Wagner, Duhamel & Radford, and Chock & Bates are among those with music announcements to make immediately following Worlds.
The 2016-2017 figure skating season actually isn’t over yet. The World Team Trophy managed to return, and that officially closes the season in two weeks’ time. However, with the World Championships now done, it pretty much feels like the off-season. Especially when a number of skaters announced what music they’ll be skating to for the upcoming Olympic season.
We had one high-profile full music announcement even before Worlds ended. Ashley Wagner had already hinted during the season she was planning to skate to La La Land for her long program, and she’s now confirmed this. But that will be her only new program. For her short program, she’s bringing back her 2016 short to Hip Hip, Chin Chin. It’s certainly a program that works for her. Right now she’s in a more precarious position than anticipated, so she might just be playing it a little safe. On the other hand, La La Land isn’t quite as dramatic as she normally goes. Still, it gives her a definitive female character to portray, which she likes doing. She’ll be the most passionate Mia in existence.
From the moment La La Land came out, we knew it would find use in the Olympic season. Wagner’s claiming it early may deter some skaters from using it, especially other American ladies. Whether she’s the country’s undisputed top skater or not, no one can express music or character like her. But it seems one of the U.S.’s biggest ice dance teams is going to try anyway:
Madison Chock & Evan Bates do have the best choreographer in ice dance history in their corner, though: they’re going to Christopher Dean. This isn’t his ideal music, but he can do well with anything. No matter how many people use this music, he should be able to do something special with it.
They aren’t the only ones going to Christopher Dean. So are Alexa Scimeca Knierim & Chris Knierim, and they too have announced the nature of their free program:
They did well with “gooey” this year, so we’ll see how well they do at something more comic.
Meanwhile, Tarah Kayne & Danny O’Shea, the 2016 National Champions whose season was derailed by injury, are doing older war horses. For their short program, they’re skating to Phantom of the Opera for the second time in their career! They won their title with “Music of the Night,” so now they’re trying their luck with “All I Ask of You.” We’re enough removed from the overload of Phantom that was the 2015 season that this isn’t as painful as it once could’ve been. For their free skate, they’re going literally classical with Swan Lake. How painful that will be may depend on how many other people skate to it.
At least reigning pewter medalists Deanna Stellato & Nathan Bartholomay are going a little bit more unusual:
We are very excited to announce our program musical choices for the coming season! For our freeskate we will be skating to "One" and "Streets have no name" by U2 choreographed by the very talented Mark Pilay Our short program will be to "Elenor Rigby" performed by Joshua Bell and choreographed by the one and only Rohene Ward!! We are so pumped and ready for this season and can't wait to show off our hard work!! @jpcoach @usfigureskating @deannamsd622
Not overused, but not unique. Joshua Bell’s version of “Eleanor Rigby” has especially come into use since vocals became legal in all disciplines. There have even been a handful of U2 programs, though most of them have been show programs. And to my knowledge, no one has ever skated to “Where the Streets Have No Name,” though they have to “One.” We’ll have to see where they get to compete before we get to see how they do with these programs.
Top Canadian pair Meagan Duhamel & Eric Radford, meanwhile, also announced via Facebook they are returning to an old program. They were not the first skaters to use Muse’s “I Belong to You,” but when they combined it with a couple of other tracks for their long program for the post-Olympic season, it pretty much became permanently identified with them, especially when they culminated an undefeated season with their first world title. Now they’re doing a revamped version for the Olympics. They’ll have to be better with it than they were; what was enough in 2015 isn’t nearly anymore.
Alaine Chartrand was the odd lady out of Worlds this year. But thanks to the other two of Canada’s top three ladies, there should be room for all of them on the Olympic team next year. She instead apparently spent the week getting next year’s short program choreographed:
It’s another overused piece of music, but Shae-Lynn Bourne’s done good work with sexier short programs.
Across the pond, Penny Coomes & Nicolas Buckland must qualify for the Olympics via the Nebelhorn Trophy, since they couldn’t compete this season. Lucky for them, they already have the free dance they choreographed last summer, and they’ve confirmed they’re going to use it. Yo-Yo Ma’s “Battle Remembered” is a unique music choice, and one that should make a very interesting program. They’ll make it to the Olympics if they make it to Obertsdorf.