Crone and Poirier (Canada) - Pretty program, lovely edges. I worry for them though. This program is very nice but lacks fireworks...at Canadian Nationals Weaver and Poje will have fireworks!
Cappellini and Lanotte (Italy) - Program seems slower every time I see it. This had been the one Requiem program that I actually liked until I see it in Tokyo...now it's just bland. Into the lead but actually lost Free Dance to Crone and Poirier...oooooh!
Kerr and Kerr (Great Britain) - Linkin Park is a nice original choice but they need to make this program a little cleaner and sharper. Some sloppy moments, especially on the part of John, throughout. Love the lift where she lifts him!
Pechalat and Bourzat (France) - The other Requiem program...lacked punch. Last 30 seconds was hard to watch! The music reaches its climax at the end but they choose to go on for about 5 more seconds with this drone-like tick-tock...end the program already! Also, did an illegal lift...not sure if the judges caught it/cared?
Virtue and Moir (Canada) - Near perfection. Twizzles were stunning...perfect unison, excellent position, and close together. The lifts they do are unreal. Big score!
Davis and White (USA) - Amazing speed and equally unreal lifts. Almost perfect Twizzles (Charlie got a touch out of sorts but held it together). Davis and White have blazing fast dance spins (might have been the difference). Another big score, barely lost to Virtue and Moir in the Free Dance but hang on to become the first U.S. Dance team to win Grand Prix Final.
Kavaguti and Smirnov (Russia) - Lovely performance. Yuko had a couple close landings, hard to tell if there were tiny two foots or not. Couple of place the intricate choreography in the transitions seemed sticky. Yuko is so flexible.
Zhang and Zhang (China) - Struggles continue. They couldn't leave the ice and get out of there quick enough. Dan never seemed over her feet in the jumping department botching the side-by-side triple toe and throw salchow...complete fall on throw loop. I will say, the first half of the program there was a glimmer of emotion coming from Dan so maybe a slight improvement in that department...trying to find the positives here.
Pang and Tong (China) - Solid performance. Only error was a slight hand down on Jian's toeloop otherwise fine. Throws at the end of the program are like a dream. Awesome. Into a big lead.
Mukhortova and Trankov (Russia) - Something has clicked this season. Again, a beautiful performance. It's subdued and just lovely. Maria's landing edge on those throws were amazing. Love that they sneak Cinema Paradiso into this program. I was surprised they went behind Pang and Tong...thought they were at least "as good" and shoudl have maintained their lead over them.
Savchenko and Szolkowy (Germany) - Tough opening. Bailed on the toeloops, awkward landing for Aliona on throw flip (but she fought and held on) and then awkward landings on the double axels. After the opening jump weirdness though it was gorgeous. Amazing choreography. Throw salchow at the end was masterful. Judges REALLY LIKED Pang and Tong...they still have the lead!
Shen and Zhao (China) - Wow! The rise and fall in this program is so brillantly choreographed to the music. The explosive moments...the tender moments all brillantly woven together. Hongbo did single his first of two double axels but it hardly matters. For the first time this season that program blew me away. Only concern I had was the side by side spins...those need to be 'spiffier' but, details...details. Love the fist pump from Bin Yao! Gigantic score!
Tomas Verner (Czech Republic) - Doubled his opening quad but came back with another one and two lovely triple axels...then the program went to pieces. Fall on the lutz and then he couldn't even rotate jumps. Totally head case, he's so capable of competing with the best and so often lets mistakes get to him.
Jeremy Abbott (USA) - Has a new outfit every time he does this program! Missed the opening quad but was amazing after that. Two triple-triple combos (one a three jump deep in the program)...amazing footwork and spins...big ovation at the end. Nice work! Get's a 'two thumbs up' from Yuka!
Johnny Weir (USA) - Lots of drama in this program. Kind of scary on the first axel, was really leaning outside the circle but somehow landed it and corrected so that it flowed out. Everything else solid. I feel like the choreography isn't as intricate (point grabbing?) as say Abbott but he really feels the music and draws you in. Another big ovation from the crowd...American's are stepping up to the plate, swinging, and connecting! Slips just past Abbott.
Nobunari Oda (Japan) - DEEEEEEEEEEEPPPPP breath before start of program. Took out that 3-jump quad combo and instead focused on a clean skate. Crusing along until second triple axel which he popped. Popped a silly double axel at the end as well. He has the character of Charlie Chaplin down perfect though! I don't feel those two mistakes really hurt the program as a whole, the quality of everything he did well is amazing.
Evan Lysacek (USA) - Same as Oda. Cruising along until that second axel which he also pops. Trouble for Evan is that he planned to do his combo there. Still an amazing performance. What happened to the see-through shirt? Still a season's best...get's the lead!
Daisuke Takahashi (Japan) - Iffy opening. Crashed and burned on the quad. Then bailed on his second triple axel and followed it up with a messy spin. Then he missed the back part of the lutz combo. Oh my. I was shocked when he slipped heading into that second lutz that he got the jump off and managed it in combination. All the jump errors kept this program from singing like it did at Skate Canada. At the end he seemed out of gas. Way down to 5th...eeeeek!
*WOW Evan and Johnny! Gold and Bronze! Nice comeback too for Abbott!
*Trying to watch the women but it wont load at Ice Network....aarrgh!
*Opting to just wait until tomorrow NBC telecast...the ladies free skate link is been removed entirely from the site.
Ashley Wagner (USA) - Beautiful program. She has to figure out how to get those jumps on one foot to really pull up into the medals. I think this event definitely puts her square in the picture in Spokane.
Akiko Suzuki (Japan) - Bingo! Squeaky clean. I'm absolutely sick of this music yet she makes me love it! She could have stood on that ice for ten years and the audience would have kept screaming. Amazing!
Joannie Rochette (Canada) - Scott Hamilton said something that was very telling during her performance..."Timing seems off." I think this program is weird for her and she has never gotten her timing together. If I were her...Canadian Nationals and Olympics...I'd go back to last season's free. It's battle tested and it works. That or completely re work this program. She needs to do something!
Alena Leonova (Russia) - Kind of a learning experience. Bit of shock to find herself in this field of women and in the thick of it. Pressure finally got to her here. Without the jumps the life goes out of this program and it becomes unimpressive. Too bad.
Kim Yu-Na (S. Korea) - Tentative. Easier lutz combo and the two footed triple toe behind the double axel was unusual. Again, this program doesn't blow me away...but then again I expect so much more from her because she is truly far more advanced than the others. Nice to see the flip landed...now how about the loop?
Miki Ando (Japan) - Before she skates I'm thinking she can totally win this on the strength of her jumping ability. She came so close...really needed the triple loop behind the lutz and the triple salchow to be cleaner. But she did a nice job of at least keeping it close. Both Miki Ando and Rachael Flatt have given hope to the rest of the ladies field!