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Short Program Thoughts

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I watched the short programs (but still haven't gotten to see pairs) and here are some of the major thoughts that stood out for me:

Men

Javier Fernandez really deserves the lead.  His "I love Paris" program was great and he played to the crowd and did some fun and interesting choreography and footwork throughout.  Also, he landed his quad toe loop cleanly.  It was a great performance and definitely worth a watch.

I thought Daisuke Takahashi looked really solid, but his short program was the least engaging program I've even seen from him.  He seemed in his own world, which I'm sure he was aiming for but is not characteristic. I can see what he is trying to do and I think it's a very difficult program, but it's not going to be one of my faves from him.  That said, he is nearly tied with Fernandez for first place, despite his lack of quad.

Also, why can't Patrick Chan just one year come up with two new programs?  Does he really think there is more to wring out from Take Five?  He set records with it last season...I didn't love it then and I am starting to not even like it now.  Chan is in third place after putting a hand down on his quadruple toe loop.  But he is only about a point out of first place. 

Adam Rippon just doesn't seem to have any luck these days.  I find it hard to see how a skater as beautiful as he is hasn't been able to up those program components scores.  So when that is combined with a lack of a quad, a tricky triple axel landing too close to the boards, and an underrotated triple toe, it is really a recipe to knock him out of the competition.  Too bad.

Ladies

Russia's Elizaveta Tuktamisheva blew everyone else out of the water with her rock solid triple lutz/triple toe combination at the top of her program. There was absolutely no question on it, which is so rare with skaters who are not Yu-na Kim.  Her presentation left something to be desired...she was technically proficient with beautiful extension but she skated in her own little world out there.  But she's only 14!  And honestly, the other ladies weren't that much more charismatic.

I thought Ashley Wagner looked lovely and so mature.  But she got the old edge call on her triple lutz and she seemed to run out of steam by the end of the program.  

I am not a huge fan of Rachael Flatt's "East of Eden" program but she is keeping it around for this season and she appeared to perform fine, but her technical base was much lower than Wagner's and Tuktamisheva's, so despite having some of the highest components in the short, she was only in third place.

Akiko Suzuki had a bit of a rough go of it, but ended up in fourth place, still.  She somehow remains interesting despite the technical issues, although she seemed to be going for the tough look at the beginning of the program rather than her usual smiley face.  

I actually really liked Mirai Nagasu's short program to tango music, and was pretty sad that she fell on her triple lutz and didn't tack a combo onto her double axel. I also question why she is doing a triple loop...her base score was even lower than Flatt's.  

Ice Dancing

I still think that the opening of Virtue and Moir's short dance is appalling!  Am I crazy or does anyone else wince during that section?  I think the rest of the dance is great, though.  

Weaver and Poje have put together a very fun short dance.  Of course, it's worlds behind Virtue and Moir in actual technical quality but I enjoyed watching it.  

It was nice to see Cappellini and Lanotte looking good, though their program doesn't keep my attention the way the top two pairs did...maybe there will be a fight for silver.

Sad for Madison Chock and Evan Bates on their (ice dancin-patented) double slip and fall at the end there.  But the whole performance was troublesome to me...Bates's posture was distracting, their form seemed sloppy, and the twizzles were not great.  They are in sixth place.