(Here's the thing about falling, for those of you who aren't watching, can't watch, or missed this part: Chick Announcer was saying the other night that the new rules, in an attempt to be less subjective, no longer reward grace and style so much as they reward hard tricks and taking risks. The epitome of this, as you may remember, was when Jeffrey Buttle took a fall on a quad because he got more points for trying (+4) and falling (-1) than he did for not trying at all, and got a bronze for his trouble. And just now, she also said that the new-rule programs are a lot more strenuous, and the skaters are getting more tired at the end, which is where they start to make mistakes. And fall. That's why it's suddenly a battlefield out there.)
Americans in black, Silversomething and O'Meara. Silverstein, there you go. Very nice, kind of a Chicago-tango look. Well... his shirt is a little sheer, but this is downright subdued after last night. Very pretty music. Sheer arm-gloves: 2. Falls: 0.
Hello, I love your costume. I don't know who you are, but I love your costume. It's kind of lavender-pink and princessy--ah, they're skating to Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet. Hee! She actually "stabs" herself at the end and falls back over him. Number of times I wondered if this was a techno remix: 2. Falls: 0.
[Eighteen years of ski coverage later:]
The Canadians are not competing tonight--that poor woman has "bruises too great to continue," although she was so amazingly fortunate to not break anything. Seriously. (Awww! They're crying in an interview!)
DUDE. Monday night started out frosty between Italian ice dancers Barbara Fusar-Poli and Maurizio Margaglio. Following an incident in which Margaglio dropped Fusar-Poli during Sunday night's program, the duo refused to look at each other before and during their free routine.
The announcer is expanding on this--they even arrived separately. Holy shit, how do you expect to skate as a pair if you won't even SPEAK? NBC totally has cameras on them backstage, showing the guy walk right past her without even looking, mostly because I imagine he's tired of her death glare. "Look, I DROPPED YOU, OKAY? We have an OLYMPIC PERFORMANCE, OKAY? You have to talk to me SOMETIME."
Wait, they're not skating yet? Dammit. Domnina and Shabalin in medievalish gold, very nice. It's no princessy lavender, but it's nice. Very pretty routine, very graceful; they seem to be very comfortable together. Number of times I thought, "Hmm, I might keep an eye on these two": 4. Falls: 0.
Backstage with the Bickersons (i Bickersoni?): still in deep freeze. "I've never seen anything like this!" says Chick Announcer. "I wonder if she wants her very little daughter to remember this performance," snarks one of the male announcers. "She won't misbehave," snarks the other one.
Hmm. Who is this, the Lithuanian pair? Pink and white for her, black for him, and... Phantom of the Opera for the music. Oh, good Lord. No, he is not wearing a mask, but if he had, I would have voted to give them the gold on principle. I'm not terribly versed in the various versions, but it doesn't sound like the movie soundtrack (a stunning lack of hand claps, for one). Probably the Sarah Brightman? Who knows. I'm just physically incapable of hearing any part of the score and not laughing my ass off now. Good times. (ETA: I'm now hearing from multiple people that it was the movie soundtrack. I'll be damned.) Facial disfigurements: 0. Falls: 0.
ITALIANS! ITALIANS! Wow, that's a strange position to begin with--she's basically lying over his foot on the ice. They're skating to... Prince of Egypt? The costumes are kind of gypsyish, not really very Egyptian or Hebrew. (Yes, I know the ironic etymology of the word "gypsy.") Is it just me, or is this kind of an odd choice of music, with the "Can you hear my people cry" (I HATE YOU) and the "Deliver us" (WE'RE GETTING A DIVORCE) and the wailing (WAIT, WE'RE NOT ACTUALLY MARRIED) and the Moses lullaby (FUCK YOU)? Maybe it's because it's in English and I can actually understand what they're saying, and the words just don't seem very ice-dancy, and it's distracting me in a way that Les Misérables didn't. Anyhoo. They finish without killing each other. After last night, I'm a little disappointed. Conciliatory hugs: 1. Falls: 0.
(Heh, the announcers are having a field day. "He's back in the good books!" "The ice has melted!" "Prince of Egypt has brought them together!")
Here's the Israelis--I didn't see them skate the other day. They're using "Bolero," which is apparently SACRILEGE because Torvill and Dean skated to it oh noes. He's in a dark navy with white sleeves; she's in some kind of randomly scarfy light peach dress. And glitter boobs. And we have another one of those "I support your butt with my face" lifts. They're so busy hitting the marks that there's no real pace or grace to it, as far as I'm concerned. Number of crimes against skating and humanity: oh, whatever. Falls: 0.
(Awww. Backstage, the Italian guy is just sobbing. He's probably relieved that his partner isn't going to murder him in his sleep now.)
The final group warms up--good Lord, the Ukrainian is wearing another headband. A big ol' jeweled one, this time. I love Tanith Belbin's costume, though. Here's the Ukrainians in white! It's very... Staying Alive. Yikes. To start off, she straddles his feet. I think she's wearing fringed pasties. It's kind of Conan the Barbarian's groupie, but his is more... you know those movies that are like, "In the future, we all live in a ruined dystopia and search for water on rollerblades"? It's that kind of costume. A little bit Thunderdome, a little bit Solarbabies. The announcers hate the routine--hate the music, hate the slowness, hate the boringness. Chick Announcer: "I just think the only problem was... the program." Which is kind of like saying someone's got a mild case of death, I guess. Number of times I totally looked away and stopped paying attention: 2. Falls: 0.
The Russians! Fairly nice matador and Carmen-esque costume. We get extreme closeups right before they start, and they look DRIVEN. She doesn't sell it like Tanith Belbin, but they're pretty smooth and confident. Number of matador tassels: 6. Falls: 0.
Bulgarians in scarfy black and red, skating to "Adagio." They're both blond, and kind of have identical haircuts. It's really kind of disturbing--I can't really tell who's who if I'm not looking at their legs. I think I'm getting skated out, because I'm having a hard time paying attention. Twins: wha? Falls: 0.
Belbin and Agosto! (To settle a discussion from last night: Tanith Belbin was born in Ontario, Canada, and received U.S. citizenship in part thanks to a law that was passed allowing immigrants with great talents or abilities to speed through the nationalization process [although Johnny Weir did, apparently, offer to marry her for the green card]. Ben Agosto was born in Chicago. Neither of them is Russian. And y'all weren't alone--my mother tried to argue that Agosto was Russian, too.)
So here they go. Still kind of with the Carmen theme, but less toreadoration. Ah, "a selection of flamenco rhythms." Agosto gives the camera the sex eye. For real, I love Belbin's dress--it's both classy and fun and, oh look, a dress, not some random peekaboo arrangement of whickety-whack. (Okay, it looks a little gaudy when they're walking off the ice, but the pink highlights and the frills show up well from a distance.) Holy crow, he picks her up by, like, a leg and swings her around. The announcers? Dead silent. (Tanith! Tanith! Where did you get your earrings? I MUST HAVE THEM!)
Hee! The Russians are backstage just sacked out flat on the floor. Then they sit up and hug, because no one can catch up to their score at this point and they're totally going to get the gold.
Ah, the French. Red, gold, and black--they kind of look like figures on a deck of cards. They're skating to something called "Carnival in Venice"--wow, their gloves don't match at all. They're kind of a purple-pink on white or black, and just kind of clash. Chick Announcer explains that there's a whole story about them wearing metaphorical masks at a carnival and not recognizing each other--ahhh, that's what the gloves are supposed to do; they hold their hands up like masks. Tearful hugs afterwards: 1. Falls: 0.
It's official: there was no carnage. So the Russians have the gold, Belbin and Agosto have the silver, and the Xanadu Ukrainians have the bronze, because the French ended up a point or two behind.