*Looks like Sarah Meier just withdrew?
Becky Bereswill (USA) - Rough go for her here in Japan but some beautiful moments. I loved the spiral into the triple loop and also the fight she had on the second lutz.
Shoko Ishikawa (Japan) - Like Bereswill, some nice moments but overall a rough go. She seemed nervous, understandably competing at home in her biggest competition ever.
*What injury does Sarah Meier have?
Cynthia Phaneuf (Canada) - No luck with the lutz but she completed everything else she tried. Like the straight line footwork sequence...very much in character.
Yan Liu (China) - It's like 4 minutes of filler...nothing exciting at all.
Alena Leonova (Russia) - Better than she did in Moscow! Gutzy triple triple off the top then solid from that point on. When the music transforms and she gets into the character of that floozie harlet from the Chicago South Side it's like she can't miss a beat!
Laura Lepisto (Finland) - Too many singled and doubled jumps. The program is a good one though...if she lands all the jumps she would be right in there with the top women.
Yukari Nakano (Japan) - Some awesome moments and some silly ones too. This is such a big powerful piece of music and I'm not sure if she exactly rising to the occasion with this program.
Miki Ando (Japan) - I felt she was far better in tune with her character here. However, still some little issues with a couple of the jumping passes kept this program from singing. She'll have a chance to improve...she just made the Grand Prix Final!
Ashley Wagner (USA) - Great opening and then the little jump mistakes crept in culminating with that big single lutz. Still not a fan of the footwork, feels detached from the rest of the program. Third place isn't bad considering her performance.
Brodeur and Mattall (Canada) - Charming still. Not as spiffy technically as their last event.
Krasilnikova and Bezmaternikh (Russia) - This team lacked the flow and fluidity you would expect from a Russian Team. Lots of jump issues for Ksenia. The music they used from Pirates of the Caribbean was very heavy...very heavy.
Inoue and Baldwin (USA) - I spy clean side-by-side triple toes! Very nice. Kind of surprised they went for the throw triple axel (she fell) considering how clean they were up to that point but it's good to put mileage on it so it's there when you need it. They look much better this season being coached by Meno and Sand...more refined.
Denney and Barrett (USA) - I don't think I've ever seen this team miss a throw in competition so that as well as Jeremy's step out on his triple toe and singling of one his axel's was peculiar. The positive is that this program is great with good energy. They look like they could go another four and a half minutes. Their rise to the top of U.S. pairs skating will have to wait until another day.
Pang and Tong (China) - Anything I could say in dissent of this program would be real nitpicking. Pretty amazing...super solid. Big score!
Kavaguti and Smirnov (Russia) - Not sure why they stopped excepting maybe Yuko just needed a moment to collect herself after that huge fall on the throw quad salchow. She did collect herself though because after that they were near perfect. One of these days this team is going to skate two clean programs and no one will be able to catch them.
*The gap between second and third is dramatic!
*Free Dance isn't available on demand so I'll comment on it in my wrap-up post.
Jeremy Ten (Canada) - I love his music. I'm surprised more skaters haven't used Queen Symphony. This program is a little rough around the edges but I still think he looks far more sophisticated this season. I think he's in the mix to get Canada's second Olympic spot.
Kristoffer Berntsson (Sweden) - This program...I don't know what to say about this program. It was like Bruno at the beginning with the camera snapshots..."WASSSSUUUPPP!" Who ever thought of combining Sweet Dreams with Secret Garden? However, the jumps, spins, and footwork were all a hot mess (yes...Kristoffer gets the hot mess award here). Needs to get the program in better shape...needs work.
Vaughn Chipeur (Canada) - This program, like his short, feels frantic! Came undone a bit in the second half. I don't think he really feels the music either.
Daisuke Murakami (Japan) - Like most of the Japanese men he has great knees that really give him great flow across the ice. Possible jump downgrades? Kind of ran out of steam at the end but definitely one to watch for the future.
*I WANT ONE OF THE JAPANESE TEAM VESTS!
Adam Rippon (USA) - Really good. He hit that first triple axel which was an improvement from Paris (crashed and burned on the second though). Looked a little frustrated with his scores. He is so capable of spoiling the party in Spokane.
Artem Borodulin (Russia) - Nothing like Moscow...struggled the whole way through. Without the jumps the program is unimpressive.
Michal Brezina (Czech Republic) - Wow! Quietly solid as a rock. He didn't miss a thing in this program and his choreography is great. He does need to bring the expression to his face but that will come in time. He reminds me (maybe the hair?) of Jeffrey Buttle.
Takahiko Kozuka (Japan) - Crash and burn on the quad and then missed both his triple axels...eeeek! Sloppy salchow too...not his best by a long shot. Still love the program though. Wow, behind Brezina AND Rippon.
Daisuke Takahashi (Japan) - Ugh! He is so brilliant. Choreo, footwork, unmatched. Nice to see the quad back in the program...almost had it. But the two weird falls mid program...what happened. It's like he didn't even get close the rotation. BEHIND Brezina...what's happening here?!?!
Johnny Weir (USA) - Much much improved from Moscow. Both triple axels looked amazing. Weird mishap on the triple loop that never took off but everything else was fine. Better speed here too. Crowd went slightly nuts for him. Barely ahead of Brezina though...that's how good Brezina was!
Jeremy Abbott (USA) - Oh boy...missed the opening quad and it was downhill from there. Crashed and burned both axels and triple lutz. Made a slight recovery 2/3 through the program but by then the damage was done. On the upside this program is very difficult. Should he ever skate this clean this would be a tough program for anyone to beat. Maybe too ambitious?
Brian Joubert (France) - Thought before he skates...no reason he shouldn't win this. And after his program, certain that he will. Played it a bit safe, but that was the smart thing to do. That one little step out on the axel was the only real mistake. Gorgeous quad as always. I'm a fan of the circular footwork in this program, wish the rest of the program was as intricate. A win here probably gets him to Grand Prix Final. He didn't get half the reaction from the audience as Weir did.