Keiji Tanaka of Japan started off the competition, skating to Afro Freak. He had a clean skate, landing a triple Flutz/triple toe, and triple flip, but only completed a double Axel. Keiji has great camel position and all of his spins have nice centering. His choreography is strong, but I don't feel like his interpretation is up to par. All-in-all, though, I enjoyed him.
His teammate Ryuju Hino skated next, to Tataku by Kodo. All of his jumps had a fight to them, but he managed a triple Axel, triple Lutz-triple toe combination, and triple flip that might have taken off on the outside edge. There was something about his basics that made it appear to me like he was checking his balance often through the program, and he spent much of the time looking down at the ice. I would have had Tanaka a bit ahead on the components score, but Hino had the triple Axel.
Boyang Jin skated to the ever-catchy Chambermaid Swing and I am amazed at his jumping power with how tiny he appears. He landed a triple Axel and triple flip, but only managed a triple Lutz-single toe for the combination and that warrants a -3 GOE for having less than required revolutions. He had great positions and speed through his spins until he attempted the camels, which were clearly weaker than the other positions. He has decent presentation for having recently turned 15, but his basics lacked in comparison with all of the other skaters in this field.
My big problem all year with Jason Brown's program is that I don't understand his loose-fitting costume and frills. It distracts from his great lines in my opinion. Anyways, he landed the triple Axel but he had to put his free-foot down right away. It's a start. He also managed a triple (f?)Lutz-triple toe but only did a double flip out of footwork with a step-out. His spins were great and he had nice transitions into them, but some of the rotations just barely got around to be able to count. I know he got into trouble with that in his first Junior Grand Prix, so I'm surprised he doesn't hold them longer.
Maksim Kovtun skated to Lawrence of Arabia and I didn't feel much interpretation throughout the program. He was able to land a triple Lutz-triple toe, triple Axel out of a very short entry, and a triple flip with a turn-out. I don't know why I have the same feeling about most of the Russian men, but to me it seems like they go out there with too much of an 'all-business' attitude rather than really settling into the program and selling it.
Josh Farris stepped out of his opening triple Axel but came back with a triple Lutz-triple toe and triple flip out of a nice set of footwork. He has nice carriage and line and his spins were strong. Definitely the class of the field here, even with the step-out. He has a two point lead over Kovtun but I would have had a little more of a separation.
After the short program:
1 Farris 74.53
2 Kovtun 72.53
3 Brown 69.43
4 Hino 67.55
5 Tanaka 61.74
6 Jin 60.73