Interesting change: doing half the footwork sequence on one foot will no longer count as a level feature! By now, it's become disturbingly ubiquitous for skaters to do that. I'm glad they got rid of it. It will make it that much harder for skaters to achieve a level 4 in the footwork sequence, though.
I don't know if this PDF is updated with the decisions as they're made or what. But it seems one of the proposed changes that might be a done deal is that the second half bonus factor may be applied to the short program! The 1.1 bonus for jump and lift elements in pairs and singles will kick in at the 1:25 mark. I like this idea as it will discourage skaters from front loading their SP so obviously.
And here's the full text of the reason for the proposal to allow vocal music in singles and pairs:
It seems one big reason is the TV networks are requesting it. Rather than paying attention to the market or looking to ice dancing where vocals have been allowed without any problems, the ISU, craven and myopic as always, seems to have postponed the decision until after the 2014 Olympics. And to make sure no one flouts the rules until then, the deduction for vocal music violation mayy be increased to -2.To allow vocal music in junior and senior singles and pairs, bringing those disciplines in alignment with the ice dance and synchronized disciplines, and allowing Skaters the full range of musical options when designing programs. The use of vocal music has been very successful in the ice dance and synchronized disciplines. The television networks are requesting the use of vocal music in singles and pairs to increase the entertainment value for the viewing audience. The viewing audience (through all media) is essential for the visibility of the sport and the financial success of both the ISU and its members.
AFAIR, these are all proposals that will be voted on at the next ISU meeting. We should see updated documents in about July, if this year is typical.
...Don't worry! In any ways, figure skating will gain some fans and in the meantime lose some fans.
As of adding vocal, it could just be adding some "Aaaaah, Ooooooh, Yyyyyyyh..." in the music, which is fine for me.
Allowing vocals does not eliminate classical music in skating. In fact, there are many classical pieces that do use vocals... with lyrics! It's usually opera, but there are other pieces, too (Beethoven's 9th comes to mind). And once again, when pairs and singles skaters did use vocal music for one season before it was banned, they used opera and only opera.
And if anything, banning vocals forced skaters to used horrible, bastardized versions of classical opera pieces in their skating. I cannot tell you how horribly sick I am of Vanessa Mae's version of Nessun Dorma. The violin, as competently as she plays it, is a poor substitute for the full-throated tenor voice the piece is intended for.
And of course, some classical pieces with vocals are allowed in pairs and singles, if they're in Latin (which belies the notion that the words have to be universally understood in order to not be a distraction). We've been O Fortuna'ed many times, and Craig Armstrong's piece Escape, with its generic Latin chanting, has been used by a few skaters, notably Yuzuru Hanyu in his recent FS. Allowing vocals in the other 3 disciplines, in other languages, at this point, would just bring the ISU in line with itself, as well as music as it has ever existed.
^^^ I think most people, including myself, think that incomprehensible vocals are NOT distracting but more like another musical instrument. An understood language may have more emotional appeal but is also distracting, maybe even to the skater.