LET ME BE CLEAR...I'M NOT AT ALL HAPPY WITH THE JUDGING TODAY!
Now that I got that off my chest, let me begin with the Original Dance (OD). Summersett and Gilles still find themselves in 8th place but they had a wonderful OD that the crowd really got behind. Although they are in 8th, the spread between 6th and 8th is nill so they have plenty of opportunity to rise. The French team of Carron and Jost slipped to 5th after Samuelson and Bates of the U.S. turned in a stellar OD, complete with fancy tap dancing. For me, this was the program of the night (afternoon actually) and by the crowds reaction, I think it was theirs as well. The Kerr's have closed the gap just a little on the top two, in part, because they placed second in the OD. The Kerr's had a very strong OD and actually beat Tanith and Ben who are in second still overall. While it's still close at the top, Tanith and Ben lost a wee bit more ground to the French Delobel and Schoenfelder. They seem to be heading the wrong direction but they have the Free Dance to redeem themselves. In my opinion, their OD lacked the spark we've seen from their skating in the past...seemed a bit...Russian? In defense of Tanith and Ben, I thought their program should have been good enough to get past the Brits...this was my first juding dissaproval of the day! The French did this crazy old man, naughty nurse program that lost me a little bit...but all the footwork, lifts, and dance spins were spot-on, so they remained in the lead.
The pairs event went basically as everyone thought it would. First, the young Americans Yankowskas and Coughlin put on quite a show. Skating to 'Dracula' they started their program with this amazing lift that went all the way around the arena and they never looked back. They were pumped after their program having skated so well. On the reverse, finishing one spot above their teammates in 5th, Inoue and Baldwin had a terrible skate. They are still using that hideous (yes...I used that word!) program from last season and it go them nowhere. In truth, they are lucky they beat Yankowskas and Coughlin, I certainly would have placed them behind them! Duhamel and Buntin stayed in 4th after an up and down program. The leaders after the short, Russians Mukhortova and Trankov had a complete meltdown and are lucky to have one the bronze medal, they were terrible. But, Keauna and Rockne were stellar. First, I was weary because they are using 'West Side Story' and all us skating fans know this has been used over and over and over and...you get the point. But they are using the best cut of this music I've ever heard. The choreography is great and they skated great! A little hand down on the triple salchows but otherwise good...they had everyone out of their seats. As expected, the German's breezed by everybody with an easy skate to victory, however, they did have a major error when she singled the throw salchow near the end of the program. I'd like to point out I accurately predicted the Pairs Podium!
Between the end of the Pairs competition and the start of the Ladies short I went and grabbed some dinner. Upon returning to the Arena, I found a sea of Korean flags! I must tell you I've never been to an event where Yu-Na Kim competed. I asked a couple who was sitting near me who also travel to lots of skating competitions and they said "Oh yeah, she has a traveling entourage of superfans! Where she goes, they go!" Once we got inside the Arena, the walls were instantly decorated with Yu-Na signs and messages. It's like the Arena underwent an instant transformation. At the same time, all those people outside with the flags took seats bunched together in one corner of the arena...suddenly Yu-Na had a pep squad!
Speaking of the ladies short, this was where I went from being annoyed with the judges to full blown mad! The first of the U.S. ladies to skate was Rachael Flatt and she was stellar! Beautiful skating, spot on jumps, just amazing yet her score was just so so...huh? She's currently in 5th but she should be in second! Kimmie Meissner's big comeback hit a snag when she went down on her triple flip. I notice she's changed the entrance into the jump, I think to avoid taking off the wrong edge, but I don't think she's used to it yet. She's in 6th, but not all is lost, more on that in a moment. Mirai Nagasu took the ice and she had had problems too. She two footed the lutz, which was supposed to be in combination with a triple toe on the triple toe never happened. She had the frame of mind to make her solo flip jump into a combination, but it was only a triple/double. Despite the varied mistakes, she went ahead of Flatt...I was quite confused and dumbfounded by this! Yukari Nakano came out and made a couple boo boos of her own. Her triple/triple became a triple/double and then she doubled her triple lutz. But then she went ahead of Mirai and Rachael (at this point I'm wondering how the only skater to have a clean performance is now being pushed to third by skaters who aren't skating half as well)...puzzling? Miki Ando was just crusing through her performance until she took a spill during her foot work (I was watching Nikolai Morozov her coach during it and he winced as she fell!), yet she managed the lead. Between Miki in 2nd and Meissner in 6th there is less than three points separation so they all are still in the hunt for a medal. Speaking of medals, I think the Gold is wrapped up already. Yu-Na Kim was mesmerizing. She had a little flub up on her double axel but nobody cared because the rest was just so good! When the marks went up she was close to 12 points ahead of Miki Ando! The Korean pep squad went berserk! Yu-Na just sat there in the kiss and cry and shyly waved at the camera...geez! As soon as she left, the superfans quickly dispersed. I asked the couple behind who had some experience with the superfans and they noted they were now on their way to the hotel to stalk Yu-Na there!
And the men...ARRGGGHHHH! Adam Rippon stayed in 8th. I think his 'Pagliacchi' music is a bit heavy. Also, it appears to me that he has attempted to become Johnny Weir's clone, complete with sequined outfit with red broken heart on chest...just an observation. Two Canadian men turned in great programs. Shawn Sayer finished 5th with a program set to 'Amadeus.' There wasn't a beat of the music he didn't hit and he was one of the crowd favorites of the night. Kevin Reynolds placed 4th, he was also the only skater to land a quad (it was a salchow) on the evening. I think he surprised himself with his performance looking quite in disbelief in the kiss and cry. The podium was whack! What a joke! Evan Lysacek got the Bronze with the best performance on the night. He crashed and burned on the opening quad but went on to complete everything else yet his technical score was only 4th best on the night (I have no idea where the dinged him?). That was one of the loudest judges boo I've ever been a part of...how ridiculous. I ask everyone to watch his and Kozuka's performance and tell me who's better. I'd like to know which judges scored what, oh wait, I forgot, THEIR ANONYMOUS! Johnny Weir got the silver, which is what he deserved, but he too was better than Kozuka. Johnny, after stepping out of his quad attempt, went on to complete everything else. His new program, like his one from last season, back loads a lot of the triples in the second half of the program. Apparently, didn't matter. Takahiko Kozuka won it all with a so so program set to 'Romeo and Juliet.' I'm trying to understand where he amassed this huge technical element score...he didn't land nearly the jumps that Lysacek or Weir (or Reynolds for that fact!). I think he deserved the Bronze if not 4th place...big gift for the young man from Japan (that rhymes!) was given tonight! We'll be talking about this one for a while! The men's standing should have been flip/flopped with Weir staying in second...hands down poor judging!