There is no question that all three pairs belong to be here this week. Early on I thought for sure Theo Fluery and Jamie Sale would make it to the final week. Jamie was the reigning champion while Theo had been working out all summer for this. I knew the Russians would likely make the finals because both are such slick skaters and immediately showed chemistry. I thought Shae-Lynn Bourne would return to the finals with Ptrice Brisebois because she is just such an outstanding performer that she could make a 90-year old in a walker look graceful. The surprise was Isabelle Brasseur and Todd Warriner. They just came on like gangbusters over the past few weeks and by week 7 they looked like the team to beat.
This week's guest judge is the legendary British ice dancer Christopher Dean who with partner Jayne Torville were perhaps the greatest ice dance team in the history of the sport. At the 1984 Olympics they skated to Bolero and won the gold with a perfect score of 6.0 from each judge. It was an incredible performance. Christopher Dean was the complete opposite of Toller Cranston who was typically critical of each performance. Dean was the charming Englishman who marveled at the skating quality of men.
This week each pair skates a new program and does a repeat performance from a previous week.
Ekaterina Gordeeva and Valeri Bure
The skaters have selected Stereo Love by Edward Maya & Mia Martina. As was the case over the past few weeks they skate with tremendous speed, elaborate footwork and excellent lifts. Absolutely nothing to be critical about. Their repeat performance was From Russia With Love from week 6 where they had picked up a couple of 6.0s from the judges. This was definitely their past program of the season and it struck me only this week the significance of the music they had chosen since they are both from Russia.
Isabelle Brasseur and Tood Wariner
Their new program was skated to Black Betty by Ram Jam and the pair continued from where they had left off last week. Their speed has improved and like last week had developed some very interesting spins to their program they made you hold your breath. Issy is one very brave skater and has a lot of trust in her partner. Their repeat performance was the dazzling skate to Dynamite by Taio Cruz from week 7. Their spins and lifts were again breath taking and perfect. This team is now on par to the other two remaining pairs.
Shae-Lynn Bourne and Patrice Brisebois
My favourite pair in the competition. I could watch Shae skate all day. Patrice who I thought initially looked awkward has also grown as a skater. He had to be urged by his daughters to enter this competition. The new program was another high energy routine to Let's Get It Started by the Black Eyed Peas. It was filled with the usual slick elements and terrific footwork. The speed was there and acknowledged by the judges. Their repeat program may have surprised some people after the highly entertaining Zombie number in week 5 but I thought they would repeat the beautiful dance number from week 3. And that is what they did - L.O.V.E. by Michael Bublé. I remember it was a risky number because it a ballroom dance number and Patrice is not an ice dancer yet it also plays into Shae-Lynn's strength. It was skated flawlessly.
I wouldn't know who to select as a winner. They are all so good. Compared to season 1, this group is at a totally different level. Can't wait for Monday night.