In the group.. Bazarova/Larionov, Zhang/Zhang, Dube/Davison, and Denney/Barrett.. nice triple Salchow from Davison as they return from break. Throw triple Lutz from Denney/Barrett and she steps out. Double Axel from her. Back to commercial.
Cut right into Vera Bazarova and Yuri Larionov from Russia. We first see a split triple twist.. nice height. Throw triple flip.. beautiful landing. Side by side double Axels, she goes down. Nice lines. Here comes shades of Maria Butyrskaya 2002 with this music. Side by side spins kept in unison. She doesn't have much power to her own skating yet, but beautiful positions and in the lifts and all the pair elements. Throw triple loop, she nails it. Nice simple death spiral with a change of hand.. no grabbing the blade there. All of their lifts are great, probably the best in the competition. Spirals match in shape, he has good flexibility. Combo spin to end stays centered. I love their overall look and the polish they already have, but the program for me is a bit weird with the music selections and I don't think it does anything for them or gives them a feeling to skate to.. I'm sure that'll all come in time. I take it their first side by side triple toe loops went well, but they decided to extend the commercial break and not show us.
Score: 59.18/54.08 = 112.26.. Total = 172.04 and into first.
Dan Zhang and Hao Zhang from China.. in 5th place currently.. side by side double Axel/triple toe loop combination.. jumping didn't match but both landed. Side by side triple Salchows.. again off timing but again both landed perfectly clean. Good start. Split triple twist as good as they get. Her posture again in the lifts isn't great. I wish they'd attempt to sell the program, but they always look so focused. They should be past that point by now. Side by side spins were fine until the change foot, and even then they got it back together.. only to lose it at the end again. Inconsistency.. Throw triple loop well done. They need every last technical point if they want to move up.. throw triple Salchow EASY.. really gorgeous. But just no excitement or emotion from them yet, and they just got all the big elements out of the way. This music is one you don't have to be the most artistic to skate to and still feel it.. why can't they? Nice carry lift, he's so strong, and another nice lift towards the end aside from her stretch. Well, they did everything they could technically but for competing in senior competitions since 2002, they should have some kind of improvement in the second marks. They finally show emotion at the end of the program.. the audience response is just a bit louder than average, when a skate like this from a team with the full package would have brought the house down, easily.
Score: 66.82/59.76 = 126.58 Total = 195.78 seasons best for the free skate. That'll be competitive.
Jessica Dube and Bryce Davison from Canada.. The Way We Were.. As much as I don't think their short program does them any good, I actually like this free skate when (note, WHEN) they skate it well. already more choreography literally in the first 10 seconds than the Zhangs just had. Split triple twist, not high but one of their smoother landings. Side by side double Axel/double Axel sequences.. both nicely done and right in unison. I complained about his feet on the lifts in the short so I won't harp on it again here, but he needs to clean it up. Side by side triple Salchows.. she doubled. Side by side spins right in unison and nice positions. Carruthers talks about their death spiral being nice, and they also did a basic one.. I'm in agreement. Throw triple Lutz.. forward but landed just fine, and she had speed out of it. Spiral positions are okay but we've been spoiled with previous teams having really nice stretch. Choreography into throw triple loop.. again she landed it nicely and rode the edge with as much speed as she had coming in. This will score high. Pairs spin shaky before the change direction and then really slow during it, but the choreography and interpretation of the program are 1000 times better than their short program and 1000 times better than the prior teams effort as far as the components go.
Score: 57.63/60.08 = 117.71 Total = 177.07.. into second. The crowd doesn't like it. Components pretty similar to the Zhangs.
Caydee Denney and Jeremy Barrett from the USA.. Scheherezade again. I notice that when they grab each others hands on back crossovers they are always a bit off and grab the arms, but readjust quickly. Split triple twist. Side by side triple toes.. she doubled, he fell. I don't see him ever make mistakes. Throw triple Lutz.. she's going to land it no matter how she's thrown.. and she sells it. Double Axel/double Axel sequence. Nicely done, nice recovery. Side by side spins are close together and in perfect unison. Lifts are good, Carruthers notes she can be more stretched and have a wider split on the lift. Spirals thrown in as somewhat of an afterthought with no relation to the music. Throw triple loop and well done. They keep speed throughout the program.. her basics can improve for sure but they aren't distracting. Not bad.. he hits his head for missing the triple toe. Will almost certainly go into third behind the Chinese and Canadians.
Scores: 59.19/53.76 -1.00 = 111.95 Total= 172.47. Personal best free skate score and event score. Just ahead of the Russians, into third.