Chrysler Stars on Ice 2000

April 21, 2000
Air Canada Centre, Toronto

Okay, I just got back from SOI, and ohmiGod. It was everything I was waiting for and more. The show this year is incredible. Definitely way high up there on my list of fave SOI years, right up with the Rolling Stones year and the Led Zepplin year.

So... how do I start? Oh, okay, I did my usual wait 'til right before the show to buy tickets thing, because usually, that way you'll get a better seat than if you deal with TicketBastard on the first day seats go on sale. And whadya know, it worked again. Yay Me! However, SOI ticket prices are getting to the point where it's basically highway robbery. By the end of the night, I knew it was worth it, though.

Merchandise warning: SOI merch is getting way past the point of highway robbery. I paid $15 for a program. Fifteen bucks. And they don't even have those cute cast profile postcards in them this year! Geez! But I still bought one. Tradition. ;-) I bought a cast pic, too. The cast pic is cute.

Saw Sonia Rodriguez talking to (I think) Lea Ann Miller. That woman is too gorgeous and too skinny for her own good. She always wears the same thing, too. ;-) (A variation on the long, sleeveless black dress and a matching wrap. Always. Every year.)

The show opens with Kurt's Raggidon clown character wandering around the crowd, pulling people out of their seats, eating people's popcorn, and other various amusing/adorable diversions. Of course, the crowd totally ate it up. I mean, c'mon. It's Kurt. This is Toronto. What were you expecting? ;-) Then, a large bag appears in the middle of the ice, and Kurt goes to open it... and music "pours out".

After that, the actual show began...



Strobe's Nanafushi, Kodo - Cast

I love this opening. I was kinda disappointed with last year's SOI opening, because I found it too cutesy and the skating overly simple and not dynamic enough to really kick off the show with a bang. This year's opening is all about skating - fast, powerful, all-out skating. And I love the music. Love the costumes, too - for those of you who haven't seen the show in any incarnation, the outfits are all black and gold clubwear - black and gold shirts and black pants for the guys, black dresses with gold sequins and trim in various styles for the gals. They all looked fantastic.

Bailamos, Enrique Iglesias - Tara Lipinski, Brian Orser, Jenni Meno & Todd Sand

Okay, I have to say, I spent most of my attention during this bit singing along to the song instead of really paying attention to the skating. ;-) All I remember is that they announced the cast, and Tara was left alone on the ice... she skated the beginning of the song on her own, and then Brian came out and they danced together a bit before Jenni and Todd joined in.

Never, Leon Now - Lu Chen

This is Lulu's solo with the fan. Again, for those of you who haven't seen the U.S. version of the show, she does the whole number with a gold fan in her hand as a prop, flourishes it around, stuff like that. I believe she had a fall on one of her jumps (3T?), but I could be wrong.

Demain, Les Nubians - Josee Chouinard & Shae-Lynn Bourne

Here comes Shae's debut as a singles skater for the night. ;-) I guess since CSOI had one less female than U.S. SOI - who had Kristi Yamaguchi - Shae filled in for Kristi in some of the group numbers. She's pretty damn good at it, too. She does the dance-y, Bezic-ian stuff well. So yeah, Josee and Shae dance around for awhile, and then Josee disappears, leaving Shae at the far end of the ice... and then...

Swingtown, The Steve Miller Band - Scott Hamilton, Lu Chen, Steven Cousins, Shae-Lynn Bourne & Victor Kraatz

...Victor comes flying down the ice with straight-line footwork and reclaims his partner before she decides to make singles her new career. ;-) Not much else interesting about this one. Typical opening stuff. A jump or two from Scotty. You know the deal. And Swingtown is, like, one of those songs that you've never heard of, but once you hear it, you know you've heard it before. "C'mon and dance... c'mon and dance... whoa-oh oh oh oh oh oh..." :)

Then the extended opening number ends and the actual solos begin.

My Drag, Squirrel Nut Zipper - Josee Chouinard

I have mixed feelings about this number. Everyone seems to love it, but I dunno. The first half of it I'm not so sure about. The second half I like a lot better. I love Josee, though. She's so adorable. :) She wears a blue dress with a corset top and sheer sleeves and skirt; I think she designed this one herself. She stepped out of her triple lutz and turned out of her... double axel, I think.

Summer Wind, Lyle Lovett - Brian Orser

I think Act I was the act for vintage-style programs, 'cause this one was vintage Brian. ;-) Bluesy male vocals, fancy footwork, back flip. Liked the costume - khaki open jacket with cargo pants and white shirt. Jef Billings knows how to keep with the trends.

I'll Be Okay, Amanda Marshall - Isabelle Brasseur & Lloyd Eisler

Here come Isabelle and Lloyd with props - a park bench and a lamp-post -skating to a song from the "My Best Friend's Wedding" soundtrack. Okaaay. The former romantically involved pair of best friends skating to something that begins with the lyrics "It's time to let you go / It's time to say goodbye", continues with "I want you to be happy / You're my best friend / But it's so hard to let you go now / All that could have been" and has a chorus that goes, "Throw away the chains / Let love fly away / Till love comes again / I'll be okay". Riiight.

The program? Oh, right. It starts with Lloyd on the bench looking lonely, and Izzy comes along in a long crimson dress with a black lace shawl draped around her shoulders, sets the shawl on the bench and offers him a hand. No big tricks in this program, but a softer Izzy and Lloyd... some nice lifts, no jumps or throws though. I really liked it. Suits them a lot better than some of the throwaway trick-filled programs they seemed to do a lot of in previous years.

Genie in a Bottle, Christina Aguilera - Tara Lipinski

This had an amusing lead-in. Kurt the Clown walks in with his bag, and Todd Sand and Steven Cousins, dressed in harem genie wear, come carrying Tara on their shoulders. Kurt opens the bag, and dry ice comes billowing out in clouds of smoke around Tara. The squeal Kurt let out at this point was absolutely priceless. Oh, he's so adorable. :)

As for the program itself, well, um, Tara Lipinski mixed with that Shevil (She-Evil... the female equivalent of the Evils - BSB, N Sync and co.) Christina Aguilera just does not mix well for me. :-P Plus, I'm sorry, but Tara cannot dance. She just looks so stiff somehow. But she was having an on day with her jumps and landed three triples, although it seems she's developing the Sarah Hughes high free-leg thing with her... triple loop, I believe it was.

Crash Into Me, Dave Matthews Band - Kurt Browning

This is Kurt's brand-new number, and it's vintage Kurt. He wears a purple shirt over a yellow-green tank and dark red pants... don't really know what's up with the colours thing, but whatever. He looked good. Doesn't he always? ;-) (Do I care if he's balding? *all together now!* Nooooooo! ;-)) He landed... lemme see if I can remember... at least three triples. A 3T and a 3S I definitely remember, and at least one, maybe two, double axels. He had a small stumble in footwork, but if you blinked, you wouldn't notice. Great, liquid footwork, as usual. Lots of twisty-turny bits... excuse my lack of technical terminology. It's three a.m. right now. ;-) Big applause.

Then we begin the Simon and Garfunkel group number, which, if they chack it from the CBC TV version of SOI in October, I will literally go down to the CBC and start slaughtering people. It was that good.


You Can Call Me Al, Paul Simon - Scott Hamilton

Scott has the most adorable costume for this one - a black shirt with blue horizontal stripes and yellow stripes on the sleeves, red pants with red suspenders, and his shoes are made up to look like Converse sneakers. Another vintage program - vintage Scotty. High energy, high-speed bouncy footwork, lotsa crowd connection and clapping along. Very cute. Nice to see him back on SOI Canada... we missed you, Scotty! Now, can you please bring your good pal Kristi back here along with ya next year??

Me & Julio, Paul Simon - Scott Hamilton, Kurt Browning, Brian Orser, Steven Cousins

All the boys come out in black shirts with different colour stripes on their sleeves and horse around. Not much skating in this one, just amusing boys-in-the-schoolyard type stuff. Brian looked a little out of place, like they didn't give him enough to do or something. I know in the U.S., this was just mostly Kurt and Steven, so that could explain it.

Cecilia, Simon & Garfunkel - Scott Hamilton & Josee Chouinard

This was adorable. If there was ever a more perfect Cecilia than Katia Gordeeva (who did this part in the States), it's Josee Chouinard. In waltzes little Josee in a black top with red horizontal stripe and a flouncy black chiffon skirt, and flirts with Scotty, then goes off, leaving him high and dry, until...

The Sound of Silence, Simon & Garfunkel - Scott Hamilton, Isabelle Brasseur & Lloyd Eisler, Jenni Meno & Todd Sand

...the pairs come and join Scotty on ice. Some beautiful lifts in this section. I love this song, too. Just thought I'd mention that. I was having fun singing along (silently, of course) throughout the whole S&G number. :) The pairs skate away into the darkness, and Scotty follows, leaving the ice bare under black lighting.

Emily, Simon and Garfunkel - Shae-Lynn Bourne & Victor Kraatz

The ice is bathed with white light, and out float the two skaters I've been waiting to see for months. Shae is wearing a black top with grey horizontal stripe and white sheer chiffon long sleeves, and a floaty white chiffon skirt; Victor wears a white long-sleeved shirt and black pants. Can I say they looked gorgeous? Well, too bad if you say I can't. I'm gonna say it anyhow. They looked like freakin' angels under the white lighting. :):) Yes, I know, mucho gagging all around. Shut up and let me finish, folks. ;-)

The program itself - oh, the wonders of having a good choreographer! Thank you, Sandra Bezic. Thank you, thank you, thank you. It was gorgeous. They took my breath away. It was soft and floaty and romantic and... fast? Yes, fast, darlings, you read correctly. ;-) And wonder of wonders, they looked at each other! I'm talking eyes locked throughout, not "let's stare at each other's necks and pretend we're looking at each other". Oh, and did I mention I love this song? Well, I love this song. It's actually called For Emily, Whenever I May Find Her, but I listed it the way it's listed in the program. Soooo romantic. Gotta love it. :):) The ending pose was positively dreamy. *dreamy sigh*

Old Friends - Cast (minus Lu Chen and Tara Lipinski)

This is the bit where the cast just skates in circles and does cute poses as if they're getting their picture taken. It's very cute, but not particularly blow-me-away skating. ;-) A very nice close to Act I, though.



Okay, for those of you who don't know, we'll set the stage by bringing out a zebra-patterned prop couch with Kurt the Clown "asleep" on it. He sleeps very restlessly, turning and tossing and making very cute and amusing noises...

Luv Me Luv Me, Shaggy (featuring Janet) - Tara Lipinski, Brian Orser, Shae-Lynn Bourne, Lloyd Eisler, Lu Chen, Steven Cousins, Todd Sand

...then, as he flips onto the far side of the coach, along come Steven Cousins and Lulu, dressed in club wear - Steven in a loose purple shirt with psychadelic patterns, and Lulu in a blue-green sequined halter top and a blue and green sequined swirly pattern miniskirt. They start "making out" on the coach while Kurt makes "naughty naughty" gestures behind their backs, and then in waltzes Shae, ready to continue her new singles career ;-) in a copy of Lulu's outfit, only her top is purple-blue and the skirt is purple, blue and green. She also brings along an enormous purple feather boa and tosses it around relentlessly. ;-) She is escorted by Brian Orser, which I found highly amusing, because a) Brian was Shae's childhood hero, and b) Um, guess. ;-)

They all sit on the couch, Shae chatting with Brian and Lulu and Steve necking, and then along come the homeboys - Todd Sand and Lloyd Eisler, dressed in highly amusing coloured hooded sweatshirts and black pants. Okay, I have to say it - dignified Todd Sand trying to be a homeboy just cracked me up. So they dispose of Kurt in a very macho way and then set about trying to get kisses from Lulu and Shae. All very amusing.

Then, guess who enters? Little Ms. Tara in a fuzzy pinkish-red cropped sweater and a teeny-tiny green and blue miniskirt. So all the guys immediately start falling all over her, which I will not expand on, because it made me slightly ill to see men more than twice this child's age falling all over her. :-P So the point is, Lulu sees her "boyfriend" Steven falling over Tara, and gets real pissed off and leaves. Meanwhile...

It's About That Walk, Prince - Steven Cousins

...Steven shows off while Shae sits on the coach with her boa, looking alternately amused and impressed, and flounced the boa around incessantly. ;-) Steven had a good night. All his jumps were on and the setups weren't as atrocious as they normally are. It was okay. I liked Invisible from last year better, I think.

It's Not Right (But It's Okay), Whitney Houston - Lu Chen

Lulu comes back with attitude, and skates to this horrendous Whitney Houston song to show Steven that she's not taking any of his cheatin', lyin' ways. ;-) She fell on her first triple... don't remember what it was meant to be, a toe or a salchow, I think. Lulu, oh, Lulu... you are so much better than this drivel you've been skating to! My dear girl, what happened to the lyrical, elegant skater we used to know?? The most amusing part of this was watching Steven go over to all sides of the audience and make "What did I do??" gestures. He tried to do it to Shae, too, but she just turned away and gave him a "talk to the hand, boy!" gesture. I almost died laughing. ;-)

Jazzin', Kristine W - Lu Chen, Shae-Lynn Bourne, Steven Cousins

This is the lovely bit where Shae decides to get some attitude, too, and tells Lulu that if Steven is a cheatin, lyin' stinker, she should get even. ;-) For those of you who don't know, Shae and Lulu flirt with Steven (and make him fall all over the place) to get him over to the couch, and then they tie him up with Shae's boa and leave him high and dry. That was my favourite part. ;-) Also, I must say, it was rather amusing watching Steven get physically abused by Lulu and Shae. ;-)

Club AC is now over, and we're back to normal solos. *sigh of relief*

She, Charles Aznavour - Josee Chouinard

Josee wore a gorgeous pale pink dress for this - sequined strapless top, layered chiffon floaty skirt. The song is really, really cheesy - romantic lyrics in French and English - but it worked. Her spins were gorgeous, although she doubled one jump and I think two-footed one other. She has so much charisma, though, that she could fall all over the place and still light up an arena. Her smile extends past the very last row of seats.

Baby Did a Bad, Bad Thing, Chris Isaak - Jenni Meno & Todd Sand

I am so glad they found more to do with these two in this year's show than they did last year, where, IMHO, they looked rather out of place. And I really like this program. They don't really have the edge for it, but I guess I'm just so relieved to see them not skating to a sappy love song that this seems like a masterpiece in comparison. The throw 2A was a little forward on the landing, but landed nonetheless. Also, Jenni has fabulous position in all the lifts. If we had to have a skating Nicole Kidman, I guess Jenni is the closest we could get. ;-)


This is the pairs number, choreographed by Torvill and Dean, that Kurt and Tara did. Kurt is dressed in his clown outfit, and Tara is wearing a lavendar sailor dress with her hair in pigtails. I have to say, I wasn't really looking forward to this, because while Kurt is my absolute fave, Tara, um, isn't. Plus, the age difference between the two kinda made me queasy about the idea of them skating pairs. But... read on to see what I thought.

He's Got a Way, Bernadette Peters - Tara Lipinski

While Kurt the Clown did some antics with his bag of wonders (and plucked off his red nose, juggled it, and then "ate" it), Tara skated to this pretty but fluffy song. This was actually my favourite number of hers in the show - the other two pop-dance numbers did absolutely nothing for me. When she skates to something more simple like this, we can actually see that she does have some nice spins and good flow.

Oh, btw, costume genius moment - Kurt's pinstriped pants fall off to reveal purple pants underneath, and the pants turn into a jacket with tails. Then, the jacket disappears, being plucked off and removed with a line dropped from the "sky". Very cute. :)

La Valse Moderne / Dada Je Suis, L'Orchestre Moderne - Tara Lipinksi & Kurt Browning

Okay, I have to admit it - I thought it was adorable. They did the "kids in love" bit so sweetly. The side-by-side triple toes were dead on, too, and the few lifts they did were very nicely done. The second half was appropriately playful and childlike, and again, I have to admit, Tara is a pretty decent actor. Kurt, on the other hand, is a fantastic actor. He needs to join Mump and Smoot, my favourite clowning team. ;-)

Back to regular solos.

Mack the Knife, Dee Dee Bridgewater - Shae-Lynn Bourne & Victor Kraatz

Okay, whoa. Talk about Sandrafication to the extreme! I've always said if anyone could heat these two up, she could... I just didn't think she could do it so fast. Yow! Shae was wearing a red sequined dress with spaghetti straps (and her tights are done so it looks like she's wearing stockings and garters), and Victor was wearing pinstriped pants, white suspenders (which Shae snaps to start the number, and plays with a lot during it), and a black shirt with a red collar (they looked good - really good - hee! ;-)), and the program was done under red lighting. I don't think I've ever seen them this... er, close... before, ever. The words "all over each other" spring to mind. ;-) It's definitely not perky, to say the least. Sexy-playful would be more like it. Loved it.

After this number, I decided that not only was Sandra Bezic my new hero, but that I want to be Sandra Bezic. ;-) They got a partial standing ovation from the crowd.


Ebbtide, Righteous Brothers - Brian Orser

Fantastic number. Powerful skating, clean jumps, backflip into 3T, soaring music... Brian at his best. I have nothing else to say except that it gave me chills (Emily was the only other program in the show that did), and got a standing O from the crowd.

We Like to Party!, Vengaboys - Isabelle Brasseur & Lloyd Eisler

Okay, the girl is three... four?... months pregnant, and so you'd think maybe they'd be a little less high-flying than usual. Heck no! ;-) Izzy wore a black mirrored tube top and silver hiphuggers, Lloyd wore black cargos and a white shirt. And the tricks began. Fly high-say bye, headbanger, detroiter, everything. Not a single one left out. Yikes! I kept having this vague, "Is it really safe for her to be doing this stuff now??" feeling, but I'm sure she knows better than I do. And as much as the Vengaboys annoy me, the program really rocked. They got a huge standing O, the biggest one of the night, in fact.

American Woman, Lenny Kravitz - Tara Lipinski

I am not a fan of this number. Like I mentioned before, I don't really think Tara is the world's greatest dancer, and seeing her dressed in the American flag with teeny black leather shorts kinda disturbs me. Especially when she pulls out my country's flag at the end and salutes us with it. I wasn't too amused with that. But the jumps were bang on tonight, including the triple flutz. The crowd reaction was rather lukewarm, though.

Don Quixote, Minkus - Scott Hamilton

Hoo boy. Scotty's costume for this faux-classical number is priceless. He wears a pale blue shirt with puffy sleeves and a puckered collar, pale blue tights, a black vest emblazoned with gold, and a jewelled codpiece. OhmiGod, it's so hilarious. The program itself is also hilarious, with Scotty imitating overblown classical skating, including much fluttering of his wrists. I don't know why, but every time he did the wrist thing, I just about died laughing. Big standing ovation from the crowd.

Play That Funky Music, Wild Cherry - Kurt Browning

Another priceless outfit. Everyone remember Kurt's vinyl Brick House pants? Well, they're back, only they've got an iridescent blue overcast. He wears a peach shirt with the same iridescent blue overcast to go with it. Funky, bay-bee, funky. ;-) So yeah, the program is basically Brick House II, and everyone had seen Brick House, right? Unfortunately, Kurt missed his opening jump - meant to be a triple axel - singled it, which caused many, many retakes later on, but more on that later. And the crowd was a little dead, considering. At the Canadian Open, he almost blew the roof of with this number. Here, he only managed a partial standing O. A partial standing O for Kurt, in Toronto??? Whazzup with that?

After he finishes the program, his clown bag appears at the end of the ice again... he opens it, and music pour out once again, and vocals come on, reciting, "What a Wonderful World" in various languages. Then the finale begins...


What a Wonderful World, Wong and Dolgay - Cast

This is the closing, and I adore it. The cast all wears yellow painted with fiery red and orange patterns - painted shirts and red pants for the guys, painted strapless dresses for the gals. This is a techno/club version of What a Wonderful World, and it's very cool. Wendy Lands (Angels and Ordinary Men, for anyone who remembers the song) does the vocals, for anyone who cares. Dynamic and all-out skating, like the opening.


When they came to the closing line, Scotty grabbed a mic and goes, "Hello, Toronto!... blah blah blah... Did you enjoy what you saw? blah blah blah blah blah... and then goes, "Okay, I missed three steps over there [gestures to the far end of the rink], so we have to do the finale again. I've done the show 67 times, and they [gestures to the Canucks] have done it four times, and who misses the steps? Me! And you know what? Shae laughed at me!" At this point Shae laughs and Victor says something, and Scott goes, "What? Oh, she says she missed the steps too, because I threw her off," - and Shae nods guiltily - "so we'll definitely have to do it again." And so they do. The crowd was much more into it this time. What's up with Toronto this year? The crowd was a little dead, IMHO. Maybe ACC is just too damned big for it's own good, although the place was literally sold out. I'm talking seriously, not just "sold out" (fake, with empty seats).

Then we got ready for retakes. Scotty tells us there are only a few this year. He gets the crowd riled up with "Who here is a Toronto Maple Leafs fan?" Uh, duh. ;-) "Who here wants the Leafs to CRUSH those Ottawa Senators??" At this point, en route to the front row empty seats, I believe I yelled like a mad person to cheer on my Leafs. ;-)

First retake was Kurt's 3A. Oh, dear. It was bad. He did it about seven times and kept falling in the exact same way in the exact same spot and was getting extremely frustrated. He grabbed the mic and goes, "Something like this hasn't happened to me at SOI Toronto since... well, since never! Welcome to my nightmare." Poor guy. Finally, he just did a double and left. The crowd gave him a standing ovation. Kurt was like, "You guys are great. I don't think I've ever gotten a standing ovation for a double axel before!"

Then we had Josee to retake her triple lutz and double axel in My Drag, which she got in one take. Oh, before she did it, Kurt goes, "Isn't Josee Chouinard the cutest thing that's ever happened to skating? She says in Cecilia, she's not flirting with Scott, she's just being playful. Ha! Scotty probably hasn't slept since he got here." Then he stops and makes a face and goes, "He's not sleeping because he's thinking about her... not any other reason." Naughty boy. ;-) ROTFL!

So Josee tells us retakes are done, goodnight... but then out pops a very tired-looking Kurt again and goes, "Um, I have to do it again. I'm in trouble with the gang back there [gestures to TV gang], so you can go home if you want, if you do, Scotty won't hunt you down or anything. But if you want to stay, I'm gonna see if I can get something going here." A kid in the audience starts waving a stuffed animal frantically at Kurt, and Kurt goes, "Is that good luck? Then for God's sake, please throw it down here!" So the kid does, and Kurt kisses the stuffed dog, wipes the spot on the ice where he kept falling with it, sets it aside, and Play that Funky Music comes on for the 98908098098908902nd time. And he goes for the 3A for the gazillionth time, and voila! There it is. It was a little shaky, but Kurt goes, "For the sake of Kurt's safety, we're gonna take that one. Thank you all so much. Good night!"

And so ends the SOI saga, at 5:57 a.m, and the sun will be up in about half an hour. ;-) But s'okay, I had to get this down while I remembered it, and I can sleep 'til four tomorrow, if I wanted. No, I'm lying. I have to study. :-P

Hope you enjoyed the review, everyone. Please e-mail me if you want to reproduce it, or any parts of it, anywhere else. :)

Review � 2000 by Y.T.S..