So the ladies short program...Mao Asada finds herself in a super close race with Ashley Wagner. The two sit one-two respectively and both had solid but just slightly flawed short programs. Mao kind of had some trouble landing her triple axel cleanly while Ashley two footed the triple toe behind a triple flip. Other than their slight technical bobbles, both gave determined and inspired performances. In third, and believe it or not, the only lady out of 30 to skate clean, is Kanako Murakami. She skated after Mao and Ashley and everyone thought for sure she'd be the leader. When the judges put her in third (less than a point behind Mao and Ashley), Twitter blew up. Phil Hersh went on one of his rants...people were calling for the judges to be hanged. It was all a bit much, but I dubbed it #KanakoGate. Caroline Zhang continues her comeback. She had a wee bit of trouble on the second triple loop in her triple-triple combo but did everything else well. She's in 4th and had good crowd support (she is so easy to root for). China's Kexin Zhang snuck in for 5th place edging Agnes Zawadzki who is 6th. You can check the full results here.
The Men closed the evening with their free skates. I tweeted earlier in the night Patrick needed to skate lights out to shut me up about his inflated scores. Well...he skated lights out. Two quads, one with the triple toe, axel was good, all the other trimmings and finishings. The only minor issue was with that weird lutz near the end of his program that is mid ice...its awkwardly placed and rarely works...he needs to move that jump. He didn't fall, he just struggled with landing it...but did so. His score was huge and rightly so...so there you go...Chantasticness at its best. I will say, and I feel very firmly about this, as amazingly perfect as Chan is...there is still something mechanical and methodical about his performances. It is very hard to put a finger on...but I feel often that while his movement is brilliant (and ridiculously difficult), I don't know if he "feels" it. Does he become one with the music or is he just so well trained he knows where to put each edge and step? No matter which it is and I'd love to see that debate play out...when he skates like this ain't nobody beating him...and I can't even argue with that.
Finishing out the top three was Daisuke in 2nd place. Another tweet I sent out that I got some pushback on referred to Daisuke's footwork sequence. I tweeted: "I'm sorry, Chan couldn't "feel" footwork like that if his life depended on it!" One of the things I think Daisuke does excel over Patrick is that "feeling" of music. He just becomes the music and it all happens so organically. He two footed his quad and singled the first triple axel but it was easy breezy from there. Ross Miner snuck in for 3rd ahead of Adam Rippon who place 4th. Both had a couple technical issues but Ross had the advantage of skating last and also had a lead over Adam coming into the free. I compared Ross Miner to Todd Eldredge...saying he was always reliable. Mura and D. Ten had technical issues and finished 5th and 6th. Christopher Caluza and Misha Ge, who skated earlier in the evening...had some pretty stunning performances that were real crowd pleasers.Full Results here.