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Thread: The "It Factor"

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    Banned janetfan's Avatar
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    The "It Factor"

    I was wondering how important the "it factor" is in figure skating. It does seem to be real - but I wonder how differently we all see this and how some here feel about it. Is this something that we can define, or by it's nature is it just something that we feel?
    Does a skater (or team) loaded with the "it factor" receive better marks at competitions?
    I wonder if there is a general consensus about who has "It" and who doesn't?
    Does Yuna have it and if so does she have more of it than Mao? If so, will that be a factor in Vancouver?
    Has any American male skater had "it" since Brian Boitano?
    Can a skater work hard trying to attain "it" - maybe Johnny comes to mind - as opposed to a skater like Joubert who seems to have it naturally.
    Is this "it factor" nothing more than charisma, or is there more to it when talking about skaters?

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    I think the "It" factor is partly subjective. It's a start quality, what draws the audience to the skater on the ice, a captivating presence. The reason I say this is subjective is because we could all list our top 5 skaters with "It" and you could get several different names.

    Currently, amongst the US Ladies, I believe Caroline has "It." She draws me in, makes me watch and when she presents a clean program, I forget her mule kick or that she's slow. Alissa has that "it" factor as well, but her falls always ruin the program for me. That's what made 2007 so special, when she was almost clean. Rachel on the other hand, is technically sound and cute, yet I don't really remember what she had just done. If Caroline or Alissa had Rachel's jump technique...I'm hoping Mirai will be that skater next year, as I definitely think she has that "it" factor going on, plus speed and good tech when she can rotate her jumps.

    Yu-Na and Mao definitely have "it". I don't think one necessarily has more that the other-who we prefer is our own preference. I think all the "it" factor really is is a star quality, what makes them more special, separates them and makes them stand out amongst their peers.

    If you think about it, out of all the skaters in the world, the same names seem to pop up over and over in different threads...Michelle, Sasha, Carolina, Mao, Yu-Na, etc, and those skaters have such a following, evoke such emotions on different levels, that IMO, that makes them not just popular, but special. And I feel they ALL have the "it" factor. It separates them from ordinary.

    I don't think a skater's "it" factor influences competitions as much as the fact the skater has that quality makes them better than the others, if that makes any sense at all! For example, Caroline has been picked apart on her jump technique and for her lack of speed, yet she hits the most exquisite positions, and her spins are beautiful. She's had more standing ovations than Rachel, who has been lauded for her better basics. IMO, Caroline seems to have more of that factor going for her, yet she doesn't get huge PCS marks due to weaknesses in other areas.

    As for male skaters, again, it is subjective, Todd, Mike, Evan and Johnny spring to mind to have "it" and there are several other guys, Ryan Bradley, Matt Savoie. No real way to measure that quality or label it. It's more about the overall quality, presentation on the ice. Under 6.0, I think it was more obvious with scoring, but no doubt it helps the PCS marks.

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    Well said, MKFSfan! And I agree with your choices for those who have "it!"

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    Yuna Kim, the only one for me to ever have that "it" factor.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MKFSfan View Post
    As for male skaters, again, it is subjective, Todd, Mike, Evan and Johnny spring to mind to have "it" and there are several other guys, Ryan Bradley, Matt Savoie. No real way to measure that quality or label it. It's more about the overall quality, presentation on the ice. Under 6.0, I think it was more obvious with scoring, but no doubt it helps the PCS marks.

    I wonder about some of the skaters listed above. No doubt all of them have a degree of "it" but for that matter one could say that Bebe, Emily, Kimmie and so many others have a fan base within the skating world. But it is really small and does not carry over to the casual skating fan let alone the general public.
    I think part of the low TV ratings in USA would suggest most of the guys listed along with the ladies I mentioned don't really have much of an "it factor."
    Evan is a good example. He just won the WC in his home country and it hardly made a ripple. It is not Evan's fault there was poor TV coverage but then again, NBC, for better or worse couldn't sell the men's (and pairs& Dance) events to their advertising base. Perhaps this gets into a broader discussion about skating.
    B & A seem to have a certain degree of "it", Tannith in particular. But Dance has never been that popular in USA compared to the singles competitions.
    Whether it is simply star power or whatever we choose to call it I think it has been missing in our male skaters for years now.
    Going back to Calgary there were two big showdowns - the Battle of the Carmens and the Battle of the Brians. In fact, that might be the last time the Men's final had the same or greater impact in USA as the Ladies final.
    A degree of logic tells me that USA has not had a male skater with anything close to Brian B's it factor in years.
    I agree that Mirai and Caroline both have 'it' potential and that Alissa has a degree of "it."
    As a skating fan I miss the TV coverage of the Grand Prix series and better, in depth coverage of Nationals and Worlds. I think we are in dire need of some skaters with crossover power to bring back some of the casual fans who no longer are interested in skating.
    Last edited by janetfan; 05-22-2009 at 10:10 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by janetfan View Post
    I wonder about some of the skaters listed above. No doubt all of them have a degree of "it" but for that matter one could say that Bebe, Emily, Kimmie and so many others have a fan base within the skating world. But it is really small and does not carry over to the casual skating fan let alone the general public.
    And IMO, they DO possess a certain about of that "it" quality. Kimmie is the most successful of the three ou just mentioned, yet I think Emily and Bebe emit a more resounding star quality, which is why, despite not really having an impact in the skating world, they ARE popular and have done decently. Bebe's 2007 SP is a good example of her showing off that factor, IMO. There's no way to measure star quality, which IMO, is that whole "It" factor. The only way it's presented is in their following of fans, media, etc. You have skaters like...Tugba. She has fans, but does the media really pick her up and show her off? Is she sought after for skating tours? I think that's one way to measure star quality/"it" factor.

    Going back to Calgary there were two big showdowns - the Battle of the Carmens and the Battle of the Brians. In fact, that might be the last time the Men's final had the same or greater impact in USA as the Ladies final.
    A degree of logic tells me that USA has not had a male skater with anything close to Brian B's it factor in years.
    Agreed, but i think it's more a loss of interest in skating in general, not so much that the skaters themselves are lacking. The Battle of the Brians was exciting, built up towards it-the media tried to create a rivalry between Evan and Johnny, and that never took off. I thought the whole Plushy Vs Alexei was entertaining. Maybe not to the same degree as the Brians, but it was there. Skating is popular elsewhere-apparently skaters like Korea, the fans their adore them.

    As a skating fan I miss the TV coverage of the Grand Prix series and better, in depth coverage of Nationals and Worlds. I think we are in dire need of some skaters with crossover power to bring back some of the casual fans who no longer are interested in skating.
    Ditto.

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    I'm surprised no one has mentioned Mirai. She has "It" factor written all over her. It's so natural for her. Her debut always reminds me of NNN.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wrlmy View Post
    I'm surprised no one has mentioned Mirai. She has "It" factor written all over her. It's so natural for her. Her debut always reminds me of NNN.

    Read more carefully
    Mk and I both mentioned Mirai, and suggested she has a degree of "it" factor.
    As a matter of fact it was Mirai, or Frank's comments about Mirai having the "it factor" that led me to start a new thread rather than commenting on it at the Mirai thread.
    I was never that big of a Mirai fan until Natsl this year. The whole drama and tears preceeding her LP and the way she skated really drew me in. Her reaction at the end made me think of how much I still miss Michelle at times.
    But I agree that Mirai has the abilty to draw in fans and does have a natural "it" factor and even greater "it" potential should her skating get back on track.

    To MK fan, thanks for your posts. I think we agree and because this is a topic with many possible interpretations our biggest difference might be that I am hoping for an "it factor" that would register outside of world of die hard skating fans like us.
    The reason the "Evan vs Johnny" rivalry is a non-factor with very limited "it " potential outside of their "botfans" suggests they both have limited "it" quality. I know how hard Johnny tries and it seems to be his dream to be a "Michael Jackson " on skates - but as Jimmie Connors once said about a younger rival, "there's a little too much mustard on that hotdog." Trying hard to be a star and having natural star quality are really not the same thing.
    Last edited by janetfan; 05-22-2009 at 11:10 AM.

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    Personally, most of the US female skaters don't have the it factor to me now,
    maybe Caroline but I am not sure, not Rachel or Mirai yet. Maybe later , Alissa looks good in pictures but doesn't come across the ice as "it" for me.
    Mao to me as more of it than Yu-na,
    I am talking both on the ice and off. Skaters can have it on ice but not off.
    as far as men, I don't see anyone even Evan,
    I think that is part of the problem in the US no skater to me have the so-called "it" factor.
    Mao might have it in Japan, Yu-na in Korea', Daiskue in Korea, I think Stephane had it Switzerland, Evygeny for Russia.
    I don't classify Sasha has it for US -why she has some but not all, some on ice, nothing off (sorry)
    I also think Tanith has more of the "it" than Sasha and the US single female skaters.
    Kimmie, Emily to me didn't have any. The younger Us single female skaters may grow into it , I don't know.
    sorry for the downers, but that is how I see it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fairly4 View Post
    Personally, most of the US female skaters don't have the it factor to me now,
    maybe Caroline but I am not sure, not Rachel or Mirai yet. Maybe later , Alissa looks good in pictures but doesn't come across the ice as "it" for me.
    Mao to me as more of it than Yu-na,
    I am talking both on the ice and off. Skaters can have it on ice but not off.
    as far as men, I don't see anyone even Evan,
    I think that is part of the problem in the US no skater to me have the so-called "it" factor.
    Mao might have it in Japan, Yu-na in Korea', Daiskue in Korea, I think Stephane had it Switzerland, Evygeny for Russia.
    I don't classify Sasha has it for US -why she has some but not all, some on ice, nothing off (sorry)
    I also think Tanith has more of the "it" than Sasha and the US single female skaters.
    Kimmie, Emily to me didn't have any. The younger Us single female skaters may grow into it , I don't know.
    sorry for the downers, but that is how I see it.

    Actually, your reply is not a downer for me and I appreciate your honesty.
    I think you look at this the way I do to an extent. Real "it" factor has to go beyond little fan clubs and should have some impact off the ice. I agree with you about Sasha - who has a huge "it' factor on the ice but not so much off the ice.

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    I should really start reading the whole thread more carefully

    As for Sasha's off-the-ice it factor, aren't we equating it factor with commercial success? Granted, those who have it factor are likely to have commercial success off the ice, but I don't think it is the most accurate measure either. Nancy had more commercial success during her heyday than Sasha. Does she have more of "it" than Sasha?

    Back to the question of who have natural it factor, I think of Sasha, Mirai, Mao, young Elene Gedevanishivili, and young Bebe. OTOH, Yuna is the prime example of "nurtured" it factor. I'm not sure where Caroline would fit on the spectrum.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wrlmy View Post
    I should really start reading the whole thread more carefully

    As for Sasha's off-the-ice it factor, aren't we equating it factor with commercial success? Granted, those who have it factor are likely to have commercial success off the ice, but I don't think it is the most accurate measure either. Nancy had more commercial success during her heyday than Sasha. Does she have more of "it" than Sasha?

    Back to the question of who have natural it factor, I think of Sasha, Mirai, Mao, young Elene Gedevanishivili, and young Bebe. OTOH, Yuna is the prime example of "nurtured" it factor. I'm not sure where Caroline would fit on the spectrum.

    Alot of this has to to with our own preferences. And you are right that there is more than one way to look at this.
    We are very much swayed by championships in the USA but not all of our "it" factor ladies were OGM winners or involved with commercial interests off the ice.
    Some that I would pick would be: Sasha, Michelle, Kristy, Dorothy, Janet, and Peggy.
    Laurence Owen had it in spades, and would have become our first "Golden girl" of the TV era if not for her tragic death in the '61 air crash tragedy.
    Even at 16 Laurence had this bigger than life ice presence and there probably would have been no limit to the success she could have achieved on and off the ice.
    I think of Katerina but not so many other international skaters. Did Irina have it? What about Shizuka? I see it very clearly with Yuna and Mao who are "rock stars" in their homeland. Who am I missing or over estimating? What about the men, and the pairs and Dance?
    Last edited by janetfan; 05-22-2009 at 12:35 PM.

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    I don't think I've seen more "it" factor in a skater than I've seen in Tiffany Stiegler! (Well, maybe besides Lambiel.)
    Last edited by shine; 05-22-2009 at 12:42 PM.

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    to some it extent the it factor does tie into commercial success, but only after they Have the "it" factor.
    in other words for me
    you have to have the "it" factor to have commercial success.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fairly4 View Post
    to some it extent the it factor does tie into commercial success, but only after they Have the "it" factor.
    in other words for me
    you have to have the "it" factor to have commercial success.
    I agree. I'm just saying it factor doesn't neccessarily translate into huge commercial success for other reasons.

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