Here is my take on the pairs free skate final group as aired on NBC.
Castelli and Shnapir: These two have so much sloppiness about their skating, just legs not really in unison or together or that sort of thing. But their throws are so impressive and gigantic. They had so many jumping difficulties (well, mostly he did), but as Scott Hamilton pointed out, he is essentially a giant at 6.4, so it's very difficult to jump. It's unfortunate. 108.25 for free, 168.81 overall. They end up in fifth place.
Denney and Coughlin: Phenomenal. If I wasn't buying in to this pair before the free skate, I am now. I really admire people who come out and attack programs the way these two did today. They aren't the prettiest or most elegant but everything was amazing (with the sliiiight exception of some out of unison side by side jumps at the beginning). They were rock solid (shades of the old Denney and Barrett!) and had so much energy and fire. Of course they won after that program and they deserved it. They still won't be able to truly compete with the rest of the world just due to content and choreography but that doesn't take anything away from today's glorious showing.
Evora and Ladwig: Sandra Bezic keeps talking about how they don't have that killer instinct and I suppose that's true. Maybe they are just not great competitors. At one point, Bezic just says Evora is just too nice. That's crap. You can be nice and still be a fierce competitor. They keep making little mistakes, on jumps and the throw jump landing. It just takes the wind out of the program. The lifts are so ridiculous though. Ridiculously amazing. This was not a good enough performance, though. Bezic points out that it truly is the superior choreography and more complete program here today, but that doesn't matter if you can't execute. 117.71 for free, 178.98 overall. They end up with bronze.
Marley and Brubaker: Bezic talks at the beginning that you don't know what Marley is going to be like under this pressure which makes it hilarious when Brubaker tanks the opening jump. And THEN Bezic says that that often happens when one partner is concerned about another. UM, he is the one who fell, not her. Maybe he can worry about himself. He almost screws up the second jump, to which Hamilton says maybe he was too aggressive. These two love them some Brubaker! Meanwhile, they really do just start to pick up energy midway through (helped by the music) and it's really a joy to watch. She is solid on the first throw and holds onto the last one..they're so happy. They still need a lot of work on lifts and other fundamentals and that sort of thing, but a very promising start. The judges take a long time probably figuring out whether to place them in second or third, but they win out today and they get the silver medal and a worlds berth. Free skate score: 120.27, 186.07 overall. That's actually quite close to winning the whole thing, wowee!
1) Denney and Coughlin
2) Marley and Brubaker
3) Evora and Ladwig