Madison Hubbell & Zachary Donohue

Bcash

Final Flight
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
Oh gee... well I’ll withhold judgement. Might turn out sizzling.

Rewatching some of the competition vids now and their skating is still the most powerful of the field. In no way should they have finished behind S/B in any segment of any competition.
 

siberia82

Addicted to Canadian men's singles skating
Record Breaker
Joined
Jun 18, 2008
I met Madison and Zach this past Sunday at the Quebec Summer Championships! :) After the Junior Men LP, I noticed Madison in my field of vision, so I walked up to her and asked for her autograph. She was in Pierrefonds to show her support for her fiancé Adrian Diaz. I mention that I had enjoyed watching her skate in person at last year's Skate Canada International. She wondered if I was planning to attend more competitions this season, and I answered that I hoped to be at the Montreal Worlds, but I can't afford even the cheapest all-event pass, so I'm crossing my fingers that single tickets will be released and those will be more affordable. She agreed that the prices were ludicrous, and her parents were also waiting for single tickets. She then suggested that I go get Zach's autograph, and she joked, "That is, if you want his autograph, because you know, he's not that interesting." :laugh: He was across the room, so Madison yelled, "Hey Zach! Be nice to her! I don't want you to make us look bad!" :rofl: (Lol, I didn't realize they were vitriolic best buds!)

So I went up to Zach and handed him my notebook and pen, and he was expecting to sign his name next to Madison's, but her signature was so large that it filled up the whole page. He exclaimed, "What?! She didn't even leave any space for me! Ugh, blondes, they take up so much room! Well, in that case, I'll also fill up a whole page so she doesn't seem so big anymore." :laugh2: I repeated that I had a great time seeing him perform in Laval last year, and he inquired if I was going to be at the Montreal Worlds. As before, I mention that price is an issue, and he too thought the cost was akin to a highway robbery, but he's certain that single tickets will eventually be available, so I'll have a chance then.
 

elbkup

Medalist
Joined
Mar 3, 2015
Country
United-States
^^^ nice exchange!! I love these personal encounters.... love their humor!! Thanks for sharing!!
 

LynsJ

On the Ice
Joined
Feb 13, 2018
Absolutely loved her free dance dress at skate America. Happy to finally see what they have been working on. Wasn’t sure about the music in the middle but enjoyed it overall.
 

Olibritt

On the Ice
Joined
Dec 12, 2016
Country
Spain
No, no, it was very interesting and I learned something new. But perhaps they are having a similar problem with their FD that Hubbell and Donohue are having with theirs: it's too culturally specific. I had no idea of the flamingos in Donana, so the entire first part of the dance, if you pardon the expression, went over my head.

And yes, I like the idea of a contemporary flamenco. Which is why I really liked the original black and white costumes: they fit that vibe.

Very interesting post. Thank you!

I'm gonna have to desagree about H&D because, after being flooded for near a century by US movies, music, food… I don´t think that "culturally specific" is a term that US can use in the sense that the rest of the world (with access to mass media, of course) do not understand their references :laugh:. But this is not the place to talk about H&D, maybe I'll expand in their own thread later…

Now is later…

I was saying that I don´t think there is a problem of "culturally specific". I haven´t seen their programs since Skate Canada and this is what I remember about them:

I had the feeling that they where looking for some kind of "national identity" and that's interesting because it's a difficult task, look for identity images and shared values without falling into nationalist/conservative areas.

Marilyn in the sort dance... American pop culture at its purest version (if that is a valid expresión). The problem is that they chose "my heart belongs to daddy" (really? in the times where pederastia is finally prosecuted?) instead of the comic version of "some like it hot" or the pop version of a Warhol picture (they have to créate a program for that...) or… The original idea was good…

I found the FD full of references, what I didn´t find was an emotion I could connect with. The costumes in the colors of the US flag (I like them); direct allusion to "two american royals" (can I call them that?) Lady Gaga and B Cooper; the theme, the last version of the movie "A star is born", a classic of US cinema wih a lot of remakes, with a very "american theme": the american dream, but showing the two faces, because there are winners and losers (a saw the original version lots of years ago).

Finally, I have to add one more reference, Madison message in the k&C at skate Canada: "Te quiero guapo, te echo de menos" (=I love you, handsome, I miss you). That was the best part. Maybe it was just a love message with no other intention but, for me, speaking in spanish after all that national pride, she was trolling!

EDIT: I was not finish.

For me she was trolling, but in the most classy style of trolling. She reminds me the Queen of England, when she went to the Parliament to aprove Brexit wearing a hat with the flag of the EU :laugh::laugh::laugh: That kind of trolling, because looking for a national identity and being proud of who you are doesn´t mean to be nationalistic, racist, xenofobic or any of that. Good for Mady!! But if her only ntent was to send a love message, please, don´t let us know.

That's my view of their programs, I like the intent, I do not like the execution...
 

WeakAnkles

Record Breaker
Joined
Aug 1, 2011
Now is later…

I was saying that I don´t think there is a problem of "culturally specific". I haven´t seen their programs since Skate Canada and this is what I remember about them:

I had the feeling that they where looking for some kind of "national identity" and that's interesting because it's a difficult task, look for identity images and shared values without falling into nationalist/conservative areas.

Marilyn in the sort dance... American pop culture at its purest version (if that is a valid expresión). The problem is that they chose "my heart belongs to daddy" (really? in the times where pederastia is finally prosecuted?) instead of the comic version of "some like it hot" or the pop version of a Warhol picture (they have to créate a program for that...) or… The original idea was good…

I found the FD full of references, what I didn´t find was an emotion I could connect with. The costumes in the colors of the US flag (I like them); direct allusion to "two american royals" (can I call them that?) Lady Gaga and B Cooper; the theme, the last version of the movie "A star is born", a classic of US cinema wih a lot of remakes, with a very "american theme": the american dream, but showing the two faces, because there are winners and losers (a saw the original version lots of years ago).

Finally, I have to add one more reference, Madison message in the k&C at skate Canada: "Te quiero guapo, te echo de menos" (=I love you, handsome, I miss you). That was the best part. Maybe it was just a love message with no other intention but, for me, speaking in spanish after all that national pride, she was trolling!

EDIT: I was not finish.

For me she was trolling, but in the most classy style of trolling. She reminds me the Queen of England, when she went to the Parliament to aprove Brexit wearing a hat with the flag of the EU :laugh::laugh::laugh: That kind of trolling, because looking for a national identity and being proud of who you are doesn´t mean to be nationalistic, racist, xenofobic or any of that. Good for Mady!! But if her only ntent was to send a love message, please, don´t let us know.

That's my view of their programs, I like the intent, I do not like the execution...

Madison probably wasn't trolling with her Spanish message in the K&C. She's engaged to Spanish ice dancer Adrián Díaz, and I'm pretty sure that was meant for him. :laugh:

The Marilyn Monroe isn't specifically what I meant about culturally specific. I mean, Marilyn is, but then again almost every culture has its sex symbols, and the flirting is probably more universal than not. I was more specifically referring to Alibi, because it is quintessentially American country rock. Country music tends to travel better than country rock. M-FD told them the program was too American, and I would bet serious Johnny Greenbacks (or I would if I had them) that that is what she was referring to.

I've enjoyed your posts Olibritt. Welcome to the forum.
 

Olibritt

On the Ice
Joined
Dec 12, 2016
Country
Spain
Sorry, Weakankles, I left this conversation unfinished.

Yes, I remember that one pìece of music was country, but my knowlegde here is cero (because the image of singers wearing cowboy hats and boots doesn't count as knowledge…). If you want to explain a bit about Alibi, country music and country rock and the music in their FD, I'd love to learn and I'm sure that H&D have more fans that would love that too.

I enjoyed your posts too. Thanks!
 

WeakAnkles

Record Breaker
Joined
Aug 1, 2011
Sorry, Weakankles, I left this conversation unfinished.

Yes, I remember that one pìece of music was country, but my knowlegde here is cero (because the image of singers wearing cowboy hats and boots doesn't count as knowledge…). If you want to explain a bit about Alibi, country music and country rock and the music in their FD, I'd love to learn and I'm sure that H&D have more fans that would love that too.

I enjoyed your posts too. Thanks!


Ah well that's a bit off topic, so I'll; give you a short version. In the late 1960s Gram Parsons joins American folk rock group The Byrds and persuades them to record an album of country music with a rock edge called Sweethearts of the Rodeo. Commercially it is a disaster: it's too rock for country radio, too country for rock radio. But it starts the ball rolling, especially in California, where you get a whole plethora of groups who start mixing rock and country together. The most commercially successful of these musicians are the Eagles and Linda Ronstadt, who managed to find balances between more traditional country and rock that appealed to a wide audience. Now I'm from a very Irish family and country music has always done well in the British isles and Ireland probably because one of the biggest influences on traditional country music is Celtic and British folk (you can also add in gospel and blues as other big influences: America art is almost always a product of mixing and blending disparate cultural traditions into a new hybrid). Country rock however doesn't seem to travel as well. It seems the more rock it is, particularly the more Southern rock, the more it only appeals to a certain American audience. Like Johnny Cash was huge in Ireland; Lynyrd Skynyrd was not. And "Alibi" would not have been out of place on a Lynyrd Skynyrd album. Now country rock has morphed into something called "Americana," but that's really getting off topic (nor to mention that mainstream country music now more closely resembles 1970s AM pop radio than the Grand Ole Opry).

That's my best educated guess as to why MF-D warned H/D that their program is "too American."

Hope you find that helpful.
 

latestarting

Spectator
Joined
Oct 14, 2018
I'm dying to know if Hubbell Donohue have changed either of their programs/music since Skate Canada. Anyone have inside information? I saw them debut their programs at Skate America and while I hate to say it, I was left scratching my head to both. Neither resonated in person and it's amazing their coaches let them do either program , which makes me believe they were headstrong about sticking to their own choices and don't really know what suits them. It's like you have this great piece of art but it's encased in the wrong color frame. If you tune out the packaging it looks great, but in reality you can't display the art without the package. It's a shame because they are/were my favorites, but we've now had 2 years of poor choices from them. And this is despite so many good ideas and constructive critiques lobbed their way from people who really do want to see them get to no. 1.
 

blancanieves

On the Ice
Joined
Mar 3, 2012
That's my best educated guess as to why MF-D warned H/D that their program is "too American."

Dubreuil described the program as "very American." It wasn't a warning to H/D.


I saw them debut their programs at Skate America and while I hate to say it, I was left scratching my head to both. Neither resonated in person and it's amazing their coaches let them do either program , which makes me believe they were headstrong about sticking to their own choices and don't really know what suits them.

If they're guilty of anything is going along with their coaches' ideas. They might be better off sticking to their own choices.


teamusa.org

They had seen the 2018 film starring Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga, but had not considered it for free dance music; they typically prefer music that is more obscure than mainstream.

But then coach and choreographer Marie-France Dubreuil brought it to them.

“We were looking at all different options and she had a moment, saying, ‘I know you weren’t thinking of this, but for me this is music that you and Zach can embody so well; I don’t want to do just the ballad, I think you guys could pull off that kind of dance, Southern rock vibe, and if there’s a year to do it, it’s only this year,’” Hubbell recalled.
 

kkermit

On the Ice
Joined
Jul 26, 2018
If they're guilty of anything is going along with their coaches' ideas. They might be better off sticking to their own choices.

Aren't Hubbell/Donohue the ones who wanted to skate to Marilyn though.. [emoji51]

ETA: and Romeo and Juliet.
 

Bcash

Final Flight
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
I'm dying to know if Hubbell Donohue have changed either of their programs/music since Skate Canada. Anyone have inside information? I saw them debut their programs at Skate America and while I hate to say it, I was left scratching my head to both. Neither resonated in person and it's amazing their coaches let them do either program , which makes me believe they were headstrong about sticking to their own choices and don't really know what suits them. It's like you have this great piece of art but it's encased in the wrong color frame. If you tune out the packaging it looks great, but in reality you can't display the art without the package. It's a shame because they are/were my favorites, but we've now had 2 years of poor choices from them. And this is despite so many good ideas and constructive critiques lobbed their way from people who really do want to see them get to no. 1.

Could you elaborate a bit on why the programs made you scratch your head? I’ve seen this reaction a couple times and I am still not understanding where people are coming from. Both programs to me have a clear voice and vision. And stylistically very coherent with the music/theme/story of origin/time of origin. The RD esp is one of the best this season along the “old-times” vein. Certainly a lot better than the generic RD of C/B. And more exciting in execution than S/K’s Singing in the Rain.
 

blancanieves

On the Ice
Joined
Mar 3, 2012
Haguenauer supported the idea to use "Kissing You" for the FD last year. He also encouraged them to do the Marilyn RD instead of Saturday Night Fever, the other option they were considering.

Personally I don't have an issue with the Marilyn concept. I find the dress on Madison ill-fitting and would've preferred an all-Smash medley, but overall the program has potential.
 
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latestarting

Spectator
Joined
Oct 14, 2018
Could you elaborate a bit on why the programs made you scratch your head? I’ve seen this reaction a couple times and I am still not understanding where people are coming from. Both programs to me have a clear voice and vision. And stylistically very coherent with the music/theme/story of origin/time of origin. The RD esp is one of the best this season along the “old-times” vein. Certainly a lot better than the generic RD of C/B. And more exciting in execution than S/K’s Singing in the Rain.

Sure. H/D will always win on speed and edges (the latter really show up if you're watching on TV since you can see things much closer) but there is nothing particularly noteworthy (or well suited) about either program in terms of the choreography, music choice and costuming. Especially when you're in front of a live audience, you want to create a moment - make the viewer forget where they are for a minute, and neither program did that for me. I was thinking about what they were doing and feeling their effort the full way through. They rely a lot on their power in this year's programs. This is probably smart since it's their biggest asset, but like every beautiful song a skate needs to have lows and highs and build-- the FS especially screams the whole way through. Even in the "softer" sections they continue to skate all out. As an audience member, you feel accosted by the end of each program -- especially the FD. They received polite applause at Skate America whereas the lower ranked Smart/Diaz were probably the best received all around, followed by Stepanova and Bukin not too far behind. I think that says a lot about the current state of their programs this year.

Anyhow, it seems like H/D have indeed kept their FD, though they've eliminated the opening character step in favor of showing off their excellent skating skills and edges from the get go. https://www.instagram.com/p/B5nNKPinjxK/. Will it be enough? We'll see in a few days.
 

IceDancingQueen

On the Ice
Joined
Dec 7, 2017
Sure. H/D will always win on speed and edges (the latter really show up if you're watching on TV since you can see things much closer) but there is nothing particularly noteworthy (or well suited) about either program in terms of the choreography, music choice and costuming. Especially when you're in front of a live audience, you want to create a moment - make the viewer forget where they are for a minute, and neither program did that for me. I was thinking about what they were doing and feeling their effort the full way through. They rely a lot on their power in this year's programs. This is probably smart since it's their biggest asset, but like every beautiful song a skate needs to have lows and highs and build-- the FS especially screams the whole way through. Even in the "softer" sections they continue to skate all out. As an audience member, you feel accosted by the end of each program -- especially the FD. They received polite applause at Skate America whereas the lower ranked Smart/Diaz were probably the best received all around, followed by Stepanova and Bukin not too far behind. I think that says a lot about the current state of their programs this year.

Anyhow, it seems like H/D have indeed kept their FD, though they've eliminated the opening character step in favor of showing off their excellent skating skills and edges from the get go. https://www.instagram.com/p/B5nNKPinjxK/. Will it be enough? We'll see in a few days.

Completely agree with you. Ice Dance is so subjective but I think they had two programmes, which on paper sound terrific, but the actual result is lacking. I’ve watched the top 6 teams’ Grand Prix performances over and H/D are by far my least favourite. Which is sad because I used to really like them. But this season and last season, the magic they once had is missing. Maybe they are trying too hard but I just don’t believe their performances this year - as you said, you don’t get lost in their performance. I agree with the OP that C/B RD is definitely generic and I don’t feel the need to watch it again, but it is somehow more watchable than H/D’s.
 

blancanieves

On the Ice
Joined
Mar 3, 2012
Anyhow, it seems like H/D have indeed kept their FD, though they've eliminated the opening character step in favor of showing off their excellent skating skills and edges from the get go. https://www.instagram.com/p/B5nNKPinjxK/. Will it be enough? We'll see in a few days.

They might improve their earlier scores somewhat, but the problems with the program as you pointed out aren't technical. There's a lack of charisma and musicality that keeps it from comparing well against other top teams' FDs. I can usually enjoy the skating even if not loving the music. I can't do that with this medley, it's unlistenable and a poor foundation for building anything cohesive.

All the small details that add up to make a program memorable are lackluster and I think that's where they're leaving a lot of points on the table, and frankly leaving people cold. A confusing/confused music arrangement isn't conducive to inspired choreography. The costumes aren't inspiring nor support a theme. What is the theme? The only costume connection to Southern Rock are Zach's jeans. We hear movie voiceovers but there is no costume connection to the movie's wardrobe either. Madison's dress is a better off-ice garment than a skating costume. The fabric is too opaque, the skirt is too long, the ruffles create obtrusive volume. Altogether her body lines are constantly obstructed.

It's perplexing and disheartening that this is the state of their FD.
 

latestarting

Spectator
Joined
Oct 14, 2018
Now seems like a good time to reinvigorate the thread after FCC. It's well established their programs are not great, nor are they a likely contender for Worlds. So, I think a more productive conversation is how they can salvage their standing and reputation if they really want a shot at the Olympic podium. To me it's going to be a mix of things:

  • Bring in outside choreographers and counsel, and publicize they are doing this. They might need to stay at Gadbois politically, but they need new eyes and ears on how they should be presenting themselves on the ice. This is less about skating at this point, it's branding and packaging.
  • Get knocked down a size by someone they respect. Is anyone telling Zach his prick attitude is making them unlikeable? They need someone in their lives to be much more honest with them who they will actually listen to. I fear they might not have that person at Gadbois. Zach is a guy's guy and I don't really see Marie France getting through to him...
  • Do some stuff outside of skating and bring that back to the ice. Volunteer this summer, or spend a couple weeks taking a college class in Montreal. Meet new people who do things other than skate and expand their world view.
  • Not have Madison's mom make their costumes. It's sweet she still does some of them, but sweet doesn't win medals.
  • Show they are listening. They've stuck by and defended both this year's and last year's program to the end. What's wrong with starting to admit this program didn't work as well as they imagined? Or, genuinely taking into account fan's suggestions for programs? Can you imagine if they did that how many more people would be rooting for them? Madison started to show some level of self-awareness in the press conference after the FD. More of that please.
  • If I were them, I would start mentally focusing on 2020/2021 season now. Forget this season. Be spending 70% of your time working through these changes vs. trying to tweak their FD once again.

I could go on :) But I'm interested in what others think. If they want to medal at the Olympics, what will get them there?
 

dorispulaski

Wicked Yankee Girl
Record Breaker
Joined
Jul 26, 2003
Country
United-States
First, according to them at their press conference, when picking music this year, they mostly thought about how the music will show off the power of their skating, which is their biggest strength. Right now, I would like to see them spend some time thinking about next year's program as an effective dance theatrical performance, about the arc of the program, about the story they want to tell, or the feelings they want to evoke in the audience. I would like them to think about the opportunity that having 3 allowed choreo elements gives them to create a great series of moments at the end of the FD to evoke feelings, or to surprise, or to finish a story line. Mostly, they have missed that opportunity, and their competitors have not.

This effort need not take away from this year's campaign to do the best they can with the programs they have. Do not make any more changes- practice what you have now guys. Scoring better this year is important, too.

Second, they need to do Challengers next season so they are not still tinkering with their programs at the end of the season.
 

dancelion21

On the Ice
Joined
Oct 14, 2019
Now seems like a good time to reinvigorate the thread after FCC. It's well established their programs are not great, nor are they a likely contender for Worlds. So, I think a more productive conversation is how they can salvage their standing and reputation if they really want a shot at the Olympic podium. To me it's going to be a mix of things:

  • Bring in outside choreographers and counsel, and publicize they are doing this. They might need to stay at Gadbois politically, but they need new eyes and ears on how they should be presenting themselves on the ice. This is less about skating at this point, it's branding and packaging.
  • Get knocked down a size by someone they respect. Is anyone telling Zach his prick attitude is making them unlikeable? They need someone in their lives to be much more honest with them who they will actually listen to. I fear they might not have that person at Gadbois. Zach is a guy's guy and I don't really see Marie France getting through to him...
  • Do some stuff outside of skating and bring that back to the ice. Volunteer this summer, or spend a couple weeks taking a college class in Montreal. Meet new people who do things other than skate and expand their world view.
  • Not have Madison's mom make their costumes. It's sweet she still does some of them, but sweet doesn't win medals.
  • Show they are listening. They've stuck by and defended both this year's and last year's program to the end. What's wrong with starting to admit this program didn't work as well as they imagined? Or, genuinely taking into account fan's suggestions for programs? Can you imagine if they did that how many more people would be rooting for them? Madison started to show some level of self-awareness in the press conference after the FD. More of that please.
  • If I were them, I would start mentally focusing on 2020/2021 season now. Forget this season. Be spending 70% of your time working through these changes vs. trying to tweak their FD once again.

I could go on :) But I'm interested in what others think. If they want to medal at the Olympics, what will get them there?

I agree with everything that you said. It's a shame that this season has gone so poorly for them when they are such strong skaters, but that's the world of ice dance. They've benefited tremendously from having good material in the past, and not they're struggling with poor material. More important than anything, I think they need Challengers next year to show their programs before the Grand Prix season and make the appropriate changes before it's too late. It will be difficult to climb back up, second winds in ice dance don't happen very often, but C/B managed to revive their careers through better programs, and H/D absolutely can too.
 
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