I probably shouldn't admit this, but I judge a figure skating performance by the music. Skate to music I like -- such as "The Portuguese Love Theme" from "Love Actually," as pairs skaters Amanda Evora and Mark Ladwig did -- and I automatically start you off high. Skate to something discordant and unrecognizable, and it's a major deduction.
I'm not alone. Elvis Stojko complained that judges always said he didn't skate artistically enough, by which they meant he skated to music from something like the soundtrack of "Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story," when they would have preferred Tchaikovsky or "Carmen."
"They always wanted me to skate to classical music," he said. "And as soon as you did -- 99 percent of the time you skated to classical music -- they would go, 'Oh wow, he was so artistic.'"
There is undoubtedly a lot of classical music in figure skating, but if you're patient, you'll hear a lot more than Tchaikovsky and "Carmen."
By the time the national championships end this week in Spokane, Wash., skaters will have performed to music by The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Santana, U2, Led Zeppelin, Queen, Dave Brubeck, Michael Buble, Mary J. Blige, Lenny Kravitz, Andrew Lloyd Webber and the Dixie Chicks. They'll have skated to soundtracks from "Slumdog Millionaire," "The Godfather," "Pirates of the Caribbean," "West Side Story," "Titanic," "Gone With the Wind," "Dr. Zhivago," "Les Miserables," "Singin' in the Rain," "Lawrence of Arabia," "Schindler's List," "The Incredible Hulk," "The X-Files" and even a medley from "The Simpsons."
In addition to classical music such as "Moonlight Sonata," they'll have skated to classics such as "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," "Bohemian Rhapsody," "Sing, Sing, Sing," "Paint it Black," "Stairway to Heaven," "A Day in the Life," "Take Five" and Super Mario Bros. video game music.
And, of course, they'll also have skated to "Carmen" and Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake."