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Grand Prix Final: A look back

The Grand Prix Final took place so long ago. Let's take a look back at what made us laugh and cry at that fateful event, and see where this leaves us for the rest of the season.

Pairs

The pairs competition ended up being the only true contest, although at least three of the events had the potential to be exciting heading in. The most intriguing part of the pairs was just the fact that Russia's Volosozhar and Trankov had the lead after a great short program. But they were in the lead because Germany's Savchenko and Szolkowy erred. But the Germans had juuuust enough to eak out a win. I find these two pairs to have similar styles technically (big big big! And often fairly clean). Savchenko and Szolkowy's free skate has grown on me, but I do think Volosozhar have a tad more taste. Both teams left everyone else in the dust. In the words of Sinead O'Connor, "Nothing Compares, to you" (S&S and V&T). It's unfortunate because I think there is room for a pair with a bit more of an elegant style to come in and be successful, like a Bazarova and Larianov of Russia. But the problem with that pair is that they are as fragile as they look like they will be, so they can't compete with the powerhouses who are bound to dominate the rest of the season.

Ladies

Well, I must say the biggest impression I got here was that Carolina Kostner is back to her catsuit ways. I don't think the outfit she wore for her free skate fit with her program in any way, but this must be a case of if you've got it, flaunt it. No one was spectacular here, and a wow, were some dismal. I suppose we are going to blame Alissa Czisny's terrible showing to her calf injury, and I would like to hope that that is why she did so poorly. Otherwise it's the old, scary Czisny we are dealing with.

Elizaveta Tuktamisheva of Russia looked like she meant to be in the juniors competition and took a wrong turn. Seriously, was she on a sedative? Maybe she's worn out from the pressure of her first senior season, but any joy and confidence she showed in her earlier competitions this season were gone gone gone. And her clean jumps were gone, too. It says a lot about how people were skating that she came in second in the free skate. And most of what it says is that it was a terrible competition.

Akiko Suzuki was still adorable to behold. Just sooo sloppy in that free skate. What was wrong with everyone? I wonder if any skaters were watching at home and just screaming at the slopfest. But then I remember that no one has really stepped up this season. Maybe Mao Asada will when she returns.

Alena Leonova of Russia snuck onto the podium on the strength of her short program. That's been her strength all season and she might as well milk it straight into worlds. She was much more dynamic than her 14-year-old countrymate.

Men

Well, you know that I think it's a tragedy that Patrick Chan gets higher program components than Daisuke Takahashi. But even if Takahashi had won the free skate over Chan, he would never have made up the gap from the short program. But boy, does it get old to see Chan do so well even though he cannot complete his jumps. I understand why he scores so high in the grades of execution, but it just doesn't make for an exciting competition. Takahashi has to figure out his quad situation. I'm so tired of having to shut my eyes during his first jump every competition. Such a waste! But he obviously knows that he needs it to contend with Chan.

I definitely was happy to Javier Fernandez win a medal. First Grand Prix medal for Spain! And he is adorable. I must also say that I agree with the commenter who said keep an eye on Yuzuru Hanyu, and who compared him with Johnny Weir. He has a beautiful, graceful style, and if he can control his jumps, he could be a force as he matures. I'm enjoying watching him grow up a bit this season.

Jeremy, Jeremy, Jeremy (Abbott). Once again, you have not peaked too soon. We'll see what goes down at Nationals. Nothing really to say about the wasted potential there.

Ice Dancing

Wow. That free dance was very close. Davis and White got a level three on the technical side and you know that they will be freaking out about that and trying to figure out ways to fix it before the world championships, because if they do not keep up with Virtue and Moir's levels then they will not win. I think Moir's fall in the short program was an aberration and the two came back from it with gusto. It is hard to compare though. Davis and White won a tiny bit in the free dance on components, which I think is appropriate; I would have them even a little bit higher. But Virtue and Moir's free dance is so lovely as well. It's going to be a competitive worlds, I think. Unpredictable as well.

Don't really have too much of a comment on the rest. Sometimes the Shibutanis just look so young! Their program components gap was much to wide to overcome here and maybe sends a message to them...they'll have to try to up the maturity next season. I find Pechalat and Bourzat's taste to be a bit questionable (guess last season was the outlier, since I loved their programs). But I can see why they are being given the third place slot this year.