Got to the YAS final yesterday, after a hell of a drive where we dealt with bad directions, getting lost, and one traffic jam we ran up against twice, arriving only just as the show was supposed to start. Except it didn’t, because the sound system was malfunctioning, and for half an hour we couldn’t be sure if the show would even happen. Finally they decided to go with their microphones working and speakers playing at less than full volume, though from the front row, at least, everything was audible enough.
In fact, once it got underway, the show was pretty good. Highlights included Kate McSwain opening proceedings with an extremely expressive number where she had no qualms even about using the boards to enforce the number’s grief, Izzy Gorowski returning a year after winning the Grassroots division with a number worthy of YAS, skating to “Mad World” while making use of an expanded and contracting light-up globe-not that she even needed it, Madison Vinci skating the number choreographed by Mauro Bruni that I posted yesterday, and, of course, Lorraine McNamara & Quinn Carpenter performing their free dance, and showing off their ability as they fast approach the senior level, even if we are all Phantom of the Operaed out after the Grand Prix.
But at this point, I’m not sure the right person won. Although part of this is because I’m not sure if it’s been revealed who choreographed which of the two numbers in the first round(due to the late start, mom and I had to leave before the final presentation), but I found myself disagreeing with the judges in both rounds. In the first round, where Zabato Bebe took out two different kinds of hats and skated to Macklemore’s “Same Love” (there was too much Macklemore in the show as well; I know they must have been really happy about getting his choreographer to participate but still), the second number did get the higher score, which was right on the judges’ part, but they were surprisingly close. In my mind, there was no contest. While the first number was well enough, and especially made good use of Zabato’s particular talents, the second number not only made good use of Zabato’s talents, arguably even better, but it was also absolutely better in terms of emotional intensity, connecting with the words and music, and engaging the audience. I thought there should’ve been a bigger gap of than only a 1 1/2 stars.
But the real place they got it wrong, IMHO, was in the second round. Anna Cobb certainly did a very fine number, taking the recent trend in costume and choreographing an emotionally complicated number where if she didn’t quite match Kaitlyn Weaver’s sublimity, she at least came pretty close. But I was wary when the judges gave it a perfect score with Katie Stewart still to skate. And Katie was definitely underscored. Her number was an introverted one, but it was one that in its way almost had more beauty than Anna’s, and the judges really under-appreciated that. It seemed to be her style they objected to when they scored her 2 1/2 stars below Anna, making who choreographed which number in the first round irrelevant. Honestly, I would’ve tied them, or maybe even given Katie the higher score.
So if Katie was the one who choreographed the second number in the first round? She was absolutely robbed. Though on the other hand, the styles of the numbers were such that I suspect she actually choreographed the first number, and Anna the second, and if that’s the case, perhaps Anna still should’ve won after all.
Really, the only thing I’m certain of is I wish they would hold this thing in a place easier to get to. Next year I may resort the Metro and an Uber cab.