I feel like the energy at Skate America bumped up a notch tonight!
First the pairs, where Denney and Coughlin were first up and they smoked it! The much ballyhooed team delivered with a gorgeous skate. They currently sit second. Stealing the night was Dan and Hao Zhang...making a comeback from a season off for injury. In a rare turn of events, they skated a beautiful artistic program, to snag the lead and hang onto it for the night. Placing 3rd, but actually tying Denney and Coughlin in points, was Bazarova and Larionov. Classic Russian skating, but quite boring this time, and they had a fall on side-by-side triple toes that didn't help (trying to figure out how they got the same points as Caydee and John?). The big story is Savchenko and Szolkowy placing 5th. Hard fall on a throw triple axel (I like that they are getting after it but given Zhang and Zhang's skate seemed overly risky) and from that point out they seemed out of sorts. Not great choreography either. The other big news...Rockne now has short hair and looks like he's 17. He and Mary Beth had a cute program and are currently in 6th.
The top U.S. ladies did well tonight. Alissa claimed the top spot after a gorgeous program to La Vie en Rose. She had the crowd in her palm as she gracefully skimmed the ice. Looks like, for now, that form from last season is holding together nicely. In 3rd place is Caroline Zhang who was positively beaming tonight. She was smiling and had big crowd support (all the SoCal skaters have). One little booboo on the double axel but an otherwise solid skate. Between the two of them is Carolina Kostner. I loved her music choice...didn't seem like she was fighting her skating style but rather complementing it. She still hasn't added back the big jumps but most of what she did she did well, and of course she has brilliant speed. Just in 4th, Haruka Imai made a lovely impression with a beautiful skate and looks to be a factor in the free skate. Ksenia Makarova totally tanked, literally when she smacked the ice on her combo attempt. Elene Gedevanishvili also had a rough skate.
Full results here.