My DVR joined us mid-Carolina Kostner, so I'll start with the next woman who skates.
Mao Asada (Japan, music: Waltz Masquerade): Joyce points out that Asada has lost four straight international competitions to Yu-na so "she's got to do something to keep this rivalry going." She does her triple axel/double toe. I can never truly tell if these are underrotated by Tara Lipinski (who is commentating with Andrea Joyce) thinks it might be. It actually was downgraded, so I guess she was right. Triple flip is great. Nice layback, not the most speed but pretty good. She is finally emoting a bit at this point. Lipinski thinks the only thing missing is a bit of personality and connecting. I agree. I am not sure if I'm mentioned this but I do really like Lipinski's commentary at these competition. Difficutl entry into double axel...odd landing but I think it was clean. Pretty combo sit spins. Nice emotion on this footwork. Lipinski says Yu-na IS the rivalry at this point and Mao is just trying to catch up. It's interesting because it truly was a rivalry until Asada's bad worlds last season (which carried over to the start of this season). Up until then it really did feel that Asada could beat Kim (or at least, I did). Kim pulled away this season, but perhaps not permanently if Asada makes some changes. She's such a beautiful skater. Yay, she looks pretty happy. It's too bad about the downgrade. Score: 68.08. She ends up in 2nd place.
Kiira Korpi (Finland, Music: Caravan): Triple lutz...falls on the first jump so no combo there. Triple loop. Lipinski says she has good technique but she backs away from the jump. She thinks her problems may be more mental. She botches her double axel landing but gets it. Pretty nice spirals, a bit shaky. It's unfortunate she can't skate clean, because when she does, the judges really reward her. I don't fully get the way she moves her arms. Lipinski says the footwork often is super slow because the skaters are trying to get so many points in with changes of direction, etc. Nice final spin. Score: 51.72.
Miki Ando (Japan, Music: Requiem by Mozart): Tara says Ando has to let go. And she has to skate clean. Argh...triple lutz. Not enough speed, she falls and will probably get a downgrade..and there may go her medal hopes. Tara says she doesn't look connected, which is completely true. She has had a moment here and a moment there where she does shine a bit, but not since the Olympics. Joyce is wondering whether it was hard for Ando to find motivation. I would think out of all the skaters, Ando would actually be quite motivated. She missed the podium in Vancouver despite clean skates...so that would be motivation I think. She is clean on the rest of this program. Everything is just fine...not amazing or memorable to me. Score: 55.78.
Laura Lepisto (Finland, Music: Imagined Oceans): My brain is about to explode. Joyce was talking about how bad Korpi did in Vancouver, despite the fact that she skated a free skate that brought her from 17th down to 11th, which is a pretty big jump, but Lepisto, on the other hand, showed moxie in Vancouver when her free skate brought her down from 10th to 6th. Riiight. I guess we know who her favorite Finn is! hee. I am not sure why I haven't warmed to Lepisto yet - she has obvious grace but at the same time her movements seem uncomfortable to me at times. I really cannot articulate it. But I really only have trouble with her beginning choreography in the short program, and then I can get into it more. It's less posey and more just pretty skating. Beautiful triple/triple, though! Triple loop, great. Lipinski loves the style of the skating, her posture, that she's very lyrical. Good speed on these spins and nice positions. ARGH she falls out of the double axel landing. Spirals are not fabulous. Score: 64.30. That is a good score for her, despite the double axel landing.
Elene Gedevanishvili (Georgia, Music: Fever): Falls on the triple lutz. Wow, she goes for the triple toe/triple toe, but now sure if it's fully rotated. Lots of flexibility on the spiral, but not always controlled. Double axel is clean. I think this footwork sequence is cute with the music. She doesn't have the greatest posture and I think this outfit almost emphasizes that, with the style of the back, it makes her look more slouchy (cause I'm a stylist, now). Score: 55.26.
We are in the loft, with Weir, Lipinski, and Carruthers. So weird to see these people doing commentary one second and then being on this couch shooting the breeze the next second.
Carruthers asks Lipinski about Asada's downgrade. Lipinski says it's on and off for her. Weir says that she has double-jointed ankles, and that she can "smudge it a little bit." They are saying she has good takeoff but she does that little thing with her ankle, and they both think sometimes she gets downgraded when it's clean. That's interesting.
Now they are discussing the music and Tarasova. Weir says he thinks the juxtaposition of the piece and Mao's delicate grace...Tarasova loves that equation. Weir says that "while sometimes I think Tarasova does amazing things, I think this is a little bit heavy for Mao." He liked it last year when she skated it as a free program. And he says her long program music is disappointing...very heavy and sad. Lipinski says she likes the start because it shows what a gutsy skater she is.
I'm just going to add my AMEN to everything Weir is saying, although it's what a lot of us have been saying about Tarasova over the past couple of years. I believe there is some sort of Free Mao movement to get her out from under the glum Tarasova influence, heh.
Carruthers asked about the emergence of Ksenia Makarova, who is not on my DVR, but she is definitely moving on up in the skating world. I believe she trains with Weir. Weir says she is a superstar and a queen on ice. He says there is a regal quality and a purpose to every movement. I do see that about her. Weir says he doesn't understand her being behind Carolina Kostner and Laura Lepisto. He says reputation shouldn't be as important as it is in figure skating and that Ksenia was better than those girls today.
They are asking about Nagasu. Tara says it's going to be really telling for her to see if she can sustain the Olympic energy. Weir says he wants her to come on the ice with the same expression she had at the Olympics. He says it's important that she skates clean...to keep herself legitimate. Carruthers wonders if it lit a fire under her, not winning nationals. Weir says yes, and that a lot of people in the building thought she won. He says that Mirai has the ability with the ankles like Asada to hide that cheat.
Carruthers is talking about Flatt being a technician. Lipinski says she is, and she's consistent (DRINK). Weir says she flies like a bullet in the air. Weir says it's the repetition of doing things...that she gets on the ice and does her jumps while the other lady is awaiting her scores. Weir says she's growing as an artist but he wishes she would be able to give a little bit more expression...shoulders back. And Tara says she has a great personality. Weir says that people focus on the fact that she's a smart girl...he says he wants them to be able to say something about her artistry. I totally agree, and I know someone has commented on the blog about that...the commentators can't say, this is an amazing piece of choreography. That's a pretty line. So instead, they say...she's super smart. Which is odd. Weir says she has a unique sense of humor and a unique style.
Carruthers brings up Kim Yu-na. Anyone is beatable but Tara says she's untouchable. Weir says even with mistakes she's much better than the others. Weir thinks she won't make the mistakes everyone else will (It's weird to recap this because we all know that does not happen..).
Tara and Johnny both want to be Bond girls like Yu-na.
Mirai Nagasu (USA, Music: Pirates of the Carribean): I like this program, I think it fits where she is as an artist right now. She is not faking anything. Triple lutz/triple toe, yay. Tara says she might get downgraded (I'm not sure if she did because I didn't see the protocols, but I'm glad she tried this time). Triple flip is clean. Tara says it's so amazing to watch her now. Her spirals start a bit shaky but get controlled and are just so beautiful. They are talking about Mirai's growing pains she has gone through. Perfect double axel. And her spins are just superb. They are fast, her positions are great. Tara says she doesn't think anybody can match her on the spins or the spirals. Footwork is cute but not as difficult as some of the others. I am definitely on the Mirai bandwagon big time, but I am excited to watch her gain some more maturity. She is so adorable and very happy right now. Score: 70.40, she blows her season's best out of the water. Personal best and she ends the day in first place. And she is shocked. haha.
Yu-na Kim (South Korea, Music: 007): I know what's going to happen and I'm scared to watch! I give Kim props for even showing up, I can't imagine how much press she must have had to do after winning the Olympics and this was probably difficult. My tv is a bit messed up. She looks very worried right off the bat, so that's an odd thing to see. Great triple lutz/triple toe. Triple flip - after reading how she screwed this up, I was expecting much worse. It was a weird landing, but not as bad as, say, Laura Lepisto's double axel or something like that. But I guess it got downgraded. But it (or whatever was bothering her) seems to have thrown her off because she misses the beginning of the next spin. Her layback and Biellman are fine. She is back in the program now. Her spiral actually has more extension than usual!!! But then she kind of slips and misses the next position. Double axel is fine. Footwork sequence is ok, she is not really selling it like usual but it's still a great sequence. This actually is not the worst that Kim has ever skated, but I think it's the weirdest. I mean, her Skate America free was much worse...but I think maybe she had a mental lapse because her errors here weren't falls, they were odd things like missing a spin and a spiral. But she does reach down to grab her left foot after the program, and she has been quoted as stating that her foot felt weird. And Joyce is also citing the fact that emotionally, it's been hard for Kim to get back into things since winning the gold, and many articles have reported this. That makes complete sense. Lipinski is wondering if maybe her lace came untied a bit. It doesn't sound like she really has an injury or anything, thankfully. Score: 60.30. She ends up in seventh.
Akiko Suzuki (Japan, Music: Andanlucia, Fire Dance): Triple flip/double toe - falls on the triple flip...so sad. I love Suzuki! She also has an easier program so that's not going to help her, either. Turns out of a triple loop landing...no good! Lipinski says Suzuki has soft knees. Nice spin positions. She messes up her spiral sequence as well...what is going on..? and she can't land the double axel cleanly, either. She received a level four on this footwork at Four Continents. It is very entertaining, but of course it's lost some luster today. That's unfortunate. Score: 48.36, so low.
Rachael Flatt (USA, Music: Sing, Sing, Sing): Love this program. She doubles her triple toe on the combo - surprising. Lipinski says she really needed that triple/triple. Triple lutz is solid. Not great positions on her spins, or spirals. Fine layback. Very cute choreography. And very good double axel. Footwork sequence is so fun. Very fast spins at the end here. Very good job - I'm just so used to seeing her do the triple/triple, so that's weird! Score: 60.88. Not great..I have to look at the protocols to see if she was downgraded or something? I know her components were like three points lower than Nagasu's. She ends up in sixth.
Julia Sebestyen (Hungary, Song from a Secret Garden): Very pink. Triple lutz/double toe. Her lutz is very big but the toe loop is not. Triple flip landing not great and Lipinski thinks it will be downgraded. Double axel is fine. Her spins are not the best that we've seen, nor is her choreography. Score: 56.10.
Alena Leonova (Russia, Music: Barynia): She is so cute. Ugh, falls out of triple flip landing. She just can't get it together. Triple lutz and then she adds a double toe, which is not pretty. Good spins, low sit spin with a lot of spin and interesting position. Glad to see her smiling. She is not the most flexible on her spirals but they have great control. Good entry into double axel making itiral more difficult. Flexible spins. Very cute footwork sequence. Score: 54.36, another bad score. 14th overall, quite a drop from last year's seventh place finish.
Back in the loft!
Everyone is SHOCKED that Kim Yu-na is in seventh place. Lipinski is wondering if it's fatigue.
They are dissecting the point loss:
-Downgrade on triple flip
-she did one revolution that counted as the layback, so she got zero credit for the real layback.
-Spiral sequence botched so she lost points there. Only a level one.
Wow, what an odd bunch of skating. There were all sorts of weird errors, in addition to major errors from some top skaters. I think Nagasu, Asada, and Flatt were the best (of course, I didn't see Makarova), although the judges have a lot more love for Lepisto and Kostner. Oh, well. Let's hope the free skate is better.