Pechalat/Bourzat debuted a nice short dance beginning and ending with the Can Can. I thought they looked sharp and really confident for the first time out. Their score here shows that they can be right up there with the Americans and Canadians.
Weaver/Poje.. hmm. Something about this program just points out their weaknesses. They have never been at the same level as many other top teams in twizzles, and I feel like they were really rough with their edges today. Her posture sometimes looks more like she's being dragged along by Andrew than holding her own, if that makes sense. I think their score was a gift.
Bobrova/Soloviev continue to impress me. Their levels were not high during their Yankee Polka sequence and they need to work on it, but I'd still have this easily ahead of the Canadians. Such a secureness and I think they really believe in themselves this season.
By the way, coming up at Cup of Russia, Ruslan Zhiganshin, who is competing here, will face off against his sister Nelli Zhiganshina.
Julia Lipnitskaia won the short. The Lutz in combination had nearly a full turn on the ice before it got into the air. It should technically be downgraded. The flip also has heavy pre-rotation. You get a picky technical panel, and I'm not quite sure they will let it slide. That aside, I thought the program was alright but it didn't blow me away. Components were rightfully not 7's yet, and I'd probably have them slightly lower.
Mao Asada looks solid and happy this year. I'm glad the triple Axel attempts are gone and she's focusing on a clean skate. While I've never loved anyone skating to this music, I like her program. I don't quite understand or love the dress.
Mirai Nagasu looks a lot different with the change in make-up. I like it. The jumps look powerful, and I love the choreography with the Ina Bauer into steps and the triple loop. She's been doing that for a few seasons and it has great flow. Awesome spins. The music is one of those 'just there' kinda things, but she has fun with it.
I love Kiira Korpi, I love her dress, and the music. She seems to venture into jazzy music a lot, and I don't think it compares to the more lyrical and soft pieces. Nice program, but I think she's always a bit overscored. You can tell the judges are just waiting for her to really get it together.
Zijun Li made an impressive senior debut and she's half of a point out of third place.
Amelie Lacoste is amazing. Her skating skills are out of this world, and she's so powerful. There's no reason her components shouldn't be the same level or even higher than Korpi. I'd have her 4th or maybe even 3rd, probably. More importantly, she's already delivered two clean short programs this year. With Osmond putting the pressure on, she's going to need to keep it up in the free skate and gain some momentum.
Daisuke Takahashi can take any piece of music and make it work. The quad was very obviously short and on two feet, but the Axel was a beauty and it came late in the program. One minor nit-pick that I have always had with him is that he always seems to curl his landings on the combination jumps rather than having any flow out of them. I wish he'd work on it-- he'd get better GOE there.
Tatsuki Machida is a little over a point out of first and has a ten point cushion ahead of 3rd place. If he can remain in the top 2, he has a solid chance for the Grand Prix Final. I still think his components may be a little high.
I knew what Sergei Voronov's music would be as soon as I saw the outfit. It's very similar to the one that Viachelsav Zagorodniuk wore when he skated to the Russian Sailor Dance. He's in a surprising 3rd place right now, and was able to pull off a quad toe/double toe combo. A lot of movements in this program reminded me of Alexander Abt's version, which gets somewhat forgot as he didn't really have much success in his final few seasons.
Adam Rippon cut all of his hair off, and I think that is a good move. Much like Armin Mahbanoozadeh, sometimes I feel like the judges don't quite mark him up to the level he's at because he looks so young. The hair cut helps. I do not understand why ANYONE uses the Jeff Beck version of Turandot, though, and there have been several in the last few seasons. Worst. Version. Ever.
Brian Joubert was a mess. I like the Genesis music, but everything seems to be the same for him now. He tried to be different for one season, but he was totally uncomfortable and he reverted back to his old style, which unfortunately doesn't hold up with the top men in the world. He's one of the few skaters that takes a big hit on his transition mark (almost a point lower than his skating skills/the rest of them), and I would go even lower. I respect his longevity and his passion, but he just doesn't do it for me anymore. How long has he been working with Annick Dumont?
I was impressed with the attack Pang/Tong had today. Completely different than Skate America where they looked unprepared. I wish throughout all the years they have been around that she would have learned to stretch on the lifts :-)
Kavaguti/Smirnov don't do much for me. We have seen this music on them previously in their Olympic free skate. Even if they aren't my favorites, I think they should have been closer to Pang/Tong. She needs to learn to smile in the kiss and cry rather than pursing her lips all the time to appear moody.
Moore-Towers/Moscovitch have a fun program and she keeps improving her basic skating quality. I like them for their attack and power, and I feel like their programs this season don't really show that off. Watch their Henry V from Skate America last season, for example. Amazing intensity and excitement.
Peng/Zhang were impressive for being a new team. She is much more expressive than Dan Zhang was, and the pairing seems to have drawn the character out in him, as well.