There's not much debate over the fact that the music choices in Olympic figure skating are bland and repetitive; there's only slightly more debate over the quality of the accompanying costumes. So we decided to offer up better solutions and are asking you, humble readers, to determine whose is best.
The rules: We each picked a musical number and a hopefully thematic costume for our imaginary routines. None of us knows how to skate, except probably the Canadian staffer, so just ignore that part of it. Just close your eyes, listen to the music, visualize us (or anyone, really) skating along doing all the skating tricks and such in the costumes we describe. Then, choose who you liked best.
My short program: "The Devil Went Down to Georgia"
Costume: Sexy Cowboy
My short program would be tailored to the kind of skater my ideal self would be: I'd be a jumper, a bit immature, possibly 17, and need to really cash in on the excitement to make up for my artistry. The song has such a strong opening with all those fiddles that it would set up perfectly for my quad toe-triple toe. And it revs up just in time for a triple axel. Think of Jason Brown's "Riverdance" and multiply its excitement by four and you kinda get what I'm aiming for.
Long Program: "See Line Woman"/"Sinnerman" remix by Nina Simone
Costume: Sexy Force of Nature
Going into my first Olympics as an "exciting skater," I would need to keep up my excitement factor. Nina Simone's swirling piano riffs, piping flutes, and relentless rhythm in these two songs would make it hard for anyone to forget me ... until the next quadrennial when I mature and unveil a more deeply-emotional performance.
Costume: I will perform to a Spice Girls medley, and I get to be Baby Spice, because this is my performance. I'm thinking a good costume would be a glitter skating dress and the electric blue gloves Baby wears in the "Say You'll Be There" video. Do they make platform ice skates?
The medley should start out with "Stop," and then transition into "2 Become 1" for a brief emotional moment. The big finale will obviously be to "Wannabe." It would be nice if the Olympic committee allowed four of my friends to join me at the end (but they will have to fight over who has to be Sporty). Also would be cool to get some UFOs in there.
I would skate to "Mars" by Gustav Holst, because
- If I have to hear the Les Mis soundtrack one more time I'll never watch the Olympics again and
- It's a very aggressive and tough song, and I think we don't see that side of figure skaters and ice dancers enough.
Costume: The obvious choice would be deep red costumes inspired by Flash Gordon and Labyrinth. Basically this.
Connor: Hockey Is Also an Ice Sport
My first exposure to figure skating, or ice dance, was not from an Olympics broadcast, probably, despite growing up in Canada during the early 90s, when Kurt Browning and Elvis Stojko were kings. My introduction most likely came when I saw D2: The Mighty Ducks for the first time. Kenny Wu, a new player on the ducks, is a former Olympic figure skater who has troubles adjusting to his new game. Misunderstood, but not unwelcome, Wu learns how to apply his old skills to hockey, and scores a crucial goal against Iceland, the movie's big bad rival team. Because of his diminutive stature, Wu is a natural underdog, but he earns the respect of his teammates and opponents.
Costume: The struggle between two identities — shedding one skin for another — is prefect for an ice dance routine, but perhaps a reversal is in order. Starting out in full hockey gear, I'd dazzle judges as I stripped away piece after piece, bulky shoulder pad after bulky shoulder pad, until there's nothing left but a traditional ice dance outfit, but in hockey skates, of course. The music would Tag Team's "Whoomp! There It Is!" which was used in the movie, but remixed so it's much slower and fitting of an emotional ice dance routine, perhaps by Canadian producer Ryan Hemsworth. Wu! Wu! Wu! Kenny Wu!
Danielle: Rain Is Ice Babies
Short program: I would have to go with the instrumental version of Singing in the Rain's "You Were Meant for Me," because its festive and playful and Singing in the Rain is great. Also it would mean that I could wear something flapper-y. Presumably, I'd be talented and capable to keep up with the changes in the music and build a complex but elegant routine.
Long program: "Rhapsody in Blue" because I like it and it's got lots of dramatic crescendos.
Elle: Super Chill
Short program: This is a difficult decision, because I want to be a cold, elegant, weird Soviet-esque champion like Evgeni Plushenko, but I also like music. Since the short program is supposed to be faster and peppier, we'd would show off our dance skills to this remix of Rhye's "The Fall." (I'd do pairs because it's the most exciting, with the most upside-down flipping-type moves.)
Long program: We will glide across the ice to something modern and chill like this.
Costume: "Sexy beach person." Long sleeves. No crystals, no flesh mesh. Not black or white, because it doesn't look as good on TV. Deep blue, I guess.
Obviously, since I'm a nerd, I'm going to choose musical theater numbers for my skating programs.
Short program: "Mein Herr" from Cabaret.
Costume: would recreate Liza Minnelli's from the movie.
Joe: A Tribute to the Olympics
If I'm going to skate on an Olympic level, I'm damn sure going to play it smart. Which is why I will skate my free program to Whitney Houston's "One Moment in Time," as a tribute to the 1988 Seoul games, and indeed as a tribute to the Olympics themselves.
Costume: I'm not yet sure which athlete from the 1988 games I will pattern my costume after. Florence Griffith-Joyner? Gabriela Sabatini? Greg Louganis? Perhaps I will have their faces airbrushed onto my costume, in the style of Missy Elliott's old jean jackets. At one point, my costume will flare out in bright oranges and reds, a living Olympic flame. The bottom line is that I will be in position to capitalize on the self-mythologizing instincts of the Olympics judges. A point for me is a point for international cooperation through athletic excellence! And power ballads!
Philip: Down With the Aristocracy
The thing about ice skating is that it is boring. The great part about the Dre/Snoop collaboration "Tha Next Episode" is that it is not boring. So that is step one.
Costume: I would come out onto the ice dressed like Lenny Bruce because 1) he seemed like he wore comfortable clothes even when he was not in jail and 2) because that way I could say I had some sort of theme to my performance if the judges asked. (The theme: "I am different.")
When it came time to skate, I would not do so, because why does this have to be about sports instead of art, we don't all play by your rules. As soon as the beat kicked in, the lights in the arena would go off, and people I hired to act as ushers would stream down the aisles in an effort to convince everyone to leave. There would also be a smoke bomb.
When the song ended, the lights would come back up on an empty auditorium. You'd see that I'd poured salt all over the ice and removed from the Zamboni whatever that part is with the hoses that the nuns removed from the Nazis' cars in The Sound of Music. I would win gold, because once someone totally demolishes your worldview, man, you have to respect that.
Time to judge!
Who had the best routine?