Monday, November 19

Love It or Hate It? Brian Joubert

Here is Brian Joubert's international debut of his new free skate, with music from Inception.

Back in 2010, I summarized my feelings on Brian; I still feel the exact same way. There's something about his skating that really gets me involved and I root for him to do well every time, and I like this music. However, I know he is still competing because he is a driven competitor and wants to get back into the medals and hopefully end up on the podium in Sochi.

Having said that, I don't quite understand the direction his skating has went since he tried something drastically different in the 2011 season (remember the Beethoven free skate?) The music didn't fit his style, but he was really pushing himself to skate a complete, IJS-satisfactory program. He had his lowest Worlds result since 2002 that season, and then returned to The Matrix last year for a third time-- skating it almost exactly as he did in the pre-IJS days.

I feel like this year is just another extension of that, and it's really disappointing. He's shown that he IS capable of adding more complex movements and choreography to his programs. Just because Beethoven didn't fit him doesn't mean that he couldn't have kept up with the choreography in a program which better suited him.

I said the following on Twitter during Trophee Eric Bompard:
There's something so hilariously pre-everything that IJS asks for about Joubert's LP that makes me kinda like it/miss the old days. Sue me.
I don't know how else to describe or feel about it! What do you think?


Anonymous said...

I think you are very right and very wrong at the same time. On the one hand, for several Year, Joubert has said he wants to improve in the components department, yet that never really happened. What did improve quite a bit over time were his spind, from post the Torino Olympics on.

I don't think Beethoven was a big accomplishment in terms of COP choreography or pushing his PCS. The drastic difference was in choosing clasical music, nothing more, nothing less. Another problem is, he just does not improve in certain areas and skills, like flexibility or edge work, that would give him access to a wider range of expression and better transitions. The main point were I'm not agreeing would be that he, indeed, is able to add complex choreography to his programmes. I don't think either Beethoven or Inception are incredibly difficult or very complex as such. Looking at his past programmes, Inception is pretty detailed, indeed, but only relatively speaking. And a dip of the body, arms to the left, arms to the right, won't get him very far in the transitions department. However, I believe him when he says Inception is a very challenging programme for him. But that's the problem, it is a matter of competence and skill.

At this point in his career and based on the last few years, I would advise him to lay down consistent high quality jumping, and also spinning, a decently high TES with decent GOE, and the PCS will, to a certain extent, follow. Leaving out the triple loop and not doing two flips would also help.

That approach will bring him the most success. In the next two seasons he won't be convincing the judges of better components anyway, even if he had them. Consistency is key, anything else is a wild goose chase at this point.

Anonymous said...

I'm not a huge fan of his skating style, but over the years he's grown on me as a competitor. I've never heard him whine or talk smack about others - though it might just be that these things don't get translated into the English-language media.
Anyway, I think he does a lot more one-footed skating in this program than in the past. It's kind of awkward-looking sometimes - as if he's not comfortable with the choreography, or as if he's just not sure how to occupy the rest of his body when one foot is off the ground. I can't say I ever remember him doing swizzles before, and he does them at a couple of points - in both directions, if I'm not mistaken. But he does still have a lot of cross-overs into maneuvers.
I'm willing to remain optimistic until the program has more mileage. Will he win gold in Sochi? No. But I do think he's stretching himself a little with this choreography.

Anonymous said...

Oops. That was twizzles, not swizzles!

Anonymous said...

I agree with the first anon that Beethoven was a challenge in terms of IN, maybe, but it was not groundbreaking for him when it comes to program construction. I'm not sure Wilson, who choreographed both the Justice SP and the Symphony no. 9 LP, ever really got Joubert. Browning did, but alas, that did not last.

I also think that Inception is a lovely program that was not shown to great advantage this past weekend, because Joubert was not in very good shape after his illness earlier this month (from what I've read, it was more serious than just a flu). I think it would be wise to withhold judgment until he is hopefully in better shape and can perform the program better. It's a work in progress, from where I'm sitting, and if it doesn't look like the standard IJS stuff, maybe that's because he's not working with the short list of approved choreographers.

What, there isn't such a list? You'd never know, looking at who choreographs most of the programs.

If you want to criticize Joubert's SP, though, I'm good with that. The thing is, and again as anon 1 noted - that's what the judges reward him for, so why should anyone expect him to challenge himself only to score less?

And in answer to a question from another post: I'm over Gangnam Style, even if skater do it. Try something new, though that doesn't mean Adele.