I have watched all of the senior Grand Prix Final, and now I finally have some things to add to my Christmas list. I am under the gun here so I reserve the right to add things to this list as they come to me.
All I want for Christmas is....
Some competition in Pairs and Ice Dancing
In ice dancing, I don't see where it will come from. Virtue and Moir are out for the forseeable future with her shin injury, and Pechalat and Bourzat, while much-improved, do not hold a candle to America's Meryl Davis and Charlie White. I love the idea that Davis and White may be the favorites for gold at the world championships this season, but this has been a very boring ice dancing season for me. I don't get that jazzed seeing so many teams vie for bronze. Nope. Also, the short dances still stink. I just feel the need to throw that in.
In pairs, Pang and Tong need to snap out of it! They are just not skating strong overall, even if you take away the mistakes that they made in the free skate at GPF, there is something missing. They better watch it or they'll be lapped by Kavaguti and Smirnov. And the worst part is that I still don't feel like I have seen Savchenko and Szolkowy do the best they can in that free skate, but they are worlds ahead of anyone else out there right now. I will also admit that Sui and Han definitely deserved to win the bronze here, but in theory, they should not be winning medals at this level yet. They are completely unpolished and should be more of a novelty to watch and wonder at...the Russian pairs are so much more refined and skate so much more as pairs. I still find it shocking that Sui and Han's components come so close to that of some of the other pairs. But Bazarova and Larionov have some definite free skate troubles and Iliushechkina and Maisuradze give too much away. So, here we are.
Akiko Suzuki to get higher program components scores than Kanako Murakami
The fact that these two are getting the same components is utterly inexplicable to me. And I know it was Suzuki's underrotation and edge calls that truly kept her down in this competition, but her presentation and performance trumps Murakami's by a few points, in my opinion.
Someone to explain to me Patrick Chan's program components
Even when I think Chan deserves the gold (and he definitely did here), I still have a problem with his scores. I feel like every time he performs his Phantom of the Opera free skate, he has a little less emotion. It seemed evident to me here that he was only worried about the jumps. I didn't get what was giving Tracy Wilson palpitations. And yet his program components were so high. Imagine if he actually skates a truly clean program? It was quite interesting here that he still had some really atrocious jumping but he landed that quad and didn't fall at all, so let the coronation as GREATEST SKATER OF ALL TIME begin. Oh, well. Unfortunately, the others were literally falling over each other to give Chan the gold, so we have no idea how his program would have measured up amongst any mere mortal skater who had skated a clean program with a quad and a little bit of feeling.
For Daisuke Takahashi to never do THAT again
Yes, the second part of Takahashi's free skate was an utter disaster as far as the jumps were concerned. But what was worse was how winded he seemed and the fact that, for the first time that I can remember, he completely lost touch with the program. He didn't have his normal pizazz and showmanship and it was sad to watch. He is so much better than that. I think, on a normal day, his components should trump Chan's...but not if he gives the competition away like that.
For Alissa Czisny to skate that way in every competition
My ice-cold critical heart grew three sizes when Alissa Czisny finished that free skate. And she only came in third place in the free... but she is the best. I know she'll never have the most impressive technical content, but she really is a ballerina in a completely different league. These other women don't deserve to share the ice with her. And some of the judges should have their credentials revoked for the grades of execution they gave her. I can't understand giving her spirals anything less than a 2 or 3, and most of her spins as well. I hope she really has hit a turning point this season...perhaps the coaching change or the lack of Olympic pressure are working for her.
To continue to like Carolina Kostner
I mean, she's obviously probably going to medal at worlds, right? So it's a good thing that I found a lot of beautiful moments in her free skate. Still hate the short, and I still hate that she doesn't do the hard jumps. But she DID have a triple/triple combo, and that is impressive in a season where there is a dearth of them.
To be more invested in Davis and White's free dance
Charlie White's girlfriend tells me how well Davis and White portray their characters in this tango. I don't know...something about it is not working for me. I don't buy it when they are pretending to be super passionate at the beginning (whereas in the past I always have!)..and then towards the end I can't tell what emotion they are trying to sell at all. It is so difficult a performance and quite a different approach for them in the free...I'm glad they tried it and perhaps it is an artistic leap from playing Christine and the Phantom or Samson and Delilah...but that doesn't mean my thick skull likes it better. SAD! Also, this is obviously nitpicking...I would rather watch these two do a tango than any other pair out there right now do anything else.
For Nobunari Oda's gutsiness to translate into some gold medals
I mean, this guy is going for it in a season when other people are playing it safe. He is throwing in combinations, he is trying the quad, he is putting it all into his free skates. One day, I just want it to work out for the poor guy! But he has to skate with smarts as well as guts..and when he is getting components so much lower than Chan's...he really needs to not fall (twice).
For more free skates like the ladies one here
At NHK, I thought this year would prove very depressing for the ladies. Well, they had the most competitive event here, and those free skates were pretty great overall. I would never have predicted this at the beginning of the season.