality than prior weeks. All in all, another great example of how skating technique and performance don’t develop equally.

Saara Aalto & Hamish Gaman       “Dancin’ in the Dark,” Trevor Horn ft. Gabrielle Alprin & the Sarm Orchestra

Well, I’ll just say it upfront: I think Saara was underscored. Kudos to her for the solo skate that showcased her strong skating skills, including a nice spin. Her spiral was as solid, though could have been a tad higher. The SBS Salchow was great. The program was well-constructed and, like James’ and Melody’s, showcased skating rather than fluff. I do agree with Jason and Jane that it’s time to focus a bit more on lines – create a beautiful picture – but, again, not every aspect of skating develops at a parallel pace.

The Skate-Off, wherein at least the loser will be home for Valentine’s Day

 I’m not going to review these two skates this week. Instead, I’m asking you to tell me in the comments whether you think the shaman worked.

If you have any questions or comments, please comment below. I’ll do my best to reply. However, nasty comments, spam and such will be deleted – my discretion. I’m happy to engage in dialogue, but you won’t find me trash talking Dancing On Ice, the celebrities or skating professionals here, and I won’t have that on my website.

Thanks for reading!!

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