2019 Nebelhorn Trophy Review: Pairs

Hey, skating fam. This year’s Nebelhorn Trophy in pairs was almost as competitive as a Grand Prix event. That’s why I’m giving a longer review of the pairs event – and because I have nothing else to do this weekend.

Kirsten Moore-Towers/Michael Marinaro:

I became obsessed with this short program in the first ten seconds of choreography. It’s sexy, it’s cool, and the bluesy music arrangement of “Love on the Brain” is stellar. Usually I would complain about such a glitzy disco-ish skating dress, but Kirsten totally pulls it off. The free skate is the exact opposite of the short – lyrical and dreamy – but I love it too! I’ve never heard this music before, but it’s beautiful, and I don’t think they could’ve skated it any better. Kirsten’s dress is pretty but I wish she had picked a slightly deeper shade – maybe it’s the poor stream quality? Also, they could still use a little boost on the twist. Anyhow, I loved that. I had no idea they were going to look that good this early in the season, and I hope it continues!

Alexa Scimeca-Knierim/Chris Knierim:

The Knierims also skated better than I had expected. Getting a 70 with a fall in the short program means either the judges are on their side this year or the scores for everyone are going to be high and Sui/Han will be getting 90 points by Worlds. Usually I do not like the song “At Last” at all, but Beyoncé makes it work and overall I just feel like I’m watching a lovely old Hollywood film. Alexa looks stunning, but I’m not a huge fan of the pink princess dress; I think it should be champagne or silver to match the “glamorous 50’s couple” vibe. I like the free skate more; I’m a sucker for these abstract programs that have been trending in pairs lately. I feel like this program echoes some of last year’s “Wicked Game”, which is a good thing because I loved that program. The side-by-side jumps were a little sloppy, but they stayed on their feet and earned a solid score. This was a big step in the right direction. I don’t want to compare it to Cain/LeDuc’s version (they are skating to the same music), but I want to watch them back-to-back when I have some time on my hands.

Tae Ok Ryom/Ju Sik Kim:

The North Koreans have blossomed into a completely new pair this year, and I’m living for it. I don’t know if they got more funding or something, but they’ve got great new costumes (bye-bye, black unitards for now) and cool new programs. I’ve seen enough Spanish-themed short programs to last me a lifetime, but they have a nice spark, especially her. The free skate was a new level in beauty and class; she reminded me vaguely of the famously elegant pairs queen Xiaoyu Yu. Overall, they had two solid performances and I really hope they can keep this momentum going.

Feiyao Tang/Yongchao Yang:

I had never seen this pair until now, but I liked what I saw. They have great overall skating, and come on, how can you not love a fun program to The Greatest Showman? I loved that they had charm and style, but were also capable of skating the more emotional pieces. In fact, I think most of the Chinese pairs seem to have that lovely versatility. Overall, I loved these guys and I can’t wait to see them at their Grand Prix event.

Minerva Fabienne Hase/Nolan Seegert:

Okay, that short program gave me All. The. Feels. There’s a beautiful quality to the way they move and connect with the music. She has a lovely, fresh style I admire. I wasn’t a fan of their free skate last year, so I’m a little bummed that they chose to keep it. But as a whole, I still like this team a lot and will be rooting for them.

Haven Denney/Brandon Frazier:

I like the Cirque du Soleil theme of the SP; it’s something different for them. I’m so obsessed with the fact that their costumes look like Mal’s outfits in the Descendants movies. (Yes, I’m almost 17 and I still love Disney channel movies so much). But for me, the real highlight of the event was their revamped Lion King free skate. The last minute of that choreography was some of the best stuff I’ve seen in years! I don’t know if I’ll be able to handle seeing it clean because I think it would just be too powerful! I’d switch out her costume – the glittery top with the plain pants looks a little funny – but everything else is perfect.

Alisa Efimova/Alexander Korovin:

Y’all know I’m a huge fan of Alisa Efimova. I think she’s one of the best Russian pair girls in the field right now, and that says a lot. I really enjoyed the short program – it’s intense, stylish, and sharp. Unfortunately, the short program didn’t like them much, and they had some mistakes, including an aborted lift. The free skate looks promising, but I feel like it needs to keep developing over the season. Hopefully they give us a chance to see these programs clean at their Grand Prix events!

Miriam Ziegler/Severin Kiefer:

My mom said she really enjoyed watching these two. That’s because they were REALLY GOOD! I love the short program because it has good transitions and doesn’t feel empty; it’s also not just another boring flapper program. Miriam’s SP dress is one of the few well-done flapper costumes I’ve ever seen – it looks expensive and glamorous. The free skate had so many beautiful moments in it, and despite the mistakes, it was one of the programs that really stuck out to me as a masterpiece.

Ekaterina Alexandrovskaya/Harley Windsor:

The Aussies are back! They kept their SP from last year; I’m not sure if it’s my cup of tea, but right now I think they just need to get their feet under them, and an old familiar program might help that. Overall, things just didn’t go their way here, but hopefully they’ll be in better form for the Grand Prix.

Anna Vernikov/Evgeni Krasnopolski:

In other news, Evgeni Krasnopolski has yet another partner. It’s become almost a running joke now that he gets a new partner almost every year, but you gotta give him credit for being patient. Who knows, someday he might end up getting a lucky break like Massot or Novoselov. Might. I’m not crazy about the heavy metal Moonlight Sonata, okay?

Aaaand…that’s about all for now! There’s no Challenger event next weekend, so you won’t hear from me until I review Finlandia Trophy. Until next time, happy skating, and may the odds be ever in your favor.

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