Battle of the Blades Finale

14 11 2011

The final 3 skated their final performances before the nation-wide vote that would crown one pair, Battle of the Blades Winners.

Can you believe it?

A season scarred by the untimely death of Wade Belak… I almost wondered if it would still go on. But it is simply a shadow in the past now that the season is coming to a close. The performances were fantastic along the way, and seeing these final 3 skate for the last time in competition is a tribute to the hard work, dedication and heart it takes to make it this far.

I don’t know that I wouldve picked this final 3 in the first episode. I knew Tessa Bonhomme had a great story as the first female, and arguably the best partner in David Pelletier. I saw the untapped grace of Boyd Devereaux and the potential he had with his lines and skating quality. In Bryan Berard, I saw an underdog with nothing to lose and everything to gain, his popularity got him only part of the way… his attitude and steady progress got him to the finals.

So who will win it all?

It’s a tough call… and I find myself going back and forth constantly as soon as I try and reason out the ‘best winner’.

Tessa has been flawless… Boyd was always a consistent frontrunner… Bryan has the audiences heart.

THoughts?

We’ll find out tonight in the Battle of the Blades Finale… someone will finally win the Battle, the victor is crowned tonight.





Battle of the Blades: Final 4

7 11 2011

Down to the final 4 skaters on Battle of the Blades : Curtis, Boyd, Bryan and Tessa.

They all showed off their Top 4 skills in last night’s performances – which also included brief solos.

It’s obvious that now, the stakes are higher and the bar has been raised every week, so each skater is trying desperately to stand out form the crowd and distinguish themselves as the true leader. However, I think all 4 have a shot of winning the Battle of the Blades title this season. No help from the judges who are giving high scores to all the skaters now.

I think Curtis may be the strongest male pair of them all. He has the physical strength, but also moves with such accuracy and grace. I can really see his tranformation and growth week after week.

Tessa tried a very difficult stunt, which unfortunately did not pay off. But, she had the most technically difficult routine and pulled off other elements to flawless perfection.

Boyd has become a finesse skater and can channel his performance-side better than anyone else in the competition. He’s starting to look like a figure skater now!

Bryan seems to have the audience and the judges wrapped around his every performance. He still has that oafish quality, but his passion and perseverance is inspiring to watch. I don’t know that I would’ve given them a perfect score…

So who will go home tonight?





Battle of the Blades: Week 5 Elimination

25 10 2011

Drama Drama Drama on this week’s Battle of the Blades Elimination.

The story last week was the save…

the story this week was probably the lack of save, and the ‘too close to call’ 3 pair skate-off.

Yes, according to CBC’s crack accountants (insert generic accounting firm name here) the votes were SO CLOSE that it would only be fair to have 3 teams skate for their lives. What great production advice from the accountants.

At any rate, Brad May, Cal Hulse and Curtis L were the obvious bottom three after last night’s scoring, and a few mishaps in each performance. This was their last chance to get it right on live TV.

After getting the save a week earlier… Brad May was the unanimous choice to be ekiminated.

Cold.

The guy got an extra 7 days, 1 more performance, 1 more skate off and then the unanimous ‘boot’.

Mya-day, May-day indeed.





Battle of the Blades: Week 5

24 10 2011

Round 5, and Viewers Choice week on Battle of the Blades.

Every week gets better and better, but I really felt that this week was a stand out week for all of the contestants. Everyone had a GREAT performance, and the confidence level is at an all time high. It makes it more fun to watch a confident ice skater than one that feels like the toe-pick is going to get him any time.

So last night was a fun show to watch.

After last week’s ‘save’ of Brad May, unfortunately he was the bottom of the pack tonight. Not that he had a bad skate, but because others are beginning to pull away and emerge as front runners for the ultimate title.

People like Boyd Devereaux (a favourite of mine…) who attained some serious praise and highs cores form the panel this week for his ‘Fever’ dance.

Also strong, Cal Hulse. That guy’s hair must be the prettiest head in all of Canada right now. I mean honestly. It’s like Carson Kressley without the spray tan. He is so big, yet so graceful… he has a real shot at winning the whole shebang.

Then you’ve got fan favourite and judges favourite Bryan Berard. There’s a special place in everyone’s heart for the hulking bad boy turned refined and elegant (like Beauty and the Beast). He had his best overall performance last night complete with good technique and emotional quality.

Curtis L rounded out the final 5 with a more up tempo skate that I wast particularly fond of, if I must say. Maybe it was the song, maybe it was the fact that other dances were so strong and memorable… I found this piece lacked a little bit.

However, it was Brad who came out the points loser at the end of the night.

Will fans save him tonight? The judges sure can’t…

Thoughts?





Battle of the Blades Premiere: Night 2

27 09 2011

Night 2 of The Battle of the Blades aired last night, and the final 4 skaters performed their first routines.

Remember, this is the non elimination round 1… so each skater will receive scores and votes that will be carried over into next week. I’m always in favour of this process, yes, it’s a bit of a cop out… but I feel like it really gives the audience a chance see the development of each skater. It is very difficult to ‘pick a favourite’ after one performance.

So last night, the rest of the contestants got their shot to perform, elimination free – and after last night’s debut, they had a lot to measure up to…

The night opened with a tear jerker – Russ Courtnall emotionally stepped in to ‘replace’ Wade Belak and has taken on his charity with sensitivity and empathy. Apparently last season, Russ skated to Hero by Nickelback, and decided to choose that song again for the purposes of remembering another fallen hero. Sandra Besik came absolutely unwound and overcome with emotion. A touching tribute, a fitting first skate.

Next, Curtis Lecshyshyn… skating with someone familiar to most Canadian figure skating fans, Berezhnya. If it doesnt come to you right away, remember the 2002 Olympics, when for a day or two the Russians had won Gold and it sparked a massive controversy that rocked the figure skating world? That was her, it was Berezhnya and Sigulutzi…. and the outcome had nothing to do with them. NAyways, nice to see her skating in this country, she is truly gifted, and she has a great partner in Curtis. His footwork and speed was outstaning for week 1, and he’s got loads of potential.

Next, Todd Simpson… another character guy. He is charming and funny, and he works hard… a winning combo. His ‘Blades of Glroy’ routine on and off the ice are making him ‘the one to watch’ for his charisma. He is also commercial, wearing a new ‘skating themed’ shirt for every day of practice… I smell endorsements! His first skate was very well executed, I think these skaters have put in more time and dedication to this routine than any of us are aware.

Lastly, Battle of the Blades history was made when Tessa Bonhomme (donning a Shania Twain-esque sexy sequined Leaf jersey) took to the ice as the first female hockey playing contestant. It does NOT hurt her chances that she is skating with arguably the most talented and well-loved pairs skater of all time… David Pelletier. They earned a week 1 high score for their performance. My only worry is that people will assume that David is carrying her, or doing more work… let’s see how she overcomes that assumption.

Thoughts?





Battle of the Blades Season 3 Premiere

26 09 2011

Sunday night is Canadian TV night. The CBC has taken over with two shows, Battle of the Blades and Cover Me Canada that are quickly becoming must-see TV in this country.

Let’s start with Batttle of the Blades.

After an emotional precurser to the performance show last week, the first round of skaters took to the ice to get their first marks of the season. Kurt Browning makes it clear that no one will actually LEAVE us this week, and the scores and votes will be counted and added to next weeks performances. Probably a good idea, the first week is never a true indication of good, better, best (DWTS shoudl take note!)

The judges this week were, the head judge Sandra Besik, the scene stealer Jeremy Roenick and the revolving door seat went to Leaf fan favourite Darcy Tucker!

First to hit the ice was ‘May Day’ Brad May, who said in his package that he was uncomfortable with ‘choreography stuff’. Um, yah. Brad is a great skater, and had the most exciting lifts and spins of the night… but as soon as he had to ‘play air guitar’ or be charasmatic… the guy turned as wooden as a Dutch clog. He had a great routine that highlighted his speed and finesse on the ice… however, he has GOT to work on his showmanship.

Next was the blonde bombshell…Cale hulse. A man with the best hair I’ve seen since Cobain, but someone needs to tell him the mushroom cut went completely out 15 years ago. He has a lot of potential, he looks more comfortable with ‘dancing’ and movements telling a story. He is relatively graceful, and this is only week 1.  It doesnt hurt that he has one fo the best female partners in Violetta Afanasieva, this was the highest scoring performance of the night. (one minor note, the week’s theme was ‘Rock’… in what universe is Katy Perry’s E.T a rock song?)

Up next, Boyd Devereaux and his partner, newcomer Tanith Belbin. Boyd is a good looking, lean, athletic guy with a ton of potential on this show. However, last night was not a great start for him. He was slow, sometimes at a stand still. After seeing 3 seasons, there are always issues with spee early on… this will develop as the skaters get more comfortable with the equpiment (new skates) and with their level of performance.

Lastly, perhaps the story of the night… the return of Bryan Berard to Toronto. That last time this city saw him on home ice, he was brutally slashed in the eye… never to fully recover. He also became a pseudo-pirate. Did you notice that? He was hardly recognizable with his tatoos, long hair and bulky figure. Bu thte judges are right, he is exactly what is so compelling about this show… guys who were not built to be finesse figure skaters, giving top notch performances and leaving an audience stunned. Bryan rose above his injury, his sight impediment and his huling hockey player body to deliver a fantastic first skate.

The next 4 skate tonight with performances by: Russ Courtnell, Todd Simpson, Curtis Lechyshyn, and Tessa Bonhomme.





Battle of the Blades Season 3 Premiere

19 09 2011

Safe to say we were very excited to start the season 3 of Battle of the Blades last night… a weeks ago, that changed with the terrible news that one of the most beloved cast members, Wade Belak died weeks before the premiere was to air.

So what were your feelings heading into last night? Mixed right?

There were alot of questions preceeding the show… would someone ‘fill in’ for the contestant, would there be a tribute to Wade, would the show even go on?

The answer is yes, yes and yes.

Taking the spot of Wade is returning contestant Russ Courtnall – one of the better stories of the past seasons.

Was there a tribute to Wade? Of course, in true classy Canadian fashion. No pomp and circumstance, just a black ‘in memoriam’ title card, and host Ron Mclean solemnly declaring before the show, ‘this ones for you Wade’. At the end of the show, some hockey colleagues shared a few thoughts in tribute. I thought it was just right, very fitting.

But how could you not choke up at the footage of Wade showing off his ‘angel’ tattoes for his wife and two young daughters. I’ll bet there is a lot of footage taht was simple unusable due to the tragic nature of his demise. But this was just heart breaking enough to really make you wonder ‘what could have been’.

Would the show go on? Absolutely! The teams were officially unveiled and introduced in the premiere, the competition begins next sunday. Let’s recap the teams shall we?

Violetta Afanasieva and Cale Hulse- Skating for the Canadian Cancer Society

Tanith Belbin and Boyd Devereaux – Montreal Neurological Institute and Epilepsy

Elena Berezhnaya and Curtis Leschyshyn- Childrens Hospital of Saskatchewan

Tessa Bonhomme and David Pelletier- Ronald McDonald House

Marie-France Dubreuil and Bryan Berard- Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health

Marcy Hinzmann-Harris and Todd Simpson– YMCA Strong Kids

Anabelle Langlois and Brad May – Autism Speaks

Kim Navarro and Russ Courtnall- Tourettes Syndrom Clinic

It was a great way to start a season, and a nice way to ease into a season overshadowed by an untimely loss.

The show has a heart. It always has, the cast really becomes a family unti, and each pair has an unbreakable bond. The charity aspect is not just a side show – it’s the passion and soul of each contestant.








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