Stars on Ice April 17 & 18, Air Canada Centre, Toronto, ON

Review by Yasmin Siddiqui


Rock This Town - Cast

Okay, first of all, kudos to Jeff Billings 'cause I loved the outfits for this opening number. They looked so good on the ice. Kurt's "Jumpin' Jack" was tons of fun, and on the first night, Shae and Victor were dancing (sorta swinging each other around) in the corner during it, which was cute. :)

"Sleepwalk", with Shae and Victor, Jenni and Todd, and Brian O., was strangely one of my favourite parts of the whole entire show. I don't know why, it just was. It was just kinda... smooth, with a kind of dreamy, sleepy-eyed romantic effect. It started with Kurt dancing with Lulu, then with Shae... and then Victor came along and stole Shae away. How much did Yaz enjoy seeing Victor stealing Shae away from Kurt (and Shae surrendering to him with an adoring look?) LOL... lots, to say the least. I also enjoyed the fact that during the whole bit they did not pull their eyes away from each other for a second. The connection was really nice.

Tara's "Jump, Jive an' Wail" was... well, okay, I don't mean to bash, but people who don't know how to dance should not skate to swing music. And Tara somehow just doesn't know how to dance, or doesn't look right doing it. She looked cute in the outfit, though.

All in all, I liked the opening number way more than I'd thought I would (I was not impressed by what I'd seen on TV), and it was great. Oh, but the mouthing the words along with the announcer bit was just too cheesy for words.

Muse - Steven Cousins, Shae-Lynn Bourne, Lu Chen

If Tara can't dance, Lulu and Shae definitely can. It was fun seeing Shae skate singles for a few minutes (but don't quit your day job, Shae! ). It was very funky, dance-y, and Steven does the "I am so confused" thing very well. :)

A Rose in the Wind - Josee Chouinard

This was a new number for Josee... she wore a peach dress very much like Shae's "Stop" dress, but with a more heavily beaded design on it. I really liked the program... very intense and passionate, and on both days, she was having a decent jump day. Problems with the 3- sal, though... the first day she stumbled out and the second day she doubled it.

You're Still the One - Isabelle Brasseur and Lloyd Eisler

I don't like Shania, but it was nice to see something other than an all tricks number from Iz and Lloyd. Lloyd was wearing all black and Iz was wearing a red cardigan type sweater and black tights, which somehow didn't work... she shoulda been wearing a dress, IMHO. Anyhow, some nice bits... double lateral, triple twist, a really nice death spiral. And as much as I hate Shania, you gotta say, "Ain't nothin' better/ We beat the odds together/I'm glad we didn't listen/Look at what we would be missin'/They said, 'I bet they'll never make it'/But just look at us holding on/We're still together still going strong..." is a pretty good description of the B&E partnership.

Rootbeer and Licorice - Brian Orser

It was a typical high-energy Brian swing number. He wore a black and white polka-dotted shirt and yellow pants... whoever said he's been borrowing fashion ideas from Ilia was right. :) Anyhow, it was good, but I think swing music has been way overused this year. Next year, I don't want to hear anything from Brian Seltzer Orchestra, Johnny Favourite Swing Orchestra, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, etc., etc. at all.

I Could've Danced All Night - Tara Lipinski

Her jumps were bang on and the expression was good, but she looked a little slow, especially on the first day. And the program is just a little too long and eligible-ish for me. I love the dress, though.

Muse - Jenni Meno and Todd Sand, Steven Cousins

This was the love muse with the script by E.M. Swift... I think the script bits worked well although some of 'em were kinda cheesy and there may have been a few muse bits too many.

Ain't No Sunshine - Kurt Browning

This is the famous Chris Dean choreographed number he's been working on for ages, and it is so awesome. It just rocks. It's just... well, the only word I can think of to adequately describe it is liquid. There's so much one-foot footwork, it's incredible. Wow.

Hotel California - Shae-Lynn Bourne and Victor Kraatz

Loved the outfits - pale blue "Ariane" style dress with long flowy skirt for Shae, blue polo shirt and navy pants for Victor. They looked good. :) Anyhow, the program really is, as a friend of mine said, "cut, paste, and crazy glue of Seachran, Heart Attack and Riverdance":

- spins, gathering arms bit and waltzy dance holds from Seachran

- Riverdance (exhib. version) lift and spirals

- Heart Attack twizzle under arms bit, face-to-face drop thingy, spin

And parts of it were even for some reason reminding me of the "Have You Ever Loved a Woman" sequence from the Elvis Tour a few years ago. Oh, and there was a really nice position where Shae stands on Victor's skates and sorta rests against him a la Elena and Anton. But the really strange thing is, even though it was cut-and-paste, it was really really good. It was so smooth, and flowed really well, and... gasp!... they did not grin all the way through it! The expression was really nicely done, I was so proud of them. :) "Seemingly unable to even fake an emotional connection on ice", eh, Mr. Cam Cole? Check this out!

Both nights, they seemed to have a bit of a moment at the end... when the lights dimmed on their final position, and one of them (I don't remember who, I think Shae) was on her knees, Victor dropped as well and said something before offering a hand to help her up, and they were just grinning at each other for like, a long time before they actually got up and bowed. So any worries about the partners left over from worlds, I'd say we can pretty much rest easy now. :)

Nosing Around - Tara Lipinski, Brian Orser, Isabelle Brasseur and Lloyd Eisler, Jenni Meno and Todd Sand, Steven Cousins, Lu Chen, Josee Chouinard, Kurt Browning

Well, Victor's greatest wish probably came true and Shae and Victor didn't have to be clowns. Aw, damn, I was looking forward to a good laugh! ;-)

Anyhow, okay, this is the infamous clown group number, of course. Brian O. took over Scotty's bit, and they made ingenius use of Kurt by putting him in his "Rag-GIDON Time outfit" and clown shoes and making him walk all around and over the ice, wanting to skate but not able to. As my sister said the first day, "I was watching Kurt the entire time, and no one else." :) It was cute, and the outfits looked really good on the ice, but again, some parts dragged and I don't know how into clowns I am in general, unless it's Kurt, and then I'm totally into them. :)

Ooh, and on Sunday, I realized that there was one extra clown on ice, and I quickly figured it out... it was Doug Ladret. :)


The act starts with Kurt coming onto the ice, still in his clown suit, but now he's dragging a pair of skates with extremely long red laces. And he asks, "Where are the clowns?" and finds out they're gone... so he throws a big weepy temper tantrum all the way down the length of the ice and drags his skates off with him. Hilarious and totally adorable. I love Kurt! :)

Muse - Tara Lipinski, Brain Orser, Lu Chen, Shae-Lynn Bourne and Victor Kraatz

This was the pre-Invisible muse, skated to music with a Walt Whitman poem being read over top, with the skaters under sorta UV lighting effects, so that they looked like floating white clothing. :) It was very very cool and I loved the choreography for this bit. What I want to know, though, is who the hell is Hihat?! Because that's who choreographed both this muse bit and Stevie's "Invisible".

Invisible - Steven Cousins

Okay, I thought this program was cool when I saw it at the Canadian Open, but under the invisible lighting effects that made him look like just a bunch of flourescent stripes, it was even cooler. The second night, they had to spot him to light it for TV and it totally ruined the effect. No fun at all. His 3-lutz takeoff still makes me cringe, but at least he landed it both nights. Problems with the 3-sal on the second night.

I Want to Be a Prima Donna - Josee Chouinard

This program so totally suits her and I love her dress. :) She had a really good jump night with it on Sunday and landed everything, including her 3-lutz. Good girl!

BLACK MAGIC - Lu Chen, Jenni Meno and Todd Sand

Just a little segue into the Santana numbers. Nothing special.

Black Magic Woman - Lu Chen

Somehow, I don't know, this number just doesn't seem to suit Lulu very well. Either that or it's a crowd connection thing. Also, it didn't help that the jumps weren't there either night, with a stumble the first night on the 3-toe and a fall the second. I noticed that she'd dyed her hair brown...

Europa - Jenni Meno and Todd Sand

Jenni and Todd are really cute and really really nice skaters and all, and the program had some nice moments, but... well, yawn. There's just something missing. I think the show has to find something better to do with both them and Lulu.

TANGO Malaguena - Kurt Browning and Tara Lipinski

That black bodysuit thingy just makes Tara look waaaaaay too skinny and little, which enhances the creepy factor of the whole bit (for those of you who don't know, this is a tango numbers that Kurt and Tara skated together in Tara's special, and now they do it in SOI). The first night, Kurt missed the side-by-side triple (yikes!) but the second night it was dead on. And they had verrry nice unison.

Dear Father - Brian Orser

I really like this number for him. There's something almost inspiring about it... the music and the skating just soar.

Jackson Medley - Shae-Lynn Bourne and Victor Kraatz

Okay, right off I'd like to say that I think everyone should get a chance to see this live because, I'm sorry, it's just so funny! :) First of all there's the outfits - black and purple military shirts with brass buttons (Shae's is cropped) and leather pants, which are, uh, interesting. :) Then there's the program itself, which is very funky and dance-y, and has a lot of Jackson type arm movements. The first night, Victor just looked so funny that Sal and I were laughing our asses off, and I think we scared everyone around us. However, Sal declared it was her favourite program of the entire show. :) The second night, though, they were both really into it and it looked good. Wow. However, the middle section just seemed kinda disjointed from the really fast beginning and end. So all in all, it's really good, and has a lot of attitude and energy, but it's also really funny. :) Partial standing O both nights.

Let's Shout - Isabelle Brasseur and Lloyd Eisler

Well, I was really happy when I heard they were skating to this song, 'cause ever since I first heard it on the radio last year I was hoping they would (it's a Colin James song). Iz wears a yellow twinset and a psychadelic 50s style skirt and her hair in a bouncy ponytail, and Lloyd wears a black shirt with red pants and red suspenders. Very cute. It's the typical B&E full of tricks, high- energy number, but very fun. The second night, Iz almost went crashing to the ice on a no-handed lift, which was pretty scary, but they recovered well. Standing O one night, partial the other night.

Second Element - Tara Lipinski

I must admit, this was excellent. I love the song and I really like the program (yes, a Tara program!). I actually cheered really loud for her, which scared the heck out of my sister ("You're cheering for Tara?!"). :)

Muse - Steven Cousins

This is the final muse in which he unveils (takes off his hat and glasses) and skates to the "Celebrate the life..." script. I must say, I was quite impressed with Stevie both nights. He made me laugh and I had to cheer for him. Very cute. :)

Rag-GIDON Time - Kurt Browning

He is so damn adorable. What else can I say? :) The triple-triple wasn't there the first night (3-2) but it was there the second night, on which he was all around flawless. The crowd just ate him up and he got the hugest standing Os both nights, of course.

Face the Face - Cast

I don't know, I'm not a big fan of this finale. It doesn't have enough highlights and it's too short, IMHO. The second night, Kurt stumbled on his entrance, so when they finished in the circle, he grabbed a mike, cut the music off, and announced, "Well, I think I could've done better, so we're gonna do that all over again!" LOL! Way to start the retakes. So they retook the entire number and then did their meet-and-greet and final bows thing.

Retakes... Kurt came out in a Wayne Gretzky jersey and saluted The Great One while the others were getting ready. Very classy. He was his usual adorable self as he chatted with the crowd. They had to retake Lulu's 3-toe (took two takes), Josee's 3-sal (took two takes), Iz and Lloyd's lift (one take), Stevie's 3-sal (two takes) and Jenni and Todd's throw 2-axel (two takes).

In the end, I thought that last year's was definitely better in almost all aspects (but then again, I'm biased... I totally adored last year's show; it may well be my favourite SOI ever) but that this year's show was really good too and a lot better than I'd expected after watching the US versions on TV.

That's all, folks!

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