Dancing With the Stars, Season 19, Week 6, “Pitbull Night”

Yeah, that seems to be the week’s theme.  Half the music danced to even involves him(perhaps a more general theme was hip-hop, except one dance wasn’t done to it).  It’s not even Latin night; apparently “the hottest night of the year,” comes about simply by having this random hip hopper come in.  After he does the opening number, he is even then interviewed, and says he’s going to judge the performances by how hot they are, clearly expecting to be viewed as an expert on this.  I don’t get it, and it gets really annoying really quickly.  Maybe it was even smart of Erin Andrews to clear out this week in favor of covering the World Series; recent semi-finalist Leah Remini fills in as co-host.

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Skate America predictions

Assuming no one else withdraws(especially sad to lose Joshi):

Men: Jason Brown, Tatsuki Machida, Jeremy Abbott.  I suppose I’m being a little optimistic about the American guys here, but Brown is on his way up, and I think here the home ice advantage(especially for him since he has roots in the area) will push him over.  Abbott and/or the other two might find themselves behind Denis Ten, of course, but Ten is still on the inconsistent side and is developing a tendency to deliver only at events more important than this one. :-)  Also looking forward to: Welcome to the senior circuit, Michael Christian Martinez!

Ladies: Gracie Gold, Elena Radionova, Elizaveta Tuktamisheva.  As I said yesterday, this may prove slightly harder for Gold to win than the USFSA was anticipating, but she should still do it if she’s on, and thanks to Frank Carroll she’s now on more often than not.  Nearly predicted the two Russian ladies to go the other way, but I don’t think Liza T has quite caught back up with Radionova yet, she definitely hasn’t momentum-wise, and the Russian politicking will probably be working harder for Radionova.  Also looking forward to: Samantha Cesario.  I wouldn’t mind at all if she finished 4th here, though I don’t think she can get higher unless one of the top three(and a few other people) really blows it.

Pairs: Yuko Kavaguti & Alexander Smirnov, Cheng Peng & Hao Zhang, Alexa Scimeca & Chris Knierim.  A weak field, and bronze is especially a crap shoot; I almost predicted Denney & Frazier(perhaps I should just say bronze will go to an American team).  But Yuko & Alex have the most history of success and despite a little aging and some rising from the rest of the field really are still the best team competing here, and even if Peng & Zhang were pretty strong last year he’s aging too.  Also looking forward to: all three American pairs, really, and how well each does.

Ice Dance: Madison Chock & Evan Bates, Alexandra Stepanova & Ivan Bukin, Maia & Alex Shibutani.  Lucky break for Chock & Bates here that Bobrova & Soloviev withdrew; the open space at the top of US ice dance is clearly theirs to take, and keeping us the US custom of winning at Skate America will be a huge boost too.  It’s probably even to their benefit that if their Finlandia performance is any indication, Stepanova & Bukin will probably keep the American teams from going 1-2.  Also looking forward to: both Canadian teams; they both impressed me at their summerskates.

Pre-Grand Prix Thoughts

NGL, I’m a little alarmed at the weak showing of the U.S. on the JGP lately(whodua thunk our sole entry into the Finale would be a pairs team?!), and what that may bode for the future.  It seems so far everybody except Meryl and Charlie are staying in, so it might not be a problem in the near future, but sooner or later that catches up with you.  On the other hand, it might be a relief for those already vying for all the top spots and looking at 2018, since they already know who most of their foes will be for the quadrennium(although it’s still too early to assume noone will come up).

Looking at the current rosters for Skate America next week, Kavaguti & Smirnov really lucked out; neither of the top two teams initially assigned will be there, and they’ll be strong favorites.  On the other hand, there are signs that the USFSA’s gamble which with Russians they took to square off against Gold might fail; Liza T is looking like she is recovering fast, and Gold will have to be on the top of her game to beat Radionova too, though I still think this is her event to lose.

Meanwhile, thanks to V&T’s pulling out of that one, China’s could be a great boon for either Peng & Zhang or Bazarova & Deputat, if the latter can pull themselves together after their rough start on the Challenger circuit.

Glad to see Lubov I is finally free.  Though will she and Moscovitch be able to manage anything more this season than a couple of later Challenger appearances?

It may be difficult to manage, but I hope they keep the splitting of the judge’s tasks they had at Nebelhorn.  It seemed to really work; I honestly thought the scoring was better for it.  After some of the dubious placements that have happened at a high-profile event or two, some change might be a very good idea.

What a period of viewing it’s been too, with live streaming for both the JGP and it seems most of the Challenger events too!  Although it does make being a skating fan a much more time-consuming prospect than of old.

A Little More Pleased Now

I hope the creators of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. know that killing Lucy Lawless off the way they did will go down on their permanent record, and it will also go down there if at least one of Triplett or Mack isn’t alive when the credits for Age of Ultron roll.  But I have to admit, these past two episodes, they really have been working overtime trying to make up for that.

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Dancing With the Stars, Season 19, Week 5, Switch-Up Week

It’s switch-up week, and Len still isn’t back, but they at least have a person to replace him: Jessie J, who also opens the show singing a medley of two of her songs while accompanied by the pros.  This time they don’t make us wait in suspense to slowly find out who dances who whom; all the couples are announced at the beginning of the show.  Also announced: as with last season, noone is going home on switch-up night; scores and votes will be combined with last week’s for next week.  But there’s still yet another twist tonight: everyone’s dancing to unusual styles this week as well.

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Back from Montreal

My experience of Montreal this past week can pretty much be divided into two halves: things that happened before the Jane Austen Society of North America’s annual conference began, which mostly consisted of exploring Montreal, and the more academic Mansfield Park-themed pursuits that happened after.  I’m afraid I enjoyed the former much more.

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