2018 Skate Canada International pairs review: Caution! Showdown in Group 2!

Welcome to Crazy Fangirl’s Opinions About Pairs: round two! Overall, the pairs field at Skate Canada was stronger than the one at Skate America, and there were several stellar performances I enjoyed. So let’s get started:

Haven Denney/Brandon Frazier are one of my favorite underdog teams. Mistakes aside, I really think Billie Jean is a great vehicle for them; it’s modern, it’s sexy, and it injects some fresh life into their skating. I couldn’t help associating their image a bit with Olivia Newton John and John Travolta in Grease. And it looks like Haven went shopping for costumes with Vanessa James 😀 Their FS reminds me of the many Savchenko/Massot-inspired programs in pastel ombré costumes this year; not bad. I think they have some potential to grow this year.

I applaud Camille Ruest/Andrew Wolfe’s SP for its uniqueness. I think it could be brilliant when it’s clean. Their FS is beautiful, especially Camille’s lift positions. And it’s definitely worth watching just for her stunning champagne dress.

I told you that Evelyn Walsh/Trent Michaud wouldn’t stay down for long. Their SP is utterly amazing (and I still have a huge crush on Evelyn okay?). Their FS was also a big step up from Skate America; I was afraid the more traditional style would be snoozy but they made it work nicely. I really like this pair and believe they have a bright future.

Ekaterina Alexandrovskaya/Harley Windsor give me a heart attack with their throw jumps. I don’t know how on earth she lands those things. Harley doubled the toe loop in the SP and immediately my brain started replaying the iconic Savchenko/Massot moment: “You doubled?” The SP is standard, and I feel like I could really love the FS (it’s Scent of a Woman, one of my favorites) if only they could work on the chemistry! Guys, you can’t skate a steamy tango and barely look at each other! But on a good note, Ekaterina’s simple red and black FS dress wins my award for best costume of the event 😀

The first group was strong, but the second group threw down the gauntlet, one after the other. I’ve seen some pretty epic pairs showdowns in the 4 years I’ve followed the sport, but I didn’t expect this level of skating at a Grand Prix event in a post-Olympic year. Surprise, surprise.

Boikova/Kozlovskii had a decent skate in the SP. It’s not brilliant for me, but it works. The FS, on the other hand, is perfect! They really thrive with that balletic style (THIS IS THE KIND OF PROGRAM TARASOVA/MOROZOV NEED!!!) and with the clean elements it was exciting to watch. Tackling The Nutcracker when we all remember Savchenko/Szolkowy’s amazing version? Gutsy, but I think they’re up for the challenge. They seemed pretty dang proud of themselves, and I think they were surprised not to get a medal, but this kind of skating will definitely boost them into that Worlds spot (and who knows, they could start closing in on Zabijako/Enbert sooner than later).

Okay, usually “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” makes me want to grab a bucket to puke into. But Kirsten and Michael actually made it very beautiful! The twist is still low but they managed to get level 4 on it, and the rest of the skate was strong. The FS is a solid program for them, and I was honestly surprised JUST HOW GOOD they look so early in the season! Excellent job.

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to appreciate the magical transformation of Cheng Peng and Yang Jin. What happened to the fragile little butterfly? She is a bomb! I’ve loved her since she was that tiny flower skating with Hao Zhang, but her new hairstyle and costumes are just AMAZING. The FS is pleasant to watch, but their SP was my favorite performance of the event by far.

There’s nothing wrong with Vanessa James/Morgan Cipres’ short program, and they skated it well. However…I’m not sure if this program really works for me. There’s just something missing, compared to their other dynamite SP’s from the past couple years. Maybe I’ll warm up to it. The FS, on the other hand, is stunning! The lifts and transitions are insane (which isn’t all that uncommon when we’re talking Vanessa and Morgan) and the overall impression of the program was very powerful for me. Does it resemble some of their previous programs? Yes. Is that a bad thing? I don’t think so. They’re a strong, fairly consistent pair and I really don’t see anything standing in the way of them winning another world medal this season.

I had so much fun watching this event, and I will be back next week with my review of the Grand Prix in Finland. Until next time, happy skating, and may the odds be ever in your favor.

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