Hate to be elitist but there are very few programs caught my imagination this season so far... I found most programs are generally too lazy, too contrived, too superficial, too gimmicky, too little creativity, no risk taking, and paid too little respect or acknowledgement towards the source. It ends up about creating a stylized routine, superficially kit up to meet the COP maths and doing as little as possible outside these requirements. The extent of creative work is picking a 'suitable/complementary' kit (Music, costume), then little beyond that in choreography or interpretation. I blame this on the Morozov and the Carolina Kostner combination effect. In most cases, the skaters might as well skate to any other background music with similar beats and there'd be hardly any difference.
Figure skating is primarily a sport, with artistic merits. But when you take Mao's FS Swan lake program which seems well received, with a performance full of errors, and interpretation that has little to do with Tchaikovsky's Swan lake. Little choreography references in the first half to reference to the source, nor does it pay attention towards basics musicality during the later half of the step sequences (which I admit is well choreographed thanks to Tat), makes me wonder just what everyone else is watching. What makes this program more Swan lake apart from the outfit and the music blasted pleasantly in the background? How is this different to her Liebestraum or her other 'lovely' programs. They are all the same emotional tone, literally no difference when she is just skating as herself. When it neither pleases the art (authenticity, originality, creativity, honesty, perspective/objectivity, variation/evolution), nor does it pleases the sport (accuracy, speed according to rhythm/musicality, strength, power, consistency), then you wonder what is the point of it all. How can this still be a serious sport? How is this good progress?
Thank God then for Virtue and Moir's fantastic Carmen that left me simply breathless and hungry for more. I must have played that program more than a dozen times already and never got tired or bored by it. The passion, the sensuality, the risks taking, the originality, the bold statement of totally owning the performance and seamless integrate with the music as if the music is an extension of themselves rather than being a slave to the well known piece. I really look forward their next performance, it is a true master piece that this sport desperately needs.