Former first lady Michelle Obama isn’t the only one who can have a little fun with DJ Snake’s and Lil’ Jon’s “Turn Down for What.” A U.S. Figure Skating Championships routine from Jimmy Ma is set to the 2013 tune, and people are loving it.
The 22-year-old New York native added a unique twist to his performance during the short program finals Thursday, January 4th. Taking the ice first to DJ Snake’s bass-heavy “Propaganda,” the 2018 Winter Olympics hopeful unexpectedly transitioned into Lil Jon’s smash hit “Turn Down For What” about two-and-a-half minutes into his routine. The surprising musical turn — and accompanying down-and-dirty ice skating — set the California arena on fire.
Ma’s performance stood out from his fellow competitors, and not just for its hip-hop-infused attitude. Up until 2014, performing to music with vocals in figure skating competitions was all but forbidden, with judges imposing unreasonably harsh automatic point deductions on otherwise technically proficient routines. The 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, marks the first time in Olympic history that ice skaters can use songs with lyrics free from penalty.
But while most skaters are only now warming up to the idea of performing to popular music, Ma has already embraced it with open arms.
The Twitterverse quickly gave Ma high points for creativity and all-around badassery.
“We kind of wanted to make something that had a lot of excitement,” Ma told BuzzFeed. “Something to get the older generation excited and also draw in a new audience.”
Hip-hop on ice? We’re here for it! And judging by the applause, so was the crowd.
While the judges may not have been feeling Ma’s music choice — he finished in 11th place — we think he nailed it. Let’s hope he secures a spot on the U.S. Olympic figure-skating team. Hip-hop at the Olympics? We’re so down!