I know how upset the world was not to have my terrible predictions for Cup of China. I'm sure I would have gotten those all wrong too...heh...but never fear! I am BACK and I am going to preview this weekend's Trophee Eric Bompard, the next competition in the Grand Prix.
Why to Watch:
Former World Champion Brian Joubert of France. He lost a recent competition to countryman Alban Preaubert, and has been blaming blade problems (and some good old-fashioned neuroses) ever since. Can Joubert pull it together? Will Preaubert once again prove a spoiler?
Keep an Eye Out For:
Skate America and Skate Canada Champions Japan's Takihiko Kozuka and Canada's Patrick Chan, respectively. Both seem to be darlings of the judges this season so it will be interesting to see what happens in this competition.
Explainer: This one is so hard. I am obviously banking on Joubert straightening his issues out. And landing a bunch of quads. I actually think that the judges will like Chan better than Kozuka, but that maybe he'll make more mistakes. But neither have been clean thus far, so look out for Preaubert or U.S.'s Ryan Bradley to sneak in if they have an opportunity.
Why to Watch:
First chance to see World Champion Mao Asada from Japan compete in this season's Grand Prix.
Keep an Eye On:
Joannie Rochette, reigning Skate Canada champion, to see how she rebounds from that impressive victory. Also, America's Caroline Zhang was rumored to be battling an ankle injury at Skate Canada. Is it better and will she show any spark at this competition?
Explainer: I am only picking Zhang for lack of a better option, although I was thisclose to picking Georgia's Elene Gedenvanishvili, because I was so underwhelmed with Zhang's last competition. If she rebounds here though, that will be a great thing to build off of for the rest of her season.
Why to Watch: Two pairs teams (including the U.S.'s Tiffany Vise and Derek Trent) made history with throw quads here last year. What's going to happen this year?
Keep an Eye Out For: Vanessa James (former British National Champion) and Yannick Bonheur, former French National pairs champion. He needed a new partner after Marilyn Pla quit, and this is their first Grand Prix together.
1) Savchenko and Skolkowy
2) Mukhortova and Trankov
3) Duhamel and Buntin
Explainer: I know that Mukhortova and Trankov completely imploded at Skate America, but I'm going with them anyway. Second time's the charm?
Ice Dancing Competition:
Why to Watch: Our first Grand Prix look at Italian couple Faiella and Scali. Many expect them to make the finals; let's see how they stack up against the world champions.
Keep an Eye Out For: Kerr and Kerr of Great Britain looked great in the Skate America Original Dance, but not in the Free Dance. Have they fixed it for this competition?
1) Delobel and Schoenfelder
2) Faiella and Scali
3) Kerr and Kerr