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Friday, September 26, 2008

Review: 2008 Tour of Gymnastics Superstars

I’m sure you’re all curious about how the 2008 Tour of Gymnastics Superstars was, since you probably missed it. Well, your intrepid guides were there, taking notes and cell phone pictures which I can’t figure out how to download.

Bring earplugs, because any time Shawn or Nastia are on stage, you’ll go deaf from the cheers. The poor men’s team (of which they were ALL there, unlike the women who only produced three team members) did not get the same star reception (except when they took their shirts off).

We had nosebleed seats on the side, and I admit it was difficult to see who was on stage performing. And they didn’t announce who was who until the end. Of course they did announce the two women who needed no introduction, Shawn and Nastia.

We brought binoculars, but Dori and I fought over them the whole time. I wanted to see the naked men, er, the awesome gymnastics performances. She just wanted to look through them.

The highlights: The men were fabulous. Not just because of their naked chests (though that was nice too). They did some fun and fancy high bar work, swinging loops over it with only one hand. And lots of pummel horse moves, even done on the floor with no apparatus. And the men can dance – I was surprised how well.

The disappointments: Since Shannon Miller won her 7 Olympic medals (1992 and 1996 games), she graduated from college and law school. This probably explains why her one floor routine and only time on stage, was dancing with a random back walk-over thrown in. Yes, it was artistic and her hair looked lovely. The flowing red dress was beautiful. But it’s not such a highlight to see a formerly elite gymnast perform essentially a dance routine.

Other dance routines: like the exhibition after the Olympic medals were awarded, Nastia Liukin did an artistic rendering of a girl so moved by the music she had to make love to the balance beam. Not interesting! I want to see those competitive moves she did to earn her all-around gold medal!

During intermission, local gymnasts from Stanford and gymnastics studios practiced and did a few performances. They were terrific, and I would have loved to see that caliber throughout the show.

The show had several bits with a male gymnast dressed as a female, with a frilly pink outfit and bows in her wig. This dude was enormous, with muscular thighs the size of tree trunks, and a back as wide as…well, it was really wide. He was great, much to my surprise. Sadly, my kids had no clue this was a guy, let alone one trying to be funny. And when Shawn came out next, also dressed in a pink frilly thing, my daughter said “is that a boy too?” It was then I realized that even our nosebleed cheapie seats were wasted on my children.

I’m not sure how much you have to pay to sit on the floor, but some lucky fans had seats in between parts of the stage, and could definitely get a better cell phone picture than I could. And they could probably tell who was performing.

Okay, now for the music. Jordan Pruitt and the girl-band KSM were heavily featured. As a mom of elementary, nontweens/teens, I had no clue who they were (I guess that kind of dates me, doesn’t it?). Jordan looked like a thinner version of Brittney Spears. The singing was fine. I was amazed watching how easily she walked around in heels – and they were so sparkly too! At one point she wore one white glove with sparkles, and I thought for a moment Michael Jackson had a sex change and became even MORE white. One costume included a skin-tight pair of white pants. I think that a shout-out to Tampax is in order – maybe they need a new spokeswoman.

As for KSM, I’m not their target audience. But I had an 80’s punk flashback. The lead’s hair was AWFUL (read: skunk-like). I assume it’s a wig, because I’d have to sue any hairdresser who would do that to my daughter’s hair. They sang some songs from their new album that I won’t be buying. And girls – get a website! You have no official online presence! If you do have a website, hire an SEO person.

To sum it up: yay men! The whole men's team was there, plus Paul and Morgan Hamm. As for the women, the only 2008 Olympians were Shawn, Nastia and Chelsie Memmel. What’s up with the team spirit, ladies? (If you see the show in Indianapolis, you get two more Olympic women added to the mix). If I had to redo the show, I’d make the routines a little harder for the women, and feature KSM less.


  1. We loved the show; we were in the front row, which did make a huge difference. Check out our review on our site.

    We have seen KSM perform close up too, and Shelby Cobra is adorable. She designed that hairstyle and it's really not punk but it is unique. She's very cute, original, and wholesome up close.

    We agree with you that the men rocked the world in that performance!

  2. I would probably be a little disappointed if the gymnasts didn't at least do some awesome tricks or tumbling. After all, isn't that what you are there for? As for Shannon Miller (a fave of mine), what's the point of a dance? I would rather just see her sitting there looking pretty than pretend she was doing something impressive...

  3. Show couldn't be worse! It is equal parts dull and obscene and that's hard to do. Over-produced, under-considered. The routines are barely gymnastics and the music is AWFUL! The costumes were inappropriate for a family show. I was disgusted and haven't spoken to anyone in our gym club that wasn't! AVOID THIS SHOW!!!

  4. I have to agree about how bad the show was and I also couldn't stand that music! It was just terrible, maybe the worst singing I have ever heard from KSM, and it wasn't just me. My kids who are in middle school who should be their target audience couldn't stand them either and described them as a bunch of freaks. I also had a punk flashback but not in a good way lol! I did enjoy some of the gymnastics but I was really expecting alot more from the money we spent on 6 tickets! I wouldn't recommend going to the show to anyone and if you do go I suggest you bring earplugs!

  5. Saw the Washington, DC show last night. How degrading for these fine athletes to be tossed in to this sleezy Disney style orchestrated faux band atmosphere. The acoustics were horrible, we couldn't see or hear most of the video taped parts of the show. Unlike other shows or concerts where they have the big screens hanging from the center which show close up what is going on-these guys skipped that. If they didn't tell you who the gymnasts were (and sometimes they didn't)-you wouldn't have any idea. The male gymnasts were great-too bad the producers felt they had to give them a Chippendale's look by keeping their shirts off for the performances. The girls were good-but not doing the kinds of things they did in the Olympics. They had way too much dance in hip hop outfits punctuated by one number where Nastia does a routine to Ave Maria-She moves so gracefully and is just beautiful to watch but I wasn't sure whether I should be comforted or discomforted by this- anyhow-it definitely didn't fit with the Disney girls routines.

    My daughter said she enjoyed seeing the gymnasts do routines that weren't interrupted by camera shots of the parents, the judges, etc like at the Olympics. My husband and I say-loud, hard to see, hard to hear, save your money.