Saturday, October 31, 2009

Cup of China Free Skate Flash

Diane Szmiett (Canada) - Lovely subdued performance.

Beatrisa Liang (USA) - I love the second half of this program. She had good fight here. Despite her difficulties, she looks a bit more put together this season.

Yan Liu (China) - Snoozefest.

Joannie Rochette (Canada) - Still not her best but better. I wish the the first half of the program had some of the faster paced music in it. I suspect she'll gain some ground with this though.

Fumie Suguri (Japan) - Rough around the edges. I miss the old Fumie that was less abrasive on the ice.

Rachael Flatt (USA) - Weird to see her make those jump errors. This program needs a bit more umph. Pretty though.

Akiko Suzuki (Japan) - When I find myself going "Mambo!" during a program set to West Side Story, it means it's one of those rare occasions I actually like the program. I love that this girl has personality and flair on the ice and the jumps were great. I think I have a new favorite Japanese female skater.

*What's with the weird camera angles?

Carolina Kostner (Italy) - What ever she found in the short program, she lost again in the free. Back to the drawing board...again.

Kiira Korpi (Finland) - Snoozefest #2. Her placement...unbelievable! Someone will have to explain to me how these Finnish ladies always seem to get by with less than stellar programs. Secondly, why was a similarly performed program was judged so much higher here in Beijing vs. Paris (her technical score was up about 14 points?).

Mirai Nagasu (Japan) - Before she begins...I'm thinking this is so hers to win or lose. I think they dinged her on a lot of jumps but 5th place seemed a bit harsh. Best quote through fake smile for the camera: "I just want to go home and practice again."

Yu and Wang (China) - Happy Halloween!

*Face paint is officially out of control this season. I'm calling for an immediate moratorium!

Weaver and Poje (Canada) - I think this is a handsome team. Perhaps the best cut of Phantom of the Opera I've heard. Felt kind of slow but there were some gorgeous moments here.

Chock and Zuerlein (USA) - There is some really intricate and clever choreography woven into this program. The music is a momentous? Twizzles need polished.

*More blood!

Faiella and Scali (Italy) - This team is great at storytelling. They totally nailed the characters of immigrants in a new country. Don't know if storytelling will be enough to make an Olympic Podium.

Khoklova and Novitski (Russia) - I just scratch my head with this team. I don't get them really so it's hard to say how I feel. Feel like they are channeling Bestemianova and Bukin. Outfits are, again, a disaster.

Belbin and Agosto (USA) - I have a dilemma. I love this team but I did not love this program. First half felt slow, some of the lifts felt sticky, and some of the poses were labored. The music leaves me a little cold as well (but perhaps that is the point). I miss the old Tanith and Ben...I want them back. Check the score...well under both Davis and White and Virtue and Moir. Interesting...

*Vanessa James is beautiful!

Evora and Ladwig (USA) - Good performance. This team has so many good qualities. Nice to see them go after and fight for everything. Throw lutz has spectacular potential. Mark looks spent!

Dong and Wu (China) - Pleasant...nothing special. Huibo Dong and Akiko Suzuki look like twins!

Duhamel and Buntin (Canada) - Abstract music choice. Lacked spunk.

Zhang and Zhang (China) - Meh. It's a better music choice than their short but there is still work to be done here. Don't know if they captured Scheherazade there...

Iliushechkina and Maisuradze (Russia) - Far less put together here than in the free. Kind of a let down.

Volosozhar and Morozov (Ukraine) - Sticking with Pearl Harbor, maybe a good decision for them. Wild on the loop...whoa! Still this program needs to find a way to be more exciting. It just kind of soldiers on.

Shen and Zhao (China) - Some tiny little technical glitches on the side-by-side elements to work on but clearly in a class of their own here. Not a fan of the music though, made the program feel slow (even though it wasn't).

Armin Mahbanoozadeh (USA) - Nice job. It's clear he's still figuring out the triple axel and how it feels but everything else looked just fine. Looked like he could go another four minutes at the end of his program. Good conditioning.

Kevin Reynolds (Canada) - Lots of weird music cuts. The program didn't flow very well.

Ming Xu (China) - Love the music...not so much the program.

Denis Ten (Kazakhstan) - Shame he didn't have his jumping legs on here. This program skated clean would be a point getter!

Chao Yang (China) - This music has to be retired. Decent performance though.

Stephen Carriere (USA) - Better. He still seems like he's rushing a bit. Nice axel at the top of the program.

Yannick Ponsero (France) - I think it would be frustrating to know you're good enough to be one of the best but to continually fall short (and after that beautiful quad). I'm going to chalk it up to jet lag. Paris to Beijing is a long flight. Look better at Europeans.

Jinlin Guan (China) - Of all the Chinese men here competing he paid the most attention to his component score. Not as technically proficient as the others but a lot more easy to watch. Nice job.

Samuel Contesti (Italy) - Preferred his FS last season a little more but this season's is interesting. He still performs it pretty well for being somewhat 'out there' music. Ouchie on that shoulder banger into the boards.

Evan Lysacek (USA) - Not too shabby. His axel looks so much better this season. Love the choreo, loved the jumps, really love the footwork. Excellent work. Two footed the flip a little. Also, a little short of Plushenko's FS score from Moscow.

Sergei Voronov (Russia) - Better than Paris...not good enough though if he is going to make the Russian Olympic Team. Loved the quad! Hangs on to the podium.

Nobunari Oda (Japan) - This program is great. It didn't seem to sing like it did in Paris but still good nonetheless. That popped axel was unexpected. Not surprised he won but thought it maybe should have been a bit closer between he and Lysacek.


jumping clapping man said...

khok and nov, yes, wtf? that first position is pretty unforgettable...not exactly russian pride, more mail order russian bride.

i love the deceptive simplicitiy of belb/agosto's program. i am also thrilled the music is so fresh. although, i do fear the difficulty isn't as high as it needs to be to compete with the teams you mentioned...since those team's lifts are now move at mach speed.

i think when the pressure's on, and the excitement level high, (ie: in vancouver) shen and zhao's program will move as there others have in the past.

just a you really think akiko can break through the asada/ando/nakano wall, even with this win, in the eyes of her federation?

jumping clapping man said...

oh, and i agree, the overhead camera is HELLA annoying!!! i get the esther williams concept, but i get dizzy, and really would rather see the more important side view for the jumps and spins.

Aaron said...

I think for Akiko it wont be easy but now is the time to go for it. With Asada's disastrous perfromances and the fact that she outdid Nakano from Paris, I think she has a chance. Ando is the one I think is a lock for the Japanese team, she is clearly their best right now. I think Suzuki if she keeps skating well can pick off Nakano.

Anonymous said...

I cannot imagine Japan not sending Ando and Mao. That means Nakano is dangling dangerously next to a cliff if Akiko keeps up the good work.

No surprise that Oda won despite only had one triple axel. This shows how much more work that Lysacek has to do to try to get onto the podium at the Olympics. With that said, he did better than I expected. Unfortunately without quads, he's looking at bronze than gold at the Olympics. I just cannot imagine him leaping over Takahashi and Plushy. But then again weirder than has happen. If all things equal, Chan will get the gold than Evan if the above two somehow had a splat fest.

Nagasu skated poorly for her lp. But I was surprised that she ended up that low. I was thinking thank god we have at least one of the two (Caroline and her) doing somewhat better. Then both ended up not too good. There is no way Korpi should get level 4 for her footwork. Her lp was not a silver level material. Joannie as usual can't put two clean programs together. Look for her to grab onto bronze at the Olympic (and barely). Rachel was the most disappointing of all. Here I thought at least one US lady is consistent and she came up with a splat fest. US ladies are just a mess right now and we are in the Olympic year!

Love Shen and Zhao. Showing all those how pairs should be done. I hope they get the Olympic Gold they deserve and retire with pride.

Men: Plushy, Takahashi, Chan/Oda
Women: Kim, Ando, Joannie
Pairs: Shen and Zhao, The German team, and Pang and Tong/ Zhang and Zhang