Nobunari Oda's Chaplin free skate hit all the right notes for me. It didn't feel overdone. He also didn't overestimate himself - he admitted he did not have a quad last week and didn't push it, while most of the jumps he did land were great. The program was a departure from Oda's normal style and I really enjoyed it. Cannot wait to see it again!
Adam Rippon was a breath of fresh air. First of all, his costumes have vastly improved from last season. But more importantly, he was a joy to watch. His short program was absolutely amazing, and that "Rippon" lutz with both hands in the air - my goodness, how does one jump like that!?
Nitpicking: A bit worried about the triple axel attempts in the free skate, as they are a weakness of Rippon's...but his confidence and poise were mesmerizing!
Yu-na Kim: She broke more records with this win, and showed why she will likely be unbeatable this season. Two superbly choreographed programs, both performed like a dream. I liked 007, I ADORED the free skate.
Nitpicking: Everyone is lining up to crown Kim the all-time greatest skater, but I'd really like to see her improve her spirals (I don't care what she scores on them, I'm talking about how they look to me). They were shaky in both programs at TEB (short much more so than free) and spirals are some of my favorite moves in all of skating. I want hers to be as good as the rest of her skating. But like I said, this is nitpicking.
Mukhortova and Trankov: I really liked both of their programs, especially the Love Story free skate. They are such a force when they put it all together. If they skate like this at the Olympics, they could compete for gold. Loved the kiss at the end of the program, winning makes everyone friends!
Inoue and Baldwin: NICE throw triple axel.
Virtue and Moir: One of my favorite experiences of this competition was seeing the original dance with pairs number 4 through 2 skating to American "folk" music, with their cowboy garb and super fun, yet somewhat hokey, programs...and then seeing Virtue and Moir come and out slay me with the Flamenco routine. It was like they were in a different competition. I don't know if anyone else liked it but I sure did.
Nitpicking: I think I read too much of the hype about the Mahler free skate beforehand and was expecting these two to literally rip my soul right out with their "stirring" performance. The lifts? OUT OF THIS WORLD. The rest of the moves? Amazing. But the overall performance....I am not there yet, did not quite feel the connection. But I'm sure I will be more "stirred" the more they perform it.
Brian Joubert: Man cannot live on quads alone. Especially ones that are not landed. Also, as far as choreography in the short program and free skate: No, and No. And can we refrain from the excuse of him saying he is not training enough? Dude, you have only a few years of elite competitive skating left. If you are not training right now, I have no sympathy, nor do I have time to listen to you anymore.
That was way harsh, Tai. Where is the silver lining? He's a great skater, and he can be very dynamic. If he decides to concentrate a bit more on his programs, which don't even score that badly, he will be competitive even without the quad. But I don't know if that appeals to him.
Mao Asada: (Wo)Man cannot live on triple axels alone. Especially ones that...oh, you get the picture.
Silver lining: While I didn't love either of her programs, she's still a great performer. I just think maybe there is a strategy change and some program tweaking in order.
Caroline Zhang: Oh, dear. If possible, Caroline looks even more miserable than she did last year. And somehow she has not added any speed at all. Her programs are fine, but I feel uncomfortable watching her when she looks so unhappy. I know she has been dealing with injuries for the past few years, but I wonder if that is behind it? She says she wants to add some speed before her next event. I hope she can. And I'm not touching the jump technique.
Silver Lining: She has my favorite spiral in skating right now (and if you read above you know how important that is to me!) and some great spins...she is a lovely skater. Just needs a few more pieces to the puzzle.
Savchenko and Szolkowy: Wow, what a loss of focus. I can't believe they imploded like that in the free skate. At first I thought that she might have been hurt but it really seems to be all mental. Let's hope this doesn't happen again.
Silver Lining: They are ridiculously good when they are on. And I liked the style and subtletyof the short (costumes notwithstanding). I really need to see the long program performed again, because this was obviously not a good one to judge...
Dube and Davison: Liked their free skate a lot...but lots of Sale and Pelletier dejavu...with the colors of the costumes and the 70s sappy movie love song. Hilarious that as I'm having these thoughts, who comes out next but Mukhortova and Trankov, actually skating to Love Story a la Sale and Pelletier.
Yukari Nakano: I was so distracted by her sleeves during her Phantom short program that I barely watched the skating. Chop them off! Balanced out by the fact that I did kind of like both of her programs.
Canac and Coia: Their free skate was a bit of a snooze...
Tomas Verner: Zorba short program was very fun but The Godfather free skate could have been so much better!
Inoue and Baldwin: aside from the throw triple axel, I did not find anything else they did interesting.
Carolina Kostner: What is going ON?
...and the Ugly
Savchenko and Szolkowy: My eyes! Why did they do this to me? Also, I still have a headache from the anvil they dropped on me during the short program with clown costumes.
Laura, How Terrible Were Your Predictions?
Funny you should ask! I didn't do nearly as terribly as I normally do, thankyouverymuch. I got 50 percent of my picks correct, including the entire (albeit extremely predictable) ice dancing category. I correctly chose the top two slots in the mens, the top slot and another medalist in ladies, and the three medalists in pairs.