So each year that I’ve gone to Sun Valley, there’s been that moment when Johnny is stepping onto the ice to perform and I’m glancing around at the audience thinking, Will this play well here . . . ?
Because Johnny kind of, you know, pushes boundaries a bit. By which I mean pushes them through the Moon Door with utter glee, then spins around with an artful ass swivel and a wicked grin while batting his eyelashes innocently at the speechless observer.
And not everybody is always prepared for that. Especially maybe not an audience made up of the wealthy clientele and staff of an upscale resort high in the mountains of super-conservative, not-terribly-diverse Idaho. Some of whom, judging by the convos around me before the shows begin, don’t even always know who Johnny is and just sort of wander into the ice show because they need something to do on Saturday night during their stay.
And each year, this audience surprises and delights me with their response to him. And restores my Trump-battered faith in humanity a little.
Last year it was his Bollywood piece over which I had some trepidation—completely unwarranted, as it turned out. They LOVED him.
This year it was both pieces, but as we’ve already seen, his closing program, ‘Creep,’ in flowing black skirt, was extremely well-received.
That was the second program he performed. He paved the way for that enthusiastic reception with his ‘Carmen.’ And that’s the one for which I really held my breath.
While the music is well-known to the point of exhaustion in skating circles, it’s maybe less accessible to a non-skating-enthusiast crowd. And Johnny’s interpretation of it is . . . very Johnny. Which of course we all have loved from the moment we first glimpsed it in its early stages when he and Drew Meekins were working out the choreography.
Since then, he has refined it into his own gender-fluid masterpiece. It’s an extremely high-energy program, which resulted in a lot of photos of him as a blur of motion, as you’ll see below.
There’s one particular point, accompanied by the sound of high heels clicking, that fans adore—but this audience . . . ?
As always, the Sun Valley crowd blew me away with their love for and appreciation of him.
And we have fabulous HD video below, and this time I remembered to attach the extra microphone to the video camera, so not only is the music well-recorded, you also can hear the spectators’ spontaneous reactions as he performs. And my favorite parts are during the high-heels section, when they burst into screams of approval, and a few seconds later, when he blows a kiss to the audience and someone yells back, “We love you, Johnny!!”
Our photo series begins with him suddenly gliding onto the ice—interestingly, without the additional high-heel-clicking intro that he used during his Asian tours. Most of these are nicely huge; I especially love the photos that capture the movement of the skirt-like portion of his costume. And since the video camera had trouble compensating for the ultra-bright spotlights on his face at times, I’m thrilled to have photos that show his expressions so well.
This is an amazing program and his performance of it in Sun Valley—fighting fatigue, altitude, and scant rehearsal time—is phenomenal. And the audience thoroughly rewards him for it. From start to finish, this is an absolutely wonderful Johnny moment.
I can’t stop watching this. I’m sorry he’s so sick, but I love this silliness. Please feel better soon, Johnny!
Random clip of Johnny signing autographs during his Lancaster Barnstormers Bobblehead night!
REMINDER: GO SEE JOHNNY SKATE! American fans have a cornucopia of opportunities to see Johnny perform this fall! He’s starring in An Evening With Champions again September 18 and 19 . . .
. . . and he’s also headlining Nancy Kerrigan’s Halloween on Ice throughout October. Both shows offer VIP tickets that include a post-show meet-n-greet where you can get photos/autographs. Don’t miss out!
Exclusive photos © David Ingogly.