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Grand Prix Final Free Dance Comments

Bobrova/Soloviev: Slowness replacing messiness. Lifts in the second half still looking a bit unstable. Blah performance as usual. 6th place.

Shibutanis: Great skate! The difference between their skate and that of B/S was staggering. However, I really wish they would have gone in a different direction with their FD this year. I found my attention a bit divided. 5th place.

Weaver/Poje: No visible errors. Very captivating performance! 4th place.

Pechalat/Bourzat: Good skate. I think maybe it had more "punch" at TEB. Tanith made a good point about their transitions. The simplicity of them is definitely one of the things that separates them from Davis/White and Virtue/Moir. 3rd place.

Virtue/Moir: Other than the traveling dance spin...technically fabulous! This type of program is definitely more suitable for them. However, I don't find it completely captivating. 4 minutes felt like 4 minutes. 2nd place.

Davis/White: Love the exit from the dance spin! Love this program! No noticable errors. 1st place.

Such closeness!!!! 0.05 in the FD! Imagine how close the overall scores would have been had Scott Moir stayed on his feet during the SD.

Side Note: Tanith tweeted that she'd try to talk less...she definitely reads FSU! Anyway, I noticed that she talks a lot less when she's captivated by a performance. She talked quite a bit during B/S, Shibs, and P/B. Less during W/P but still more than D/W and V/M.

And that concludes the first half of the season! If I'm still in that mode, I'll write up some kind of mid season "check up" post.

Cup of Russia Day 1-As I Watch

-Mao Asada's joy is evident when she skates. So glad to see things going much better this season.
-I actually enjoyed Alena Leonova.
-Kiira Korpi is lovely but overrated by the judges. Haruka Imai was better than her today.
-Come to think of it, Haruka should have been third.
-Still thoroughly unimpressed by Adelina Sotnikova. Don't know why the judges insist on holding her up.
-Poor Christina Gao. :(
-Most of the ladies were painfully boring.

-Are Cain and Reagan trying to be ice dancers? Pretty bold of them to start with their footwork.
-They're quite good! Twist could use more height though.
-Ashley seemed quite puzzled by the score...I am.
-Bolero really needs to be burned at the stake!
-Stolbova and Klimov's costumes should be to!
-Berton and Hotarek actually have a decent step sequence.
-Yuko should also lose the nightgown.
-I have never liked Kavaguti and Smirnov's twist.
-Another costume change for Aliona...this one is much better!
-Good, they've abandoned the throw triple axel in the short.
-Should have went ahead and switched out Kavaguti and Smirnov!

-When it comes to the Latin rhythms, some teams have it and some teams don't.
-Tobias and Stagniunas have it...Pushkash and Guerriero do not.
-Jonathan makes me think of a younger Evan Lysacek (with lighter hair of course).
-Riazanova and Tkachenko...have it.
-I hate Carron and Jones' song choices...and I think they're a bit too campy.
-Bobrova and Soloviev definitely don't have it.
-Twizzles had obvious unison issues.
-And their lifts are horribly awkward!
-Despite the horrendous song choice (it really needs to burn now!), I think Weaver and Poje have it.
-Good job on doing the right thing, judges!
-Davis and White are much more tolerable in this rhythm than Virtue and Moir!
-They definitely have it!
-What the hell was that, Charlie?!?!?! Cup of Russia 2008 trying to come back...
-They should be fine though...might be closer than normal but they should be fine.

-Sergei Voronov...it's been while. And he's wearing a soccer ball!
-He's not quite over his feet today...
-Brandon Mroz...so boring. Artistry is not for just for ladies!
-Alien dude...infinitely more interesting than Mroz.
-So far, Andrei Rogozine is a good C pick.
-Not good Javier...
-Seems like Javier had more "pop" in Canada.
-Still much better than Mroz!
-Yuzuru is so Johnny Weir!
-He's a little spastic in places, particularly when his arms are involved.
-Get it Jeremy!
-Plushenko 2.0...has bugs.
-Michal Brezina's beginning seems a bit cartoony.
-Michal's spins always seem to lose speed.
-No pressure for him though...he's already in the Final.
-If the order stays the same, it will be Jeremy, Nan Song, and Taka in the Final.
Leave it to the men to make me wish there were 10 entries at the Grand Prix Final!

In: Patrick Chan, Daisuke Takahashi, Michal Brezina
Those With a Viable Shot: Nan Song, Takahiko Kozuka, Jeremy Abbott, Javier Fernandez, Yuzuru Hanyu

Hanyu's Cup of Russia mission is simple yet difficult...win! Abbott's mission is the easiest...top 4 finish! Fernandez's mission: also simple...medal! Song and especially Kozuka have the most difficult mission of all...wait and pray! No pressure for Brezina!

Nan Song's chances are very good. In my opinion, Jeremy Abbott, Michal Brezina, and Javier Fernandez are favored to medal. No matter what the order is, Song will make the final in that situation. Really, the only way he doesn't make it is if Hanyu wins, Fernandez is still on the podium, and Abbott's still in the top 4.

Takahiko Kozuka's slow start at Skate America may have cost him a spot in the Final. He's going to need a lot of help to make it. The favored situation will definitely keep him out...unless the event is horrendously bad and Fernandez somehow wins bronze with a total of 196.78. He'll get in if Fernandez is off the podium and anyone but Hanyu wins. If Hanyu does win, both Fernandez and Abbott would have to fail their missions. Brandon Mroz and Artur Gachinski could help out if they're hungry enough for redemption and Abbott and Fernandez are severely off their game. I wouldn't count on it if I was Taka...

Hmmm...while not as straightforward as the other disciplines, it's not severely complicated like I thought it would be.
The men get their own post because there's so much to consider. Anyway...

Pairs final is set. No one else at Cup of Russia has a shot.
1. Volosozhar/Trankov
2. Kavaguti/Smirnov
3. Savchenko/Szolkowy
4. Zhangs
5. Duhamel/Radford
6. Takahashi/Tran
Moore-Towers/Moscovitch are 1st alternates. Sui/Han will compete at the Junior Grand Prix Final.

In: Liza Tuktamisheva, Carolina Kostner, Akiko Suzuki, Alissa Czisny

The most likely scenario is that Mao Asada and Alena Leonova will go 1-2 and take the last two spots. However, if Adelina Sotnikova takes second or higher, she bumps Leonova and takes a spot. If both of them are off the podium, Mirai Nagasu gets the last spot. If Leonova didn't have a third event, Nagasu would be solidly in the mix. Makes you question allowing seeded skaters to take a third event, doesn't it?! Ashley Wagner would have more of a chance as well.

In: Virtue/Moir, Shibutanis, Pechalat/Bourzat, Weaver/Poje

The chances of Davis/White and Bobrova/Soloviev not taking the last spots are small. Weaver/Poje will also be skating in Russia so the podium there is pretty much locked up. The only chance Cappellini/Lanotte have is if Bobrova and Soloviev are off the podium or if they and/or Davis/White withdraw. In other words, it ain't happenin'!

TEB Day 1-As I Watch

Ladies Short
-Wow...TEB looks like it has a decent crowd!
-Sonia Lafuente: Good skate, basic program.
-The French girls are loving the hankerchief skirt this year!
-These step sequences are dragging for days...
-WTF is Lena Marrocco wearing?!?! Tassel skirt is...no! Moreso than Carolina Kostner's poorly constructed dayglo.
-This program is also no...
-Bad choice for my Angry Beavers.
-Liza Tuktamisheva has the jumps...she just needs time to develop everything else.
-I REALLY HATE these step sequences!!
-Mae Berenice Maite...probably the best lady France has ever had!
-Huge difference in quality between most of the first group and the second group!
-Daisuke, Takahiko and Jeremy need to show these girls how step sequences are done!
-Great skate from Kanako! She looks much happier this time!
-55.77...they must have marked her 3-3 as underrotated.
-Go Alissa!
-I like her presence on her ice but she seems a little tentative today.
-Even so, her spins never falter!
-Eeek! Random fall for Carolina!
-Fortunately, she's already going to Quebec.
-Liza has this wrapped up.
-Carolina's still ahead of Alissa.
-Both will need perfect jumps to win.
-Overall, programs were boring but points to this group of ladies for not using pieces that are on "death row".

Pairs short
-Dube and Wolfe are skating right through their music. Choreography is very generic too.
-Yannick Bonheur must be one of the most jilted pairs skaters ever!
-Tango de Roxanne...it's quickly headed for death row!
-Maybe Daisuke, Takahiko and Jeremy need to hold camp for the pairs too!
-Crowd booing James/Cipres score...umm sorry but it's about right.
-Red Violin (Concerto de Aranjuez)...also headed to death row!
-Didn't Dong and Wu skate to this last season??? Costumes are different though.
-They seem to be skating a bit faster than in the past.
-Why are so many pairs insisting on the "upside down split and grab" (wasn't sure how to describe it) lift all of a sudden?!
-And we get to hear Aranjuez again! Accelerating!
-Stolbova and Klimov's costumes are horrid! Way to work the fug.
-Bolero?!?!? Oh good god, why won't it die already?!?!?
-Very tempted to fast forward through.
-This choreography is awful!
-Amanda and Mark, please clear my mind!
-Oh a little off on the twist....
-Amanda down on side by side triple toes...not going well for them.
-Nice comeback on the throw!
-Most enjoyable program so far.
-Volosozhar and Trankov...shocking and odd fall on the twist...
-They definitely have one of the less painful step sequences.
-I like their long program better.
-Now time for Bazarova and Larionov...nice and boring.
-And they're using a death row piece.
-Love the entrance into the lift however.
-Third place. Duhamel and Radford just need to maintain their position to ear n a spot in the final.
-This pairs short was mostly painful.

Short Dance
-Yay! Chock and Bates managed to stay on their feet this time!
-Sara Hurtado's costume would be better without the headband.
-Cool lift!
-Dismount was a little awkward though.
-Fun program!
-Vitali Butikov's costume is a cross between Carnivale and the gay pride parade!
-Bleh...that was just ok.
-I don't know whose costumes are more fugly: Huang/Zheng or Gorshkova/Butikov
-Never mind, yes I do...Gorshkova/Butikov for sure. At least Huang/Zheng's costumes seem well put together.
-Huang/Zheng seem like they were more into it here. The crowd might have made a difference.
-I think I will dub Nikita...Vernbush!
-Looks like Vernbush lost his footing on the third set of twizzles.
-Whoa! Quite a score for Cappellini and Lanotte!
-Virtue and Moir...yea, the expression is still not working for me. Ilinkyh and Vernbush looked better.
-I paused the video and it caught Scott with a goofy expression on his face!
-Good to see Fabian Bourzat looking healthy! He looked like death at Skate America.
-Pechalat and Bourzat look more natural in this rhythm than Tessa and Scott.
-Loudest ovation all day!

Men's Short
-They managed to get an absolute last minute replacement for Brian Joubert.
-Ponsart looks unprepared.
-Why are so many men suddenly doing bastardizations of Shawn Sawyer's signature spin?!
-The way Besseghier is falling out of his jumps actually looks kind of cool.
-He looks even more unprepared than Ponsart! And he had lots more time!
-What a difference a year makes...
-Requiem for a Dream...well at least the torture is shortened.
-Nan Song needs better...everything that is not jumps!
-From death row to the arena...
-Crowd booing Kevin's score...appears the quad was two-footed...possibly underrotated.
-Not too much to say about Majorov...
-To say that Florent Amodio's skate is a huge improvement over Skate America would be a huge understatement.
-Weird spin mistake aside, of course.
-Go Adam!
-Adam can help run the camp with Dai, Taka, and Jeremy.
-Score only slightly better than Skate Canada. :( That triple axel again...
-Rare miss for Nobunari...
-I think 2006 Nobunari was a lot more expressive.
-Pigeon in the house! LOL!
-Ouch! He missed his combo. And his spin last spin didn't count. Nan might just be on his way to the Final!
-Michal doubles his combo...
-The major players are just messing up today! Too bad Chantastic scoring doesn't apply to them!
-Michal's final spin was quite slow.
-Patrick down on quad...no matter, his first place is safe.
Now that NHK has concluded, the Grand Prix Final is starting to take shape.

In: Kavaguti/Smirnov, Savchenko/Szolkowy, Zhangs, Takahashi/Tran (might as well say they are in)

With the exception of K/S and S/S, no pair at Cup of Russia has a shot at the Final so the lineup will be set at the end of TEB. Volosozhar/Trankov are the unquestionable favorites at TEB so they should have no problems getting in. For the rest, Takahashi/Tran's silver at NHK has seriously altered things! Moore-Towers/Moscovitch are on a bubble. If Duhamel and Radford or Evora and Ladwig win silver at TEB, that team will take the last spot. However, if Bazarova/Larinov win silver and Duhamel/Radford win bronze, D/R would need more than 174.63 to bump M-T/M. However, if E/L win bronze behind B/L, M-T/M will make it. Sui and Han will be headed to the Junior Final instead.

In: Carolina Kostner, Akiko Suzuki

Unlike the pairs, the ladies are relatively straightforward. Eliza Tuktamisheva and Alissa Czisny will likely earn their spots at TEB next week with podium finishes. Both have wins so even a 4th place finish would get it done. Alena Leonova has another chance to grab a spot in the Final at Cup of Russia. Gold or silver would get it done for her. Mao Asada would secure her spot with a podium finish (4th place might get her in too). Adelina Sotnikova could ruin Leonova's chances by taking silver in Russia. Mirai Nagasu gets the last spot if Sotnikova is off the podium and Leonova finishes lower than 2nd. Chances of that are slim though.

In: Shibutanis, Weaver/Poje

The only way Davis/White and Virtue/Moir won't win their respective events and make the final is if they withdraw. They are just that good! So, unofficially, there are only two spots up for grabs. In all likelihood, they will go to Pechalat/Bourzat and Bobrova/Soloviev. Still no updates on Fabian's health but all signs point to them showing up at TEB. If they don't show up, the chances for Cappellini/Lanotte and Ilinykh/Katsalapov increase significantly. In that case, whichever team gets silver will likely get a spot.

...Going to have to make another post for the men-it's so complicated!

NHK Trophy Part 1

Short Dance
-Love Lynn K and Logan G-S!
-I'm not sure I believe Paul and Islam in certain sections of that dance.
-They still look shaky but at least it wasn't the horror that was Skate America.
-Chest covered in tassels is just...no.
-A/V need to pick up the speed!
-Surprised they got the lead...
-There's always going to be something squicky about sibling teams doing Latin dances.
-More Michael Jackson!
-The Japanese know how to get behind their own, unlike the Chinese.
-Z/G...how do they not get a costume deduction?! Her shirt flies up and exposes at least half of her torso!
-Nikita Katsalapov...seriously he's Richard Dornbush with Tomas Verner's hair!
-I don't know why but I like "Hip Hip, Chin Chin" better on I/K than Virtue and Moir.
-Is it me or are the Shibutanis missing a little speed?
-Still not a big fan of their SD. They avoid most of the squick but it just bores me.
-Armin and Ross watching the short dance!
-I actually agree with their score and placement. They seemed a bit slow compared to I/K.
-I don't hate Weaver and Poje's SD as much as I thought I did. In fact, I don't hate it all, especially after enduring such a snore-fest last week.
-Kaitlyn's still seriously working the fug though!
-Andrew's wobble on the twizzles probably cost them 1st place.
-Overall, the short dance here blew Cup of China out of the water!

Pairs Short
-Denney and Coughlin look amazing for a new pair but I just don't connect with their skating.
-It doesn't help that their music choices are safe and boring.
-LOL! They laugh as the announcer mistakenly proclaims their score their season's best.
-Oh good god, not Phantom of the Opera! Why Castelli and Shnapir, why?!?!
-They're a beautiful pair, though.
-I/M...what a weird exit on the lift.
-Berton and Hotarek are better at expressing Latin rhythms than some of the ice dancers!
-Oh TakaTran...so beautiful to watch and yet they're constantly plagued by mistakes.
-If they had all the technical beef of Sui and Han, they'd be world medal contenders for sure!
-Kavaguti and Smirnov's death spiral is kind of ugly.
-Behind Denney and Coughlin but just barely...won't be in the final group.
-Aliona's costume was much better at Skate America.
-Robin's collar is just...LOL!
-There they go with the throw triple axel...
-Savchenko and Szolkowy are definitely one of the few pairs that have tolerable footwork sequences.
-No one got over 60 here...

Ladies Short
-I hate the "handkerchief skirt" so much! It doesn't seem to cover enough.
-It's about time a solid ladies skater came out of France!
-It's about time Elene G put out a strong performance!
-I can forgive Mao for using Scheherazade...she is using a less ubiquitous music cut and arrangement.
-She's beautiful to watch.
-It's nice to see Mao with a smile on her face despite the missed axel.
-Not the greatest outing for Kiira Korpi but her skating's very nice to look at.
-Alena (or Aliona) was great! She injected some needed spunk into this event.
-Akiko killed it! And her reaction was adorable!
-As the old adage says, "Age ain't nothing but a number."

Cup of China Day 1 Thoughts

Been a while since I've used this thing but since I wasn't available to live tweet, here you go...

-With the exception of Coomes and Buckland, the short dance was a drag!
-Ironically, it was the Chinese teams that had the craziest costumes.
-Bobrova and Soloviev have the dance title wrapped up...provided they are mistake free.
-Love Mirai Nagasu's short program! She skated it with such confidence.
-Here's hoping it carries over to the long.
-Was not impressed by Adelina Sotnikova.
-Bolero needs to die a slow, painful death!
-Kanako Murakami has changed a lot...love it!
-I hope she's ok though because she looked to be in pain despite skating a clean program.
-Bingwa Geng and Kexin Zhang were quite wonderful!
-I think Ksenia Markarova is on a downward spiral.
-Artur Gachinski is definitely Plushenko 2.0...that's all I can say about him.
-First thing I thought when I saw Yuzuru Hanyu's costume...Johnny Weir!
-Benji Swimmer and his dad did a great job on Jeremy Abbott's short. Really enjoyed it!
-Poor Richard Dornbush...
-Anyone skating to Poeta who is not Stephane Lambiel will always pale in comparison.
-I miss Brian Joubert! The top 5 were great but he would have added something for sure.
-Blues and Kavaguti and Smirnov...what an odd yet kind of cool combination.
-Sui and Han's cowboy program is not cute anymore!
-I like Yu and Jin but I hate that they skate to severely overused music.
-Should have stuck with my first instinct and picked the second Canadian pair for my C pick.
Group number this week was Bollywood and honestly it was the best one so far this season. Loved it! Anyway, I was surprised Jordan and Tadd were in the bottom. Maybe smooth waltz=fridge break for the voters. Ryan and Ricky did dance well but I don't think the voters connected with the routine. Ashley and Chris were expected to be in the bottom so no surprises there. The guys all did great solos but the cut was obvious. I did like Chris but he definitely had some trouble with the salsa and the guys group routine. The girls did good solos too but the guys were better overall. Still, the choice seemed clear. Like last week, Ashley had the weakest solo plus her last two routines with Chris weren't the greatest. They were often the forgotten pair in this competition and it's too bad they didn't get more routines like the Broadway jail one. Had this week's routine been a knockout, they may still be in the competition.

As great as he was, I don't think we'll be seeing Travis as a judge again (at least not before top 10). He tweeted that he never wants to break someone's heart that way again. He has a unique perspective because he knows what it's like to be up there although he wasn't eliminated by the judges.

We're one show away from the top 10! I wonder who the All Stars are this season.

So You Think You Can Dance 8: Top 14

I miss live tweeting! Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed Travis as a judge! He was honest in his criticism without being harsh. Carmen Electra actually did a great job. Unlike the rest of the celebrity judges, she gave constructive criticism when needed. Choreography was average overall.

Melanie/Marko (Jazz): These two can still do no wrong! Love them! However, I enjoyed last week's routine more although this was better than their Top 20 redo routine. I'm ready to see them do ballroom!

Sasha/Alexander (Hip Hop): Second weakest routine of the night mostly because of the choreography. Alexander didn't have the swagger though. It is still "Sasha..and that guy she dances with". They'll likely be in the bottom but I don't think either of them are in too much danger.

Jordan/Tadd (Smooth Waltz): I enjoyed this. Toni Redpath choreographed a very creative routine. Tadd is fantastic at handling all of these different styles. He will be last B-boy standing for sure. Jordan was beautiful.

Clarice/Jess (Contemporary): Dancing and the chemistry was great but I didn't connect with the routine itself. Fault of the choreography not theirs. Their interaction during the judges' comments is so cute! I hope they draw hip hop next week because I would love to see how Jess would handle it.

Ashely/Chris (Salsa): Weakest routine of the night but not the fault of the choreography. Chris looked uncomfortable with the hip action. They did great with the lifts but the chemistry wasn't there. They needed the same type of performance and chemistry they had week two. I think this was the last dance for them.

Ricky/Ryan (Jazz): Great dancing but the routine didn't grab me. I like Ricky but I'm not a big fan of Ryan. I find her to be too "smiley" in her expression.

Caitlynn/Mitchell (Contemporary): Way to save the best for last (for couple routines, anyway)! This was far and away the routine of the night. Definitely one of Mandy Moore's best pieces. Caitlynn and Mitchell had great connection. Their dancing this week had the impact I was missing from the other routines.

Guys Group (Contemporary): Concept was great but I wasn't feeling it. Marko was definitely the standout here. Chris was clearly behind a few steps.

Girls Group (Jazz): Loved it! However, the "man hating"/"domination over men" type concepts are getting tired. Someone please do something different next week! Anyway, the girls were pretty evenly matched to my untrained eye in terms of how well they danced. All did great with the character too.

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