Olympic figure skating unveils new, modern soundtrack

GANGNEUNG, South Korea (AP) — When the International Skating Union made the popular decision to allow lyrics in al...

Posted: Feb 14, 2018 12:00 AM
Updated: Feb 14, 2018 12:00 AM

GANGNEUNG, South Korea (AP) — When the International Skating Union made the popular decision to allow lyrics in all performances, the Paul Simon classic "The Sound of Silence" seemed like it would be a natural choice.

The folk tune is light and airy and fits neatly within the confines of traditional figure skating.

Vanessa James and Morgan Cipres went in another direction.

Yes, the French pairs team chose the 1960s hit for their short program last year, and will bring it back for their Olympic program Wednesday. But rather than the melodic version performed by Simon and Art Garfunkel, they opted for a haunting, heavy metal cover by American rock band Disturbed .

"It was our coaches who found it," James told The Associated Press. "They were like, 'We really think it could be a hit.' And Morgan listened to it and was like, 'I don't like it,' because we weren't used to it. And I was like, 'OK, let me see if I can get into this.' I thought it could be amazing, and I was like, 'Morgan, let's trust them.' And we were so right to have trusted them."

That's because the stirring rendition, coupled with the pair's dramatic program, became such a fan favorite that they replaced this season's program with it for the Pyeongchang Games.

"When you have a powerful voice and words to express," James said, "it changes everything."

Now, nobody is throwing tradition out the window. Fans still will see four Olympic programs set to "Carmen" and three to "Swan Lake." Two programs are set to the figure skating staple "Moonlight Sonata," including one by ice dance favorites Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron.

But the decision by skating's governing body after the 2014 Sochi Games to allow lyrics in all disciplines expanded the breadth of what is available, and skaters have taken broad liberties with it.

Ed Sheeran and Coldplay will provide popular soundtracks to the rest of the Olympic skating scene. The rock bands Imagine Dragons and Snow Patrol, English vocalist Benjamin Clementine and pop musicians Lorde, Christina Aguilera and Adele also have music in the mix.

"At the beginning, people were just choosing random music," Cipres recalled, "but after some time I think people realized it didn't work. You have to choose your music carefully."

Many skaters, such as James and Cipres, wound up choosing covers over an original. They may like the lyrics or message of a song but they also want it to have a different rhythm or feel.

Two-time world champions Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford of Canada wanted "With or Without You" for their short program, but they decided U2's original was a bit monotone. Their choreographers unearthed a little-known cover by singer-songwriter April Meservy that worked better for their routine.

"There are people who are like, 'Why aren't they skating to the original?' But if you listen to the original, it doesn't lend itself well to a figure skating program," Radford explained. "April's version just has more ebb and flow, and it just works better for us."

Worked out well for Meservy, too. An anonymous donor provided funds for her to travel from the U.S. to South Korea and watch Duhamel and Radford perform to her rendition on Olympic ice.

"'With or Without You' is a popular song," Duhamel said, "but we always try to find unique versions of things. We try to veer off the path and pick obscure versions of songs."

That's what German skater Paul Fentz thought he was doing when asked his choreographer to find a 1950s-style jazz tune, and wound up doing Paul Anka's version of the Oasis hit "Wonderwall."

Fentz performed to it during his short program for the team competition last week, and he quickly became a trending topic on social media as fans debated whether it was cool or cringe-worthy.

"That's the risk you take," said Fentz, whose free skate set to music from "Game of Thrones" ought to win back some skeptics. "I know the Oasis song, I really like it. But it wasn't like I was trying to make something new or something. I just wanted something a little smoother."

The Austrian pairs team of Miriam Ziegler and Severin Kiefer will perform to the well-known song "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" when they step on the ice Wednesday for their short program.

Rather than the pop-fueled original by The Proclaimers , though, Ziegler and Kiefer chose a soaring version by the cast of "Sunshine on Leith" — a British musical set to the Scottish duo's music.

Jeff Buckley's popular version of the Leonard Cohen song "Hallelujah" will make an appearance, but so will two covers by K.D. Lang , including the one chosen by pairs favorites Han Cong and Sui Wenjing.

"We have so much more music to choose," Fentz said. "Many skaters picked Ed Sheeran or something, and you can't skate to Ed Sheeran without lyrics. You can't pick that.

"With lyrics," Fentz said, "it's just better."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 308737

Reported Deaths: 7139
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto20901250
Hinds19953410
Harrison17551302
Rankin13358276
Jackson13141243
Madison9949211
Lee9886170
Jones8308161
Forrest7537147
Lauderdale7221237
Lowndes6286144
Lamar613284
Lafayette6063117
Washington5288133
Bolivar4775129
Oktibbeha457097
Panola4456103
Pearl River4433141
Warren4294118
Marshall4283101
Pontotoc417572
Monroe4061132
Union404675
Neshoba4001176
Lincoln3883109
Hancock373385
Leflore3470124
Sunflower330789
Tate325082
Pike3205105
Scott311272
Yazoo304769
Alcorn298865
Itawamba297477
Copiah293965
Coahoma290378
Simpson289486
Tippah285168
Prentiss276559
Marion266279
Leake261473
Wayne261441
Grenada256284
Covington254980
Adams246882
Newton245561
George238347
Winston226081
Tishomingo222467
Jasper219948
Attala213573
Chickasaw205257
Holmes186972
Clay183054
Stone179531
Clarke177576
Tallahatchie175940
Calhoun165231
Yalobusha159736
Smith159234
Walthall131043
Greene129633
Lawrence126623
Noxubee126533
Montgomery125742
Perry125238
Carroll120926
Amite120741
Webster113732
Jefferson Davis105432
Tunica103025
Claiborne101330
Benton97425
Kemper95628
Humphreys94432
Franklin82723
Quitman78916
Choctaw73717
Wilkinson64928
Jefferson64828
Sharkey49817
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 521201

Reported Deaths: 10736
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson753981490
Mobile39011799
Madison34002496
Tuscaloosa25329444
Montgomery23996567
Shelby23160239
Baldwin20674302
Lee15567165
Calhoun14330311
Morgan14152271
Etowah13677346
Marshall11988220
Houston10402278
Elmore10008200
Limestone9843147
Cullman9501189
St. Clair9449234
Lauderdale9254228
DeKalb8756181
Talladega8104171
Walker7126275
Jackson6751110
Autauga6748103
Blount6511134
Colbert6225130
Coffee5418113
Dale4771111
Russell429338
Franklin420582
Chilton4100109
Covington4059114
Tallapoosa3904146
Escambia389574
Dallas3522149
Chambers3513122
Clarke346760
Marion3072100
Pike306176
Lawrence295395
Winston273072
Bibb256059
Marengo248261
Geneva245975
Pickens233059
Barbour226255
Hale218675
Butler212867
Fayette209460
Henry188044
Cherokee182544
Randolph177041
Monroe172440
Washington164738
Macon155548
Clay150055
Crenshaw149457
Cleburne146341
Lamar139634
Lowndes136553
Wilcox124527
Bullock121540
Conecuh109428
Perry107626
Sumter103232
Coosa99428
Greene91334
Choctaw58724
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Cloudy
63° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 63°
Columbus
Partly Cloudy
65° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 65°
Oxford
Partly Cloudy
57° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 57°
Starkville
Partly Cloudy
63° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 63°
Expect mostly cloudy skies on your Friday with a few spotty showers moving through the area, especially into the late-afternoon and evening. Some will likely stick around into Saturday morning. Temperatures remain cooler than average.
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather