Figure Skating: From the Boards

Skating with Tanith…er, the Stars December 1, 2010

As promised, following the second week of competition from ABC’s new show, “Skating with the Stars,” here are my thoughts.

Tanith Belbin is Fabulous!

She is, at this point, the best part of this show. Thank you, ABC, for listening to the cries of the skating fans (and what general public was actually watching) and putting her more front and center. (Though I still wish the hosts were Tanith and Ben instead of this Vernon guy…)

The second week was much better than the first, I believe, and not just because Tanith wasn’t as tied to a script and she wasn’t stuck in the “nest.” The flow was much better and the cheese-factor seemed a bit less. The celebrity skaters seemed excited this week via Twitter, and it showed in their video packages before each skate. And even if the public isn’t getting into the show just yet, I appreciate how much the “stars” are putting in! They’re taking it seriously, and maybe that will help down the line.

As for the “standouts,” Johnny and Brooke are great fun. It’s so wonderful to see Brooke on the ice again, and Johnny seems like the perfect partner for her. I think she can really push him, but I want to see more stretch, line, etc. from Johnny before long. Rebecca and Fred have surprised me by not only being really good, but by being incredibly charming! She seems to have the want-to (after all, she did say this was like a childhood dream fulfilled!) and that will go a long way. Fred seems great, too. Brandon and Keauna also seem like the perfect pair. Young, vivacious, adorable…but at times, a bit unsettled. He has taken to the ice extremely well, but sometimes I just want them to finish their moves a bit more. They rush a bit trying to be so high energy. That will come, though.

I refuse to comment on Bethany (mostly because I’m still a bit conflicted about her!). Vince….well, he’s a mess. And I was so sad to see Denis go so early. But Sean wasn’t really going to get far, I don’t think. Besides, in a short season like this, people start getting weeded out right away!

Unfortunately, I still have not heard positive things from non-skating fans. As a skating fan, I love the idea of putting our wonderful sport in the spotlight…but I’m not sure that this is really showing figure skating for what it truly is. Being able to call yourself a figure skater doesn’t happen in 5 weeks, so I’m still a bit skeptical of what message the show is sending about the sport.

That said, Dancing with the Stars wasn’t instantly the best show on television, either. I have no expectations of this show gaining that much popularity, but the trick will be whether or not ABC buys into a second season. The first season is short as it is, and they’re obviously still working out the kinks, so the only way to truly tell if this could work will be to push through another season.

I will continue to watch, hoping for constant improvement (but really, how much improvement can you make in six weeks?), and hoping that some how ABC grabs the casual viewer and turns the negative chatter into positive…for the sake of the potential season two, and more importantly, for the sake of the sport of figure skating!

We shall see…



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