The 2022-23 figure skating season is officially in the home stretch leading up to the World Championships in Saitama, Japan. The competition kicks off tomorrow, and in a sport so reliant on music choice, there is bound to be some crossover with our beloved Eurovision Song Contest.
Luckily, there are a handful of this year’s competitors – both at the top of their game and just coming up the ranks – that have delivered some entertaining Eurovision-themed programs.
Here are some highlights from 2022 and 2023:
Matteo Rizzo – “Zitti e Buoni” by Maneskin
Some of you might be scratching your heads – didn’t he use this music last year? And you’d be correct: Matteo has kept his Maneskin-themed short program from last season, and he has had much more success with it this time around. Combining his strong skating and performance skills, the addition of a quadruple loop jump to his technical arsenal, and his free skate set to music by Bruno Mars, Matteo earned a Grand Prix bronze medal at Skate Canada, a silver medal at the 2023 European Championships, and his second Italian national title.
Olga Mikutina – “My Nocturnal Serenade” by Yohio
Ukrainian-born Austrian skater Olga Mikutina has given us one of the more out-there Eurovision connections these past couple of seasons. The long-time Austrian champ’s eye-catching short program is done to the song “My Nocturnal Serenade” by Swedish artist YOHIO. And if you’re wondering why that name sounds familiar to you, it’s because YOHIO has competed in Melidofestivalen twice, even finishing as the runner-up with “Heartbreak Hotel” in 2013 to Robin Stjernberg’s “You”. He also announced Sweden’s points at Eurovision 2013. As for Mikutina, she recently finished 15th at the 2023 European championships and represented Austria at the 2022 Winter Olympics.
Niina Petrokina (Exhibition) – “Kuula” by Ott Lepland
Estonian skater Niina Petrokina officially made the move from junior to senior competition this season, finishing a respectable 6th and 7th in her two Grand Prix assignments. She is the reigning Estonian champion and most recently finished 6th at the 2023 European Championships and 12th at the 2023 World Junior Championships (she will be age-eligible for junior competitions until she turns 19). In her exhibition program at the 2022 NHK Trophy (timestamp: 26:05), she skated to Estonia’s 2012 Eurovision entry “Kuula” by Ott Lepland, which finished 6th with 129 points.
Allison Reed/Saulus Ambrulevicius (Exhibition) Euros 2022 – “On Fire” by the Roop
The long-time Lithuanian ice dance champions are known for their inventive and daring programs, but decided to have a bit of fun in their Exhibition program at last year’s European Championships (timestamp 22:24). Having finished in 8th place, their made the most of their Gala invitation by skating to (what else?) Lithuania’s would-be 2020 Eurovision entry “On Fire” by The Roop. They clearly understood the assignment, completing their program with matching outfits and incorporating the song’s dance moves into their choreography. Allison and Saulus have since upgraded their European Championships ranking to 4th place in 2023. Although they were not able to compete at the Olympics, they did finish 10th at the 2022 World Championships to secure two competitive spots for Lithuania at this week’s competition.
Charlene Guignard/Marco Fabbri (Exhibition) – “Brividi” by Mahmood & Blanco
We finish our figure skating journey today with the newly-crowned 2023 European Champions in Ice Dance, Italy’s Charlene Guignard and Marco Fabbri. The most experienced skaters on this list have had their best season to date, winning their two Grand Prix assignments and the Euros as well as earning the bronze medal at the Grand Prix Final in December. Known for their graceful skating style, they are also celebrating their country’s recent Eurovision success with their exhibition program to Mahmood & Blanco’s “Brividi”, which was the home entry for Italy in 2022 and finished in 6th place overall.
Bonus: Eurovision in Gymnastics?
I’d be remiss if I didn’t highlight a couple of Eurovision easter eggs from gymanstics this past year. At the 2022 World Championships in Liverpool, Dutch gymnast Naomi Visser used Barbara Pravi’s 2021 entry “Voila” during her floor routine. And yes, she competed in the same arena that we will be visiting for Eurovision 2023 in May! Across the pond in NCAA gymnastics, LSU gymnast Aleah Finnegan added a Spanish twist to her floor routine. If you listen closely, you can hear the intro and dance break from Chanel’s 2022 entry “SloMo”. Aleah competes internationally for the Philippines. Both she and Visser will be vying for competitive places at the 2024 Olympics in Paris.
For more info on how to watch this year’s World Figure Skating Championships, check out So You Want to Watch Figure Skating.
Will you be watching these skaters at the World Championships? Are there any other figure skating programs with Eurovision connections that we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments or on social media. Be sure to follow ‘That Eurovision Site’ on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok.
News Source: International Skating Union, FIG, and NCAA
Photo Source: Diego Barbieri, FISG