Friday, December 31, 2010

Countdown to US Figure Skating Championships: 22 Days!

Madison Chock & Greg Zuerlein (Arctic FSC)
  • 2008 Junior Grand Prix Final Champions
  • 2009 US Junior National Champions
  • 2009 Junior World Champions
  • 2010 US Nationals 5th
  • 2010 Four Continents Championships 5th
  • 2010 Skate Canada Bronze Medalists
  • 2010 Trophee Eric Bompard Bronze Medalists

Madison & Greg had a great Grand Prix this season, finishing 3rd in both of their events and 8th overall in the Grand Prix series. With only 2 or 3 of the top teams in the world skipping the Grand Prix this season, this puts Madison & Greg in a great position to place in the top 10 at worlds. Of course they will have to qualify for their first senior worlds, but barring any major disasters, they should easily make the podium. With Davis & White untouchable in the US, the real battle should be for silver between this team and Maia & Alex Shibutani. Interestingly enough, all three teams are coached by Marina Zoueva & Igor Shpilband. They train together everyday so they know what to expect from one another and they push each other to be better. I am torn because I love the Shibutanis' short dance to the Carousel Waltz, but I love Chock & Zuerlein's free dance to Cabaret. Based on Grand Prix scores, the Shibutanis have about a 4-point edge over Chock & Zuerlein, but those extra 2 months of training between the Grand Prix and Nationals can do wonders for most teams. I find the Shibutanis to be stronger technically while I enjoy watching Chock & Zuerlein more as performers. Either way I love them both and have no reason to believe they won't win silver and bronze at nationals right behind Davis & White and make a great showing at their first senior Worlds. This is certain to be a battle royale in Greensboro and the senior free dance is the event I am most looking forward to at the 2011 US Nationals. 

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Countdown to US Figure Skating Championships: 23 Days!

Brandon Mroz (Broadmoor SC)

  • 2006-07 Junior Grand Prix Final Silver Medalist
  • 2007-08 US Junior Silver Medalist
  • 2009 US Silver Medalist
  • 2010 US Nationals 6th
  • 2010 Cup of China Silver Medalist
  • 2010 Trophee Eric Bompard Silver Medalist

Though Brandon stood on the podium at the 2009 Senior Nationals between Jeremy Abbott and Evan Lysacek, I still consider him among the "next generation" of US male figure skaters along with Adam Rippon, etc. At only 20 years old, he is still a baby in terms of internationally successful male figure skaters. With Lysacek and Weir sitting this season out, the 2011 Nationals will be a great opportunity for the younger skaters, like Brandon, to move up and make the world team. Based on his Grand Prix scores, Brandon should have no trouble finishing in the top 6 or 7 at worlds, though he must make the world team before he can compete there. I still think the mens podium will be Abbott, Rippon, and Mroz, not necessarily in that order, but Armin Mahbanoozadeh or returning veteran Ryan Bradley could easily throw a wrench into that plan. Brandon's highest total score this season was a 216.80 at Cup of China which puts him about 2 points below Jeremy Abbott and about 17 below Adam Rippon. However, Mroz has arguably been the most consistent of the three as Rippon had somewhat of a meltdown at Skate America and Abbott struggled to put together two clean programs at either of his events. Mroz has also shown that he can do the quad which Rippon has yet to show us in competition and Abbott has not done consistently. He has come into his own this season in terms of presentation with his debonair Bernstein free skate, but look for that quad to be a major factor that just may catapult Brandon Mroz to the top this year at Nationals.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Countdown to US Figure Skating Championships: 25 Days!

Amanda Evora & Mark Ladwig (Southwest Florida FSC)

  • 2009 US Nationals 4th
  • 2010 US Silver Medalists
  • 2010 Olympics 10th
  • 2010 World Championships 9th
  • 2010 Cup of Russia Bronze Medalists

Amanda and Mark were the surprise of the 2010 Nationals as nobody expected them to make the Olympic team. They are beginning to build a strong reputation for themselves, but I am concerned that at this point they are too old to ever make a big splash internationally. However, they still have a shot at racking up a few more US National medals and they have a legitimate shot of winning this season. Like the other top US pair teams, they struggle with consistency, but if all of our top teams skate clean, I think Amanda & Mark will come out on top based on their program components and the beauty of their programs. 

Monday, December 27, 2010

Countdown to US Figure Skating Championships: 24 Days!

Alissa Czisny (Detroit SC)

  • 2005 US Collegiate Champion
  • 2005 Skate Canada Champion
  • 2009 US Collegiate Champion
  • 2009 US National Champion
  • 2010 Skate Canada Champion
  • 2010 Grand Prix Final Champion

Alissa is an incredibly talented skater, but like the other US Ladies' skaters of this generation, she struggles with consistency in her jumps. Her spins are among the best in the world and she is one of the most graceful and elegant skaters competing today. Though she never received the same international recognition, she reminds me so much of Sasha Cohen in that she has moments of such brilliance in her skating that are often eclipsed by mistakes in her jumps. I've always doubted that Alissa could come up big in a clutch situation, but she proved me wrong this season, winning the Grand Prix Final. Not only did she win, but she beat a very strong field of talented skaters who put up solid programs. This event was the first time I have ever remembered Alissa putting together 2 clean programs in the same competition and it was such a treat to see her at her best. If she can put together two clean programs at Nationals, she may regain her National Title, but more importantly she will be all but guaranteed a spot at the World Championships. Since the US only has slots to send 2 ladies to Worlds, it will be crucial for these skaters to put together clean programs and try to place in the top two, though there is a chance the USFSA may elect to send another skater to the World Championships even if they do not place among the top two. Alissa has done well internationally this season and may be sent to Worlds regardless of her placement at nationals, but it is in her best interest to do well at nationals to build on her confidence going into Worlds and to prove that her Grand Prix Final win was not a fluke. Though other skaters may most likely top Alissa on the technical mark, look for her to outscore the rest of the ladies field at Nationals on program components, the old artistic mark. I would say that her biggest competition will come from Rachael Flatt or Mirai Nagasu, but in the case, Alissa's biggest competition is herself and if she can stay out of her own way, she can really shine in Greensboro in January. 

Countdown to US Figure Skating Championships: 26 Days!

Maia & Alex Shibutani (Arctic FSC)

  • 2007 US Novice Champions
  • 2009 US Junior Silver Medalists
  • 2009 Junior World Silver Medalists
  • 2010 US Junior Champions
  • 2010 NHK Trophy Bronze Medalists
  • 2010 Skate America Bronze Medalists

The Shibutanis made their senior Grand Prix debut this season and came in with a bang! They became the first dance team ever to medal in both events of their senior debut season. They will enter their first senior US Nationals coming off of a win on the Junior level. Not only do they have good momentum, but based on their scores this season they are favorites for the podium. They won't catch Davis & White but their Grand Prix scores were slightly higher than those of the next best American team, Madison Chock & Greg Zuerlein, making them favorites for silver at Nationals. Interestingly enough, all three of these top American teams are coached by Marina Zoueva & Igor Shpilband. This may be the first time in history that all three teams on the podium work under the same coaches, that is if no major upsets occur. 

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Countdown to US Figure Skating Championships: 27 Days!

Jeremy Abbott (Detroit SC)

  • 2005 Junior National Champion
  • 2008 Grand Prix Final Champion
  • 2009 US National Champion
  • 2010 US National Champion
  • 2010 Olympics 9th
  • 2010 World Championships 5th

Jeremy is the reigning US National Champion and therefore has an edge going into this year's championships. He has all the talent of the World's top men but struggles with his confidence. He was disappointed with his placements at the Olympics and Worlds last season and he is hungering to improve this season. He had some boot issues that caused him some problems on the Grand Prix this season and left him just out of the Final. Jeremy is the only man left from last year's crop of top contenders with Weir and Lysacek not competing at Nationals. If Jeremy skates clean, he should win, but youngsters Adam Rippon and Brandon Mroz will be in the hunt. Luckily, the US has slots to send three men to the World Championships, so barring any major disasters, Jeremy should get a chance to prove himself against Chan, Takahashi, and the rest of the World's best in March.  

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Countdown to US Figure Skating Championships: 28 Days!

Mirai Nagasu (Pasadena FSC)

  • 2007 Junior National Champion
  • 2007 Junior World Silver Medalist
  • 2008 US Champion
  • 2008 Junior World Bronze Medalist
  • 2010 US Silver Medalist
  • 2010 Olympics 4th
  • 2010 World Championships 7th

Mirai is one of the most talented skaters the US has ever produced and many feel that she may fill the void in US Ladies skating left by Michelle Kwan. At 17 she is still young and I suspect she will stand on the World podium in the next few years, but she struggles tremendously with consistency. She has all of the goods and if she performs to the best of her abilities, she can compete among the world's best as she showed last season by finishing 4th at the Olympics and winning the short program at Worlds. She struggles specifically with the mental aspect of the sport and when she does well in the short program she places too much pressure on herself and often makes mistakes in her free skate. We saw those types of meltdowns at the 2010 World Championships and at this season's Cup of China. Mirai trains under Frank Carroll, who also coached Michelle Kwan. He has his work cut out with this one and her confidence issues but if she can overcome them, she could regain her US national title here and stand on the World podium this season.  

Countdown to US Figure Skating Championships: 29 Days!

Caydee Denney & Jeremy Barrett (Panthers FSC)

  • 2009 US Silver Medalists
  • 2010 US National Champions
  • 2010 Olympics 13th
  • 2010 World Championships 7th
  • 2010 NHK Trophy 5th
  • 2010 Skate America 4th

Unfortunately the US has not had a strong pairs team that has done well internationally since Kyoko Ina & John Zimmerman. Denney and Barrett definitely have the talent to move up internationally this season but they struggle with consistency. They have improved their performance quality immensely this season and if they can manage to land all of their elements that may find themselves in the top 5 in the world. The US has two slots to send pairs to the World Championships and in my opinion, only 4 teams have a legitimate shot at that getting those spots. Denney & Barrett are the reigning US champions but Evora & Ladwig made a stronger showing on the Grand Prix this season winning bronze at Cup of Russia. The strongest US team this grand prix, however, was Yankowskas & Coughlin who scored enough points to be the second alternate to the Grand Prix Final. Castelli & Schnapir are a young team and a long-shot, but they have an incredible free program if they can skate it clean, and in an inconsistent field, that may be the ticket. I think that the key to winning the senior pairs event will be skating clean regardless of difficulty or beauty. Whichever team can stay on their feet for both programs, or have the least falls, will most likely win the title and go into Worlds as the top American team. 

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Countdown to US Figure Skating Championships: Senior Practice Groups

The following are the scheduled practice groups for the 2011 US Senior National Figure Skating Championships. The practice schedule is as follows

Championship Dance Practice Group A
Maia Shibutani & Alex Shibutani
Rachel Tibbetts & Collin Brubaker
Alissandra Aronow & Zachary Donohue
Kristen Nardozzi  & Robert Cuthbertson
Championship Dance Practice Group B
Madison Hubbell & Keiffer Hubbell
Isabella Cannuscio & Ian Lorello
Meredith Zuber & Kyle Herring
Alison Carey & Ryan Van Natten
Championship Dance Practice Group C
Meryl Davis  & Charlie White
Lynn Kriengkrairut  & Logan Giulietti-Schmitt
Katherine Pilgrim & Alexander Lorello
Ginna Hoptman  & Pavel Filchenkov
Championship Dance Practice Group D
Madison Chock & Greg Zuerlein
Shannon Wingle & Timothy McKernan
Katharine  Zeigler & Baxter Burban

Championship Ladies Practice Group A
Rachael Flatt
Caroline Zhang
Kristine Musademba
Tatyana Khazova
Samantha Cesario
Danielle Kahle
Championship Ladies Practice Group B
Mirai Nagasu
Amanda Dobbs
Alexe Gilles
Kristiene Gong
Melissa Bulanhagui
Katy Jo West
Championship Ladies Practice Group C
Ashley Wagner
Agnes Zawadzki
Christina Gao
Ellie Kawamura
Kiri Baga
Felicia Zhang
Morgan Bell
Championship Ladies Practice Group D
Alissa Czisny
Yasmin Siraj
Vanessa Lam
Joelle Forte
Kelsey Traunero
Keli Zhou

Championship Men Practice Group A
Jeremy Abbott
Ross Miner
Joshua Farris
Jason Brown
Douglas Razzano
Wesley Campbell
Championship Men Practice Group B
Ryan Bradley
Armin Mahbanoozadeh
Sean Rabbitt
Parker Pennington
Jason Wong
Christopher Caluza
Championship Men Practice Group C
Adam Rippon
Alexander Johnson
Grant Hochstein
Lloyd Ting
Andrew Gonzales
Championship Men Practice Group D
Brandon Mroz
Keegan Messing
Scott Dyer
Richard Dornbush
Jonathan Cassar

Championship Pairs Practice Group A
Caitlin Yankowskas & John Coughlin
Lindsay Davis & Themistocles Leftheris
Gretchen Donlan & Andrew Speroff
Felicia Zhang & Taylor Toth
Championship Pairs Practice Group B
Amanda Evora & Mark Ladwig
Britney Simpson & Nathan Miller
Erika Smith & Nathan Bartholomay
Lisa Moore & Justin Gaumond
Championship Pairs Practice Group C
Caydee Denney & Jeremy Barrett
Mary Beth Marley & Rockne Brubaker
Tiffany Vise & Don Baldwin
Alexa Scimeca & Ivan Dimitrov
Championship Pairs Practice Group D
Marissa Castelli & Simon Shnapir
Molly Aaron & Daniyel Cohen
Chloe Katz & Joseph Lynch
Becky Bereswill & Trevor Young

Countdown to US Figure Skating Championships: 30 Days!

Meryl Davis & Charlie White (Arctic FSC)

  • 2009 US Champions
  • 2009 Four Continents Champions
  • 2009 Grand Prix Final Champions
  • 2010 US Champions
  • 2010 Olympic Silver Medalists
  • 2010 World Silver Medalists
  • 2010 Grand Prix Final Champions

If there is such a thing as a "sure thing" in figure skating these days, it is Meryl Davis & Charlie White. With reigning Olympic and World champions Virtue & Moir missing the Grand Prix this year due to injury, Davis & White soared above the competition. Even when their performances were flawed in earlier Grand Prix events, they were ahead of their challengers by leaps and bounds. They struggled a bit with their programs, particularly their free dance earlier in the season, but they gave a stellar showing of both of their programs at the Grand Prix Final and left with a gold medal. I think Ice Dance will be the only senior event at Nationals this year where there is not a showdown for gold as Davis & White have it locked up barring any major disasters. The real competition will be for silver and bronze between their training partners Maia & Alex Shibutani and Madison Chock & Greg Zuerlein. While I love to see great competition for the gold, it will be good for my nervous system to have one senior event that is not a complete nail-biter and the younger teams are sure to put up a fight to make the podium and qualify for the world team.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Countdown to US Figure Skating Championships: 31 Days!

Adam Rippon (SC of New York)
  • 2007 Junior Grand Prix Final Champion 
  • 2008 US Junior Champion 
  • 2008 Junior World Champion 
  • 2009 Junior World Champion  
  • 2010 Four Continents Champion 

Adam finished an impressive 5th last season on his second trip to the US Senior Nationals where he qualified for the Four Continents Championships and pulled off a surprise win. This win established Adam as a top international senior competitor and when teammates Johnny Weir and Evan Lysacek decided not to compete at the 2010 World Championships, Adam was given the chance to compete and placed a respectable 6th. He began this 2010 Grand Prix Series with a bronze medal at Skate Canada and looked to medal again at Skate America but finished 4th after a rocky free skate. Adam was the 3rd alternate for this season's Grand Prix Final. With Lysacek and Weir retired, at least temporarily, Rippon looks to make a big move this year and land on the 2011 Senior Mens National Podium. His primary competition will come from reigning US champion Jeremy Abbott, but Brandon Mroz and Armin Mahbanoozadeh have also medaled on the Grand Prix this season and will be in the medal hunt. Veteran skater Ryan Bradley is also set to compete and is always a podium threat. Though he did not perform it on the Grand Prix, Adam is rumored to be training a quad under the watchful eyes of coach Brian Orser and he may need it to win. He has solid technical numbers, but the quad would give him a nice boost, and he is also a wonderfully expressive skater with long lines and great flow. Look for his signature move, the Rippon lutz, a triple lutz with both arms overhead, modeled after the one-arm Tano Lutz made famous by 1988 Olympic Champion Brian Boitano.

Julie Andrews, Dolly Parton & More to Receive 2011 GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award 2010/12/22

I'm now looking forward to the 2011 Grammy Awards-two of my idols, Julie Andrews & Dolly Parton, are receiving lifetime achievement awards!

Julie Andrews, Dolly Parton & More to Receive 2011 GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award 2010/12/22

Friday, December 17, 2010

Countdown to US Figure Skating Championships: 36 Days!

Now that the ISU Grand Prix series is over, I can devote my attention to my favorite competition of the year, the US Nationals! Saturday January 22-Sunday January 30, 2011 baby! I have always wanted to see Nationals live and maybe some year I will (Washington, DC or Baltimore please) but for now, I will be live-blogging every minute! In preparation for the event, I will be doing a post each day where I discuss a major contender and how I expect them to factor into the competition.

Rachael Flatt (Broadmoor, SC)

  • 2005 US Novice Champion
  • 2008 World Junior Champion
  • 2010 US Senior National Champion
  • 2010 Olympian
  • 2010 Grand Prix Finalist

The US Nationals has always been a very strong competition for Rachael. Since rising to the senior ranks in the 2006-2007 season, she hasn't placed now lower than 5th and has twice been on the senior world team. She has always been known for her consistency, but in the 2009-2010 season, she began to fall out of favor with international judges. She has always scored higher on her technical elements than program components, but at the 2010 Olympics, Rachael began to see some downgrades on her triple jumps, which hurt her usually strong technical numbers. After graduating from high school in 2010, Rachael deferred from Stanford for a year to focus on skating. A nagging injury this season has left her unable to train to her fullest potential and while she picked up two silver medals on the ISU's Grand Prix this season, she was devastated with her sub-par performance at the Grand Prix Final last week which resulted in a 6th place finish. A disappointment like that would be enough for a lesser athlete to give up, but in Rachael's case, I suspect it will light a fire under her to push herself beyond her limits and deliver a spectacular performance at Nationals. The US has not had a repeat National champion since the reign of Michelle Kwan from 1998 to 2005 and now Rachael has the chance to do that and solidify herself as the top US senior lady. Her biggest competition will be Alissa Czisny, Mirai Nagasu, and Ashley Wagner, all of whom struggle with inconsistency and often meltdown in high pressure situations. Youngsters Christina Gao and Agnes Zawadski, who is one of Rachael's training partners, will also be nipping at her heels as she tries to repeat as National Champion. However the chips fall, drama is certain to ensue! 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Back on the blades | Other Sports | Sports | London Free Press

Defending Olympic and World Ice Dance Champions Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir discuss their return to the ice after Tessa's surgery to alleviate pain in her shins and calves. They will debut at the Winter Dreams on Ice show this Sunday in Canada, performing to John Legend's "Let It Snow."

Back on the blades | Other Sports | Sports | London Free Press

Saturday, December 11, 2010

2010 ISU Grand Prix Final: Pairs Free Skate

1) Kirsten Moore-Towers & Dylan Moscovitch (Canada)
   Music: Les Miserables by Boublil & Schonberg
  • I fell in love with this team and this program when I first saw them at Skate Canada, expect a huge score
  • I love how she does a shoot the duck before the split twist as the contrast makes the twist look higher
  • Triple toe-double axel sequence is solid
  • She holds the landing on the throw triple loop
  • They have phenomenal lifts and this lasso is no exception
  • She goes down on a hand and a knee on the triple salchow, but i don't think it was a fall 
  • The lasso lift where he goes onto one foot is great
  • She holds the second throw landing as well, the triple salchow
  • Spins are good
  • And here is the hilight, the hand to hip lift starting with Dylan in a lunge
  • FS Score: 59.21 (TES) + 52.63 (PCS) -1.00 (DED)= 110.84
  • 58.73 (SP) + 110.84 (FS) = 159.67
2) Lubov Iliushechkina & Nodari Maisuradze (Russia)
   Music: Conquest of Paradise by Vangelis
  • Their speed is great right from the start
  • I like that they start with a triple salchow as opposed to the usual split triple twist
  • The triple toe-double toe sequence is very strong, both are great singles skaters
  • Lubov two-foots the landing on the throw triple flip
  • She has a gorgeous arch in her back in the lasso lift
  • She shows off that arch again in the pair spin
  • Wonderful height and solid landing on the throw triple loop and they get a bonus for placing it past the halfway point
  • I really like their choreography and they have some pretty intricate holds
  •  Fantastic unison on the spins, they have really done a lot of work since their less than stellar showing at Cup of China
  • He struggles a bit to get her up on the hand to hip lift but once she is up, her positions are gorgeous
  • She has a very nice death spiral, but finishes after the music
  • Lubov does her signature fist pump after a strong program
  • Ekaterina Bobrova is supporting them from the stands, looks very happy for them
  • This program has grown on me so much since I first saw it at Skate Canada
  • FS Score: 60.99 (TES) + 56.39 (PCS) = 117.38
  • 60.06 (SP) + 117.38 (FS) = 177.44

3) Wenjing Sui & Cong Han (China)
   Music: City Lights by Charlie Chaplin
  • Nice opening sequence with clean jumps and a good split twist
  • She landed really funny falling on the quad salchow throw, almost in a split position, I hope she didn't hurt her knees, not sure if she fully rotated or not
  • That spiral sequence shows off the amazing flexibility in her back
  •  Her throw triple flip was huge and she landed it perfectly
  • I love that position in that combination spin where she is in the needle
  • I want her to point her feet harder in the lift positions
  • Overall a very good showing for them minus the fall on the throw quad salchow
  • They are so young, could easily be juniors, and they have a very bright future ahead of them
  • FS Score: 63.28 (TES) + 55.27 (PCS) -1.00 = 117.55
  • 61.49 (SP) + 117.55 (FS) = 179.04
4) Vera Bazarova & Yuri Larionov (Russia)
   Music: The Man in the Iron Mask by Nick Glennie-Smith
  • I love the drama and commitment to character in the opening sequence
  • Their speed is wonderful right off the bat
  • Vera stumbles out of the triple toe but doesn't fall which is surprising for how tilted she was in the air
  • Nice clean catch on the split triple twist
  • She eeks out a landing on the throw triple flip
  • Vera falls on the first jump of the double axel-double axel combination and doesn't attempt the second; Yuri falls on the second
  • They have nice interesting exits from their lifts
  • They are much stronger artistically than any team thus far, but those incidents on the combination jump will hurt their technical mark
  • Second throw is a good strong landing
  • Their unison is a bit off on their spins
  • I would like more stretch and pointed toes in the lifts
  • FS Score: 57.40 (TES) + 57.54 (PCS)v-2.00(DED) = 112.94
  • 63.86 (SP) + 112.94 (FS) = 176.80
 5) Qing Pang & Jian Tong (China)
   Music: Liebestraum (Dream of Love) by Liszt
  • Great double axel-double axel sequence and the crowd is loving it
  • This press lift isn't the most attractive position, but its strong nonetheless
  • Good unison on the spins
  • They've struggled with jumps and spin unison  this season, but it seems like they've done a lot of work since winning Cup of China
  • Amazing artistry, no pair has them beat in terms of grace, elegance, and expression
  • I love these new costumes! So gorgeous
  • Strong throw triple salchow
  • Throw triple loop gets huge height, but she puts her hand down
  • With their height and long limbs, the lasso lifts look particularly great
  • The crowd seems to love them and they certainly were gorgeous
  • FS Score: 55.20 (TES) + 66.10 (PCS) = 121.30
  • 68.63 (SP) + 121.30 (FS) = 189.93
 6) Aliona Savchenko & Robin Szolkowy (Germany)
   Music: The Pink Panther by Mancini
  • They open with a huge throw triple flip 
  • Then into a triple toe-triple toe sequence with slight unison problems
  • I hate that extended free leg death spiral position
  • Issues on the spins, Aliona does one  extra leg catch revolution and the unison gets off
  • Her flexibility is crazy on that spiral, similar to a Sasha Cohen
  • Triple twist lacked height
  • Landed double axels but Aliona looked shaky
  • I love that bend leg position in the hand to hip lift
  • I always think this program is over before the footwork starts
  • The leg catch position on th overhead lift is amazing
  • Throw triple salchow doesn't travel far but it is a clean landing 
  • FS Score: 67.48 (TES) + 68.84 (PCS) = 136.32
  • 74.40 (SP) + 136.32 (FS) = 210.72
Final Results:
1) Savchenko/Szolkowy                     210.72
2) Pang/Tong                                     189.31
3) Sui/Han                                          179.04
4) Iliushechkina/Maisuradze              177.44
5) Bazarova/Larionov                        176.80
6) Moore-Towers/Moscovitch              159.67

2010 ISU Grand Prix Final: Free Dance

1) Ekaterina Bobrova & Dmitri Soloviev (Russia)
   Music: Melody of the White Nights by Schwartz 
  • This team is super young, but they made a huge jump this season with silver at Cup of China and gold at Cup of Russia
  • Keep in mind that they beat Faiella and Scali with these programs
  • This program is so gorgeous and romantic and they are very expressive
  • The is a well-composed twizzle sequence but Dmitri stumbles which will cost them if they want to move up
  • I would like them to pick up more speed here
  • I love that front walkover entrance that she does to the lift
  • I love that low spin position where they are almost hugging
  • This program is just so Russian and I just love it
  • I really believe they will be the next great Russian Ice Dance team since Navka & Kostomarov
  • I love the ending where she pulls away but then comes back
  • I couldn't tell if they finished after the music or if they were just having "a moment" there
  • Aside from Dmitri's twizzle error, that was simply beautiful
  • FD Score: 40.84 (TES) + 41.58 (PCS) = 82.42
  • 54.33 (SD) + 82.42 (FD) = 136.75
 2) Vanessa Crone & Paul Poirier (Canada)
   Music: Eleanor Rigby by Lennon & McCartney
  • I have been vocal about not liking this team, but I do love this choreography
  • That opening sequence should be constantly moving, like contact improvisation, but they do it like poses so it looks too choppy
  • They are big fans of the upside down lift
  • They are interesting to watch because they are so similar in height
  • I would like Vanessa to bend her knees a little more
  • Their twizzles seemed a little slow and they got dangerously close together at the end
  • They seem to be picking up speed and gaining momentum toward the end of the program
  • That should put them in first for the time being
  • FD Score: 42.78 (TES) + 42.14 (PCS) = 84.92
  • 54.82 (SD) + 84.92 (FD) = 139.74

3) Kaitlyn Weaver & Andrew Poje (Canada)
   Music: Moulin Rouge Soundtrack
  • Here comes my new favorite team of the season! 
  • I would die to see them win the bronze medal here
  • They need to pick up speed
  • They both have such long limbs that their lines are gorgeous 
  • Kaitlin just uses her arms in such a beautiful way 
  • The two of them are incredibly expressive and seem so well matched
  • I love the way they change their performance quality when the music switches into the Tango de Roxanne
  • That rotational lift at the end with Kaitlyn in the head tap position is really lovely
  • They have such amazing intensity here at the end
  • I loved that program and I would be so happy if they could take the lead right now.
  • FD Score: 39.84 (TES) + 40.99 (PCS) = 80.83
  • 55.51 (SD) + 80.83 (FD) = 136.34
4) Nora Hoffmann & Maxim Zavozin (Hungary)
   Music: Gypsy Witch Soundtrack by Experidance
  • These are new costumes for them and while I think hers is better, his is worse
  • All of this loose fabric has Faiella-Scali costume malfunction written all over it
  • I like the drama at the beginning of this program, but those cackling witches freak me out
  • They remind me of like late 1990s, early 2000s European Ice Dance with the weird music and the fabric 
  • I wish she would hit more distinct positions in her changing-position rotational lift because it just looked a bit muddy
  • Max used to skate for USA and was successful on the Junior level, but its great to see him have success as a Senior, even if he is competing for another country
  • This would be good music for Miki Ando, or Nobunari Oda
  • Did I miss something? They don't look very happy! Was there a fall or a missed element or something? 
  • FD Score: 37.13 (TES) + 38.96 (PCS) = 76.09
  • 55.98 (SD) + 76.09 (FD) = 132.07
5) Nathalie Pechalat & Fabian Bourzat (France)
   Music: Charlie Chaplin Medley
  • I just love how they take the ice in character and never  break that character throughout the piece
  • This choreography is fabuloso in that it is elegant, yet has an air of whimsy about it
  • I feel like I am watching a silent French film, they just create such beautiful images
  • They use every ounce of this music and their performance is so nuanced
  • The ending image is so lovely
  • I don't comment a lot because I wanted to watch their beautiful performance, but everything was top notch from the twizzles and spins to footwork and jumps
  • FD Score: 46.50 (TES) + 49.94 (PCS) = 96.44
  • 65.66 (SD) + 96.44 (FD) = 162.10
 6) Meryl Davis & Charlie White (USA)
   Music: Il Postino by Luis Bacalov & Payadora/Recuerdo by Lisandro Adrover
  • And here come the headliners
  • Those holds at the beginning are so fantastic, so sensual
  • I think Charlie has evolved so much this season from an athlete into an artist 
  • Wow those twizzles are simply divine
  • Its good to seem them make it cleanly through drop where they had the falls at Skate America
  • I like that double camel position in their combination spin
  • She has such strength to hold her body parallel to the ice when he is spinning her by her legs with one arm
  • This is a phenomenal program, the best I've seen them do it this season
  • FD Score: 50.15 (TES) + 52.79 (PCS) = 102.94
  • 68.64 (SD) + 102.94 (FD) = 171.58
Final Results:

1) Davis/White                             171.58
2) Pechalat/Bourzat                     162.10
3) Crone/Poirier                           139.74
4) Bobrova/Soloviev                    136.76
5) Weaver/Poje                            136.34
6) Hoffmann/Zavozin                    132.07

2010 ISU Grand Prix Final: Ladies Free Skate

1) Rachael Flatt (USA)
   Music: Slaughter on Tenth Avenue by Rodgers & Wild
  • I am really pulling for her to skate a nice free and move up after a flawed short
  • She has nothing at all to lose here, so she just needs to go all out
  • Nice double axel-triple toe combination to start out
  • I feel like she is going to bring it
  • That was a tough fall for Rachael on the 3L, cannot remember the last time I saw her fall
  • Nice clean triple flip
  • That right leg was swinging really wide on the 3L entrance
  • The planned triple flip looked doubled, she also eliminated the combination
  • I believe that triple loop was singled
  • She tacked her combination onto that triple salchow
  • Nothing has really looked "right" with her at this competition; Rachael Flatt just doesn't make technical errors 
  • Who is making her smile for photos in the Kiss & Cry when I'm sure she'd rather crawl under the bench
  • FS Score: 36.47 (TES) + 46.91 (PCS) -1.00 (DED) = 82.38
  • 45.19 (SP) + 82.38 (FS) = 127.57

2) Miki Ando (Japan)
   Music: Piano Concerto in A minor by Grieg
  • Miki literally looks scared to death, thats not good
  • Triple lutz-double loop clean, but really high wrap on the leg
  • The Ando jumping machine is back in action with a good triple loop
  • Not a fan of her positions at all, but this camel is actually fairly nice
  • She should not to the front leg catch position because, in my opinion, Sasha Cohen is the standard so don't do it if you can't live up
  • Double axel-double toe is just text book
  • Triple lutz is landed a little low but clean, same with triple salchow and triple toe
  • Double axel-double loop-double loop looked like an endless series of jumps to me
  • Notice how I'm only commenting on jumps? That is because there is nothing else of interest in this program for me
  • She is seriously traveling on that final combination spin
  • Well Ando did what she does well, a clean long packed with technical content
  • Girl just threw it down and that will be the standard for the next four ladies
  • FS Score: 64.64 (TES) + 58.06 (PCS) = 122.70
  • 50.45 (SP) + 122.70 (FS) = 173.15
3) Akiko Suzuki (Japan)
   Music: Fiddler on the Roof by Bock & Harnick
  • Akiko has been my favorite skater of the ladies this season and I'd love to see her win here
  • Opening triple lutz may have been two-footed
  • Double axel, triple toe was clean
  • Nice triple loop
  • I love every moment of her program and her connecting steps are just as interesting as her jumps
  • I was so lost in watching her perform that I forget to comment on the past few jumps, she may have doubled a planned triple back there
  • There is something about her arms on her camel that I just am obsessed with, so powerful and strong
  • This footwork sequence is phenomenal and is such an amazing end to the program
  • This choreography really does Fiddler justice which I really appreciate
  • I think Bock  & Harnick would be proud of her musical interpretation 
  • FS Score: 58.18 (TES) + 57.28 (PCS) = 115.46
  • 58.26 (SP) + 115.46 (FS) = 173.72
 4) Kanako Murakami (Japan)
   Music: The Mask of Zorro by James Horner
  • The costume makes me want to vomit, but the opening triple-triple is great
  • Triple lutz is solid, little jumping bean looks like she is on
  • She is so youthful in her short, but very mature here
  • Completely popped the triple flip, probably a lack of concentration
  • Her layback can use work, but the hair cutter into the Bielmann are strong
  • Triple flip-double toe, cool as a cucumber
  • She reminds me a lot of Mirai Nagasu, like in a big way
  • Triple loop and double axel are both nice and clean
  • Three jump combination and she just keeps going and going and going
  • Nice fast spins to end and she is thrilled with that performance as she should be 
  • FS Score: 59.98 (TES) + 57.14 (PCS) = 117.12
  • 61.47 (SP) + 117.12 (FS) = 178.59
 5) Carolina Kostner (Italy)
   Music: L'Apres-Midi d'un Faun by Debussy
  • Not a Carolina fan, but I'm going to try to be objective
  • Those opening poses fit the piece well, very Nijinski
  • Triple toe and double axels are solid
  • Those long legs look great in spins when she rally stretches out and points her foot
  • I want so badly for the nude mesh on her costume to be closer to her skin tone
  • she seems to have no speed in certain sections
  • She pops a triple loop, but then the triple loop-double toe is clean
  • She looks like she has no energy out there and is really fizzling out in the end
  • I've said it before and I'll say it now, that music is so subtle and nuanced that you need a true performer to make it interesting, and that is not Carolina
  • FS Score: 55.56 (TES) + 60.91 (PCS) = 116.47
  • 62.13 (SP) + 116.47 (FS) = 178.60
 6) Alissa Czisny (USA)
   Music: Selections from Winter & Spring by George Winston
  • Nice triple lutz-double toe
  • And a nice triple flip-double toe
  • Just stay calm girl, land your jumps, and you will win this thing
  • Such a gorgeous "complete packages" that she gives us
  • Triple toe done, 4 jumps yet to go
  • Can you imagine Alissa and Stephane Lambiel doing side-by-side spins?
  • Triple loop clean into a gorgeous spiral
  • Good triple flip and a step out of an otherwise clean double axel
  • Great triple toe and we are done with jumps!
  • Combination spin is exquisite leading into some wonderfully intricate footwork
  • So Alissa Czisny just won the grand prix final with two clean programs! 
  • FS Score: 55.68 (TES) + 61.31 (PCS) = 116.99
  • 63.76 (SP) + 116.99 (FS) = 180.75
 Final Results:
1) Alissa Csisny                 180.75
2) Carolina Kostner           178.60
3) Kanako Murakami         178.59
4) Akiko Suzuki                 173.72
5) Miki Ando                      173.15
6) Rachael Flatt                 127.57

2010 ISU Grand Prix Final: Mens Free Skate

1) Florent Amodio (France)
   Music: Broken/Apologize/Imma Be/Don't Stop Til You Get Enough
  • That opening triple axel was huge and just so strong
  • He looks solid and calm today, I think Florent came to compete....or maybe not
  • In a competition of this level he just cannot pop jumps like that
  • He looks great doing this choreography, but the question all season has been if he stands at center ice and dances too much rather than skating
  • Why isn't he able to land most of his jumps cleanly today? Nerves?
  • This program certainly hasn't been terrible, but I was really hoping to see a clean skate here because this program is just such a joy to watch when he is "on"
  • His spins and footwork are still phenomenal
  • With all this time the judges are taking, I'm assuming they are looking at possible under-rotations and edge calls
  • FS Score: 70.40 (TES) + 69.86 (PCS) = 140.26
  • 61.64 (SP) + 140.26 (FS) = 201.90
2) Tomas Verner (Czech Republic)
   Music: Michael Jackson Medley
  • Here comes another Michael Jackson program
  • He gets some pretty great height on his triple axel
  • I think this program is choreographed and composed better than Florent's because it is more understated and travels more across the ice
  • This audience cannot clap in time with the music and it is driving me nuts
  • The "Smile" section in the middle is gorgeous, just so lyrical, and he doesn't overdo it
  • His jumps are not perfect and a few of them won't get great GOEs, but they are all landed nonetheless
  • He won't win with this program, but it is great to see him here giving a nice performance 
  • FS Score: 74.35 (TES) + 73.92 (PCS) = 148.27
  • 65.37 (SP) + 148.27 (FS) = 213.64
3) Takahiko Kozuka (Japan)
   Music: Piano Concert No. 1 by Liszt
  • Alright here comes the youngster from Japan who had the highest scores of the season
  • There was no flow out of that opening quad, but he landed it
  • Triple Axel was a little better, but landed low to the ice
  • He is showing nerves here that we didn't see earlier this season
  • I can tell that he is really concentrating on his interpretation of his music and he is getting much better at it
  • He looks a little unsure of himself on his jump landings so I would love to see him just have more confidence in himself
  • He seems to be squeaking by on a lot of his landings, which is nothing like what we saw him do at his Grand Prix Events where his technical elements were textbook
  • I like his serpentine step sequence and he seems to be really leaving his heart out there on the ice
  • He should be very proud that he did so well this season by winning to events and putting up two respectable programs here
  • FS Score: 82.25 (TES) + 77.64 (PCS) = 159.89
  • 77.90 (SP) + 159.89 (FS) = 237.79

4) Daisuke Takahashi (Japan)
   Music: Invierno Portento by Piazzolla
  • Dais is all about the costume changes this season and I really like this one
  • He looks in the zone, but we'll see right now
  • That looked like a two-footed triple to me instead of a quad
  • Beautiful triple axel to follow
  • This circular step sequence is just mesmerizing and I love that moment where he holds for just a second in front of the judges
  • He is unmatched by any other man in terms of artistic expression and musical interpretation
  • Wow Dais took a very hard fall there and landed almost on his stomach
  • I love his version of a layback spin
  • Dais is really struggling to put to together good technical content this season 
  • Wow he just took another fall-he had the landing, but simply slipped off the edge
  • I'm not sure what is happening this year, but he does not look like our current World Champion
  • That headless scratch spin to end the program is gorgeous
  • He looks shaken, and I really hope he is not hurt because those falls were hard
  • I just caught the video were Taka basically landed on Dai doing a jump in practice, what a fall
  • FS Score: 58.20 (TES) + 81.00 (PCS) -2.00 (DED) = 137.20
  • 82.57 (SP) + 137.20 (FS) = 219.77

5) Patrick Chan (Canada)
   Music: Phantasia by Andrew Lloyd Webber
  • Yes Patrick, starting off with a clean quad
  • Follow that with a clean triple axel
  • This choreography is simply amazing and he certainly performs it exquisitely
  • As a dancer, this kind of program is my bread and butter because it utilizes every single nuance of the music
  • A step out and hand down on the second triple axel, but not a fall, not a fall
  • Okay Patrick, you are giving away valuable points here by stumbling on your landings
  • I am getting really emotional during those swells in the music because he is doing so well
  • That kick as the music transitions into the Masquerade theme is my favorite moment
  • Congratulations Patrick! Two programs with zero falls!! 
  • FS Score: 86.94 (TES) + 87.22 (PCS) = 174.16
  • 85.59 (SP) + 174.16 (FS) = 259.75

6) Nobunari Oda (Japan)

   Music: Piano Concerto No.1/Piano Concerto No.2 by Grieg
  • Fall on opening quad attempt, not sure if it was rotated or not
  • With that one point deduction, he erases his short program lead over Chan and now must beat him in the Free Skate
  • Perhaps Chan's amazing program has Nobu a little shaken?
  • I really don't think this program suits him at all, doesn't show his strenghts
  • I wish Nobu would do a long program that was more like his short program, which shows what he does well 
  • His jumps are textbook, but his spins are nothing special and his footwork is uninteresting
  • He did something similar to Dai, landed a double axel, but slid off his edge and took a fall
  • A bit if a meltdown for the top Japanese men here
  • FS Score: 79.64 (TES) + 78.64 (PCS) -2.00 (DED) = 156.22
  • 86.59 (SP) + 156.22 (FS) = 242.81
Final Results:

1) Patrick Chan                            259.75
2) Nobunari Oda                          242.81
3) Takahiko Kozuka                     237.79
4) Daisuke Takahashi                  219.77
5) Tomas Verner                          213.64
6) Florent Amodio                        201.90

Friday, December 10, 2010

2010 ISU Grand Prix Final: Ladies Short Program

1) Rachael Flatt (USA)
   Music: Summertime by Gershwin & Happy Feet Blues by Wynton Marsalis
  • Rachael looks cool as a cucumber as usual
  • Her face on those opening notes just completely sets the mood
  • The double jump out of her opening combo looked very wonky, that may be the leg injury
  • Come on Rachael, get it together
  • Triple flip looked doubled, and an awkward fall out
  • She is not going to be happy with this program
  • Double axel is clean, but doesn't get much height
  • I'm not used to seeing Rachael make these mistakes, but I really think it may be the leg injury
  • She still seems committed to the choreography and performance
  • For some reason she seemed very unsettled today, something just seemed "off"
  • Well we know she can come from behind to medal, as per Skate America, and that may indeed still happen here
  • SP Score: 19.88 (TES) + 25.31 (PCS) = 45.19 
 2) Akiko Suzuki (Japan)
   Music: Tango Jalousie by Jacob Gade
  • I am loving Akiko this season, work it out girl! 
  • A strong opening triple flip-double toe to set the tone
  • Triple lutz is rock solid
  • She attacks these musical nuances with such fire, even down to the arms in her camel spin
  • Double axel looks as easy as pie
  • I love Rachael to death, but this program is going to put her to shame
  • She is so committed to this performance
  • SP Score: 30.06 (TES) + 28.20 (PCS) = 58.26
 3) Kanako Murakami (Japan)
   Music: Jumpin Jack
  • Alright here comes the little firecracker!
  • Triple toe-triple toe is stellar and she makes it look like nothing
  • This program suits her so well
  • Triple flip is just so easy
  • I would like to see some improvement on her layback position and a cleaner exit
  • She makes those jumps look like nothing
  • She totally has this crowd in the palm of her hand
  • She couldn't have asked for a better short program here at her first senior Grand Prix Final!
  • I just have to smile watching her
  • Her idol Mao Asada would be proud, or maybe a little threatened?
  • SP Score: 33.04 (TES) + 28.43 (PCS) = 61.47
4) Carolina Kostner (Italy)
   Music: Galicia Flamenco
  • This program does nothing for me and I have no clue why it has been getting big scores all season
  • She has such long limbs, but in my opinion she doesn't know what to do with them, she never finishes any positions
  • The choreography is also bland and uninteresting
  • She is executing well as she has all season, but I will never understand those high PCS marks she gets 
  • SP Score: 31.53 (TES) + 30.60 (PCS) = 62.13
5) Alissa Czisny (USA)
   Music: Romance from Violin Concerto in D, op. 35 by Korngold
  • Alissa looks calm out there
  • I love that when expresses emotion, it is real, and she isn't just pulling her face
  • Triple lutz-double toe is great
  • Triple flip & double axel are clean as well
  • That spiral is so gorgeous
  • You landed all of your jumps! Good girl Alissa!
  • I don't think I was breathing during any of her jumps, but now I can just watch Alissa be her gorgeous self in her spins and footwork
  • A clean short for Alissa is so huge!
  • If it were up to me, nobody would be allowed to do the heel stretch spin other than Alissa, because nobody else does it justice
  • Wow she has to be so happy with herself and her coaches must be breathing a sign of relief
  • SP Score: 33.62 (TES) + 30.14 (PCS) = 63.76
6) Miki Ando (Japan)
   Music: Gabriel's Oboe/The Falls from The Mission soundtrack by Morricone
  •  Wide free leg swinging out of that opening 3lutz-3loop combination, probably a downgrade
  • Oh holy wow Miki Ando just fell on a triple flip
  • Double axel is solid
  • There is absolutely no life to this program and she has no idea how to interpret this gorgeous music
  • I feel bad for her, I wonder who made the decision to go with a new short program for the Final?
  • Wow that is tough for Miki, but as we've seen earlier this season, she can come from 4th or 5th in the short to win overall
  • SP Score: 22.67 (TES) + 28.78 (PCS) -1.00 (DED)= 50.45
Current Leaderboard:
1) Alissa Czisny                     63.76
2) Carolina Kostner               62.13
3) Kanako Murakami             61.47
4) Akiko Suzuki                     58.26
5) Miki Ando                          50.45
6) Rachael Flatt                     45.19

2010 ISU Grand Prix Final: Mens Short Program

1) Florent Amodio (France)
   Music: Once Upon A Time In Mexico by Robert Rodriguez
  • So powerful
  • Looks very calm out there
  • Oooo you can't pop your triple axel like that, not when you are competing with the big boys
  • SP Score: 28.38  (TES) + 33.26 (PCS) = 61.64 
 2) Nobunari Oda (Japan)
   Music: Storm by Yoshida Brothers
  • Gigantic jumps out of Nobu today
  • I think this short program really suits him well and I wish is long were more like it
  • That quad, triple will get a huge number, as well as the triple axel
  • His speed is just insane here today and so exciting to watch
  • Wow, Nobu just woke me up!
  • He looks thrilled with that short and I'm so happy for him, it will certainly get a monster score
  • SP Score: 48.06 (TES) + 38.53 (PCS) = 86.59
 3) Tomas Verner (Czech Republic)
   Music: Singing in the Rain
  • If I were Verner, I would not want to skate after that program Oda just put up
  • Nice opening jump, but you cannot pop your axel like that, the competition is too good
  • I love the choreography and Tomas' performance quality, but nowhere near Oda technically
  • I think I saw a little stumble in the step sequence, he just doesn't look like he is concentrating enough
  • He seems a little slow out there on the ice, but his spins are lovely 
  • It looked like he had himself psyched out from the very beginning, must have been tough to go after the huge score by Nobu
  • His coach just said "tomorrow is another day," which is one of my favorite quotes from Gone With The Wind, my favorite movie
  • SP Score: 28.76 (TES) + 36.61 (PCS) = 65.37
4) Patrick Chan (Canada)
   Music: Take Five by Paul Desmond
  • Patrick can put up a huge score in this short program to challenge Nobu's if he can just keep his head on straight
  • He has so much charisma and that really comes out here, even in the opening moments of choreography
  • Landed that opening quad, not perfect, but landed
  • Its always a toss up to see if good Patrick or bad Patrick will show up
  • Awesome triple axel
  • If he can get through his combination, he should be right up there with Nobu
  • He just really shines in this footwork sequence, he is such a showman!
  • Good job Patrick, that is what I like to see out of you
  • SP Score: 43.77 (TES) + 41.82 (PCS) = 85.59
5) Daisuke Takahashi (Japan)
   Music: Historia de un Amor/Que Rico Mambo/Mambo no. 5 by Perez Prado & Batucada by DJ Dero
  • Dice brought out his 3rd new short program costume of the year 
  • Huge jumps out of Dice today, he has his game face on and is here to compete!
  • Such a performer, I just love it
  • Everything he is doing out there is spectacular today and he is just flying across teh ice
  • Some technical content is missing without the quad and he won't pass Chan or Oda who landed the quads, but a phenomenal performance nonetheless
  • SP Score: 40.57 (TES) + 42.00 (PCS) = 82.57
6) Takahiko Kozuka (Japan)
   Music: Soul Medly by Orin Isaacs
  • Taka has the highest scores of the season, but he has yet to compete against Takahashi, Chan, or Oda so we'll see how he does in comparison
  • This program seems to take too long to get started and I'm not a huge fan of the opening choreography
  • Huge quad into a triple, but turned out a bit, not sure if it was fully rotated or not
  • Great height on the triple axel, it was landed a little to low to the ice, but still landed
  • All his jump landings look slightly shaky, but that may be nerves
  • Ooo too close to the boards there
  • I don't love this program, for such jazzy music it doesn't really go anywhere for me
  • A decent program for him, but nothing like Oda or Chan
  • SP Score: 39.43 (TES) + 38.47 (PCS) = 77.90
Current Leaderboard:

Nobunari Oda                         86.59
Patrick Chan                           85.59
Daisuke Takahashi                 82.57
Takahiko Kozuka                    77.90
Tomas Verner                         65.37
Florent Amodio                       61.64

2010 ISU Grand Prix Final: Short Dance

1) Nora Hoffmann & Maxim Zavozin (Hungary)
   Music: Sleeping Beauty by Tchaikovski & Skaters' Waltz by Strauss
  • They really have a lot of speed in this opening sequence
  • I would love to see a little more precision in the positions in the Golden Waltz sequence
  • This program shows great improvement over their short dances earlier this season, particularly in terms of speed
  • SD Score: 30.21 (TES) + 25.77 (PCS) = 55.98 
 2) Kaitlyn Weaver & Andrew Poje (Canada)
    Music: At Last by Etta James & Cheek to Cheek by Irving Berlin
  • This is my favorite short dance of the entire season and I am so happy to be able to see it again
  • I love that side lift where Kaitlyn's  body is completely parallel to the ice
  • They integrate the Golden Waltz seamlessly into the free skating choreography
  • What an elegant and graceful program
  • The second have is so joyful and so free
  • SD Score: 29.50 (TES) + 26.01 (PCS) = 55.51
  • This is about 3 points lower than their season's best short program, so it looks like that twizzle issue really hurt them
 3) Ekaterina Bobrova & Dmitri Soloviev (Russia)
   Music: Delilah by Tom Jones
  • This music is really repetitive and kind of makes me crazy, but I like the program so much
  • Amazing speed going into the start of the program
  • They too have twizzle issues with Dmitiri stumbling out of his
  • They are nice and close on their midline step sequence
  • They look very "Russian" in the Golden Waltz sequence if that makes sense
  • That death drop always scares me, it is amazing but I'm always afraid he'll actually drop her
  • Lovely rotational lift
  • They do a great job of maintaining speed until the end of the program
  • How on earth did a Russian Ice Dance team choose to skate to Tom Jones?
  • SD Score: 27.00 (TES) + 27.33 (PCS) = 54.33
4) Vanessa Crone & Paul Poirier (Canada)
   Music: Fallin' by Alicia Keys
  • Thank the good lord that Vanessa got a new dress, I've been criticizing that white spandex number all season
  • On the subject of costumes, I think I would put Paul in something a little more free updated than a tuxedo, he looks a bit too stuffy
  • They go almost immediately into their Golden Waltz
  • Vanessa's positions always look a little muddy to me and I desperately want her to make them more precise
  • I have criticized Vanessa all season for the tension in her upper body and while it is still there, it is improved
  • This team is really lacking in performance quality in my opinion
  • I want to see more tension between the two of them since they are skating to Fallin'
  • I don't think that will be a season's best score, but it should put them safely into first place for now
  • Their coach looks a little like Cynthia Nixon
  • SD Score: 26.86 (TES) + 27.82 (PCSI ) = 54.82
  • Oh wow that score seemed low, they must have gotten low levels on some of their elements
5) Nathalie Pechalat & Fabian Bourzat (France)
   Music: Main Theme from Dr. Zhivago by Maurice Jarre
  • They are just too beautiful for words in my opinion
  • Amazing flow across the ice, elegance, brilliance
  • Wow Fabian came so close to the boards before the shoot the duck
  • That was such a gorgeous program and they never lost the flow even for a second
  • What a great jump they have made from last season to this
  • This short dance just really suits them well
  • This is one of the most well choreographed short dances of the entire season
  • SD Score: 33.29 (TES) + 32.37 (PCS) = 65.66
  • That was their highest short dance score of the Grand Prix Season so far
6) Meryl Davis & Charlie White (USA)
   Music: La Boheme by Puccini & La Traviata by Verdi
  • I love how they start this program "asleep"
  • No twizzle issues for this team!
  • This is a wonderful elegant program, showing great strides for this team in terms of maturity
  • Nice flow through their Golden Waltz, deep edges, and precise positions
  • Meryl is almost parallel to the ice on the shoot the duck
  • The entrance into that rotational lift is wonderful and the positions and speed they achieve are fantastic
  • What a wonderful short dance, I am so happy for them
  • SD Score: 34.42 (TES) + 34.22 (PCS) = 68.64
Current Leaderboard:

1) Davis/White                                68.64
2) Pechalat/Bourzat                       65.66
3) Hoffman/Zavozin                        55.98
4) Weaver/Poje                              55.51
5) Crone/Poirier                             54.82
6) Bobrova/Soloviev                       54.33

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Newsies Musical Reading Includes Jay Armstrong Johnson, Shuler Hensley, Meghann Fahy -

Newsies, the 1992 film musical, has its sights set on the Great White Way! A 29-hour private reading will take place December 10th in Manhattan starring Jay Armstrong Johnson of Hair, Meghann Fahy of Next to Normal, and Shuler Hensley of Oklahoma and Young Frankenstein. The show has a score by Alan Menken and a book by Harvey Fierstein and Jack Feldman.

Newsies Musical Reading Includes Jay Armstrong Johnson, Shuler Hensley, Meghann Fahy -

Top us if you can: Japanese Men and Ladies Look to Sweep at the Grand Prix Final

Japan qualified 6 competitors to the 2010 Grand Prix Final in Beijing. Not only did 6 competitors qualify, but they have a legitimate shot at sweeping both the Mens and Ladies podiums. Miki Ando won both of her events and Akiko Suzuki was a close second at each of those events. Kanako Murakami started her season with a bronze at NHK that quickly turned to gold at Skate America. They will be challenged by Americans Rachael Flatt and Alissa Czisny, as well as Italian Carolina Kostner. Daisuke Takahshi and Takahiko Kozuka each won both of their events and Nobunari Oda racked up to silver this season. Patrick Chan of Canada is the one man who has a legitimate shot of upsetting the Japanese men, though Tomas Verner of the Czech Republic or Florent Amodio of France could squeeze there way up there if any of the top four falter.

If either the Japanese Ladies or the Men pull off this grand feat, it will mark only the second sweep by one country in Grand Prix Final history. The first happened during the mens final i n1998 when Alexei Yagudin, Alexei Urmanov, and Evgeni Plushenko won gold, silver, and bronze respectively.

News | Top us if you can | Universal Sports

Kristin Chenoweth, Matthew Morrison, Lea Michele Will Pay Tribute to Barbra Streisand at MusiCares Gala -

 Glee stars Kristin Chenoweth, Matthew Morrison, Lea Michele, and Darren Criss will pay tribute to Barbra Streisand, MusiCares' Person of the Year. The February 11, 2011 gala will take place at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Other performers include Tony Bennett, Donna Summer, Stevie Wonder, Herbie Hancock, Diana Krall. and Barry Manilow. The evening will conclude with a performance by Streisand herself.

Kristin Chenoweth, Matthew Morrison, Lea Michele Will Pay Tribute to Barbra Streisand at MusiCares Gala -

STAGE TUBE: Sondheim Talks Lyrics, Life, and More with PBS Video Content (

Listen to living Broadway legend Stephen Sondheim as he discusses his work with PBS' Jeffrey Brown. From Follies and Company to A Little Night Music and Sweeney Todd, Sondheim has given us some of the American musical theatre's greatest treasures.

STAGE TUBE: Sondheim Talks Lyrics, Life, and More with PBS Video Content (

2010 ISU Junior Grand Prix Final: Standings After Short Programs

1) Richard Dornbush (USA) 40.36(TES)+30.39(PCS)=70.75
2) Keegan Messing (USA) 38.02(TES)+30.50(PCS)=68.52
3) Han Yan (China) 36.16(TES)+31.13(PCS)=67.29
4) Joshua Farris (USA) 36.03(TES)+29.21(PCS)=
5) Max Aaron (USA) 35.71(TES)+28.07(PCS)=63.78
6) Zhan Bush (Russia) 33.69(TES)+26.36(PCS)=60.05
7) Andrei Rogozine (Canada) 30.35(TES)+28.82(PCS)=59.17
8) Gordei Gorshkov (Russia) 28.73(TES)+26.86(PCS)=55.55

1) Adelina Sotnikova (Russia) 31.52(TES)+25.75(PCS)=57.27
2) Elizaveta Tuktamisheva (Russia) 29.36(TES)+24.40(PCS)=53.76
3) Polina Shelepen (Russia) 30.71(TES)+22.55(PCS)=53.26
4) Risa Shoji (Japan) 28.56(TES)+24.00(PCS)=52.56
5) Zijun Li (China) 28.04(TES)+21.58(PCS)=49.62
6) Kristiene Gong (USA) 25.52(TES)+21.72(PCS)=47.24
7) Christina Gao (USA) 23.21(TES)+21.77(USA)-1.00(DED)=43.98
8) Yasmin Siraj (USA) 18.34(TES)+20.74(PCS)-1.00(DED)=38.08

1) Takahashi/Tran (Japan) 29.91(TES)+25.03(PCS)-1.00(DED)=53.94
2) Stolbova/Klimov (Russia) 26.20(TES)+24.43(PCS)-1.00(DED)=49.63
3) Steele/Schultz (Canada) 26.78(TES)+21.29(PCS)=48.07
4) Purich/Schultz (Canada) 24.82(TES)+21.48(PCS)-1.00(DED)=45.30
5) Cain/Reagan (USA) 23.26(TES)+20.66(PCS)=43.92
6) Yu/Jin (China) 21.68(TES)+22.00(PCS)=43.68
7) Jones/Gaskell (Canada) 23.11(TES)+20.23(PCS)-1.00(DED)=42.34
8) Silaeva/Minchuk(Russia) 16.40(TES)+19.85(PCS)-1.00(DED)=35.25

Ice Dance:
1) Sinitsina/Zhiganshin (Russia) 30.79(TES)+24.79(PCS)=55.58
2) Monko/Khaliavin (Russia) 27.50(TES)+28.00(PCS)=55.50
3) Stepanova/Bukin (Russia) 29.57(TES)+24.02(PCS)=53.59
4) Pushkash/Guerreiro (Russia) 26.43(TES)+26.63(PCS)=53.06
5) Lichtman/Copely (USA) 27.36(TES)+23.38(PCS)=50.74
6) Kosigina/Moroshkin (Russia) 23.00(TES)+23.98(PCS)=46.98
7) Galyeta/Shumski (Ukraine) 21.43(TES)+23.67(PCS)=45.10
8) Antipova/Kudishev (Russia) 22.69(TES)+21.49(PCS)-1.00(DED)=43.18

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

2010 ISU Grand Prix Final: Junior Competition

December 9th
3:45am Junior Short Dance
5:10am Junior Ladies Short Program
6:35am Junior Men Short Program
8:00am Junior Pairs Short Program

December 10th
1:15am Junior Free Dance
2:45am Junior Ladies Free Skate

December 11th
12:45am Junior Men Free Skate
2:20am Junior Pairs Free Skate

1) Gordei Gorshkov (Russia)
2) Zhan Bush (Russia)
3) Max Aaron (USA)
4) Richard Dornbush (USA)
5) Keegan Messing (USA)
6) Joshua Farris (USA)
7) Han Yan (China)
8) Andrei Rogozine (Canada)

1) Zijun Li (China)
2) Kristiene Gong (USA)
3) Yasmin Siraj (USA)
4) Christina Gao (USA)
5) Polina Shelepen (Russia)
6) Risa Shoji (Japan)
7) Elizaveta Tuktamisheva (Russia)
8) Adelina Sotnikova (Russia)

1) Brittany Jones & Kurtis Gaskell (Canada)
2) Taylor Steele & Robert Schultz (Canada)
3) Ashley Cain & Joshua Reagan (USA)
4) Anna Silaeva & Artur Minchuk (Russia)
5) Natasha Purich & Raymond Schultz (Canada)
6) Narumi Takahashi & Mervin Tran (Japan)
7) Xiaoyu Yu & Yang Jin (China)
8) Ksenia Stolbova & Fedor Klimov (Russia)

Ice Dance:
1) Marina Antipova & Artem Kudashev (Russia)
2) Anastasia Galyeta & Alexei Shumski (Ukraine)
3) Victoria Sinitsina & Ruslan Zhiganshin (Russia)
4) Evgenia Kosigina & Nikolai Moroshkin (Russia)
5) Charlotte Lichtman & Dean Copely (USA)
6) Ekaterina Pushkash & Jonathan Guerreiro (Russia)
7) Alexandra Stepanova & Ivan Bukin (Russia)
8) Ksenia Monko & Kirill Khaliavin (Russia)

News | Chan rested and ready for 'mini-worlds' | Universal Sports

 Canadian Patrick Chan, who has become known for receiving huge scores, particularly in his program components, despite messy programs is hoping to quiet the naysayers with a strong showing in Beijing. This is his 3rd trip to the Senior Grand Prix Final and he admits that on his first two attempts he was exhausted and over-trained, but that he feels relaxed and calm this time around. Chan came back from a disastrous short program to win Skate Canada, but fell to silver at Cup of Russia with a flawed and messy free skate. If he can skate both of his programs clean, I believe there is nobody else in the world who can top him. So if Chan can conquer his demons and not beat himself, he will be your 2010 Mens Grand Prix Final Champion.

News | Chan rested and ready for 'mini-worlds' | Universal Sports

News | Five questions with Rachael Flatt | Universal Sports

2010 US Figure Skating National Champion Rachael Flatt discusses her preparations for her first ever Senior Grand Prix Final despite an injury. Though Flatt, a workhorse, has struggled a bit with having to sit at home when she would rather be training, she remains surprisingly optimistic. Though she has the lowest scores of the six qualifiers in the ladies competition, she is the most consistent of all of them and I predict that she will make the podium and win her first ever Senior Grand Prix Final Medal.

News | Five questions with Rachael Flatt | Universal Sports

Director Julie Taymor Says Work Is Being Done On Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark -

  Julie Taymor, director of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark admits she has a lot of work to do to get the show ready for its Jan 11, 2011 Broadway opening at the Foxwoods Theatre. She expresses her feelings, which seem like disgust, over the negative press the show has been getting. Many will argue that the first preview was a disaster with five stops in the show and technical glitches resulting in a concussion for actress Natalie Mendoza. Taymor, who also directed Disney's The Lion King on Broadway is often criticized for having amazing artistic vision, but failing to follow through. However in this case, if she doesn't clean up the show in time for opening, producers could end up $60 million in the hole.

Director Julie Taymor Says Work Is Being Done On Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark - | See Sutton Foster as Reno Sweeney! Behind the Scenes at the Anything Goes Photo Shoot

One of Broadway's favorite darlings, Sutton Foster, prepares to play the role of Reno Sweeney in Roundabout Theatre Company's spring production of Anything Goes. In taking on this part, she steps into shoes previously filled by the likes of Ethel Merman and Patti LuPone. Tickets are available now at and the show hits the Stephen Sondheim Theatre in March of 2011. Foster is also joined by fellow Tony winner Joel Grey. | See Sutton Foster as Reno Sweeney! Behind the Scenes at the Anything Goes Photo Shoot

Monday, December 6, 2010

2010 ISU Grand Prix Final: Podium Picks & Fantasy Picks

Well the regular Grand Prix season has ended and the top six finishers in each discipline have qualified for the Grand Prix Final in Beijing December 9-12. Most of the competitors are en route to Beijing and we are only four days away from the start of the competition!

The live streaming schedule for the 2010 Grand Prix Final from Beijing is as follows:

Friday December 10th
4:15 a.m.: Senior short dance
5:25 a.m.: Senior men's short program
6:30 a.m.: Senior ladies short program
7:35 a.m.: Senior pairs short program

Saturday December 11th
3:55 a.m.: Senior men's free skate
5:10 a.m.: Senior ladies free skate
6:20 a.m.: Senior free dance
7:40 a.m.: Senior pairs free skate

Qualifying Order:                                                          My Podium Predictions:
**Green denotes fantasy picks
1) Takahiko Kozuka (481.58)                                         1) Patrick Chan
2) Daisuke Takahashi (461.86)                                       2) Daisuke Takahashi
3) Patrick Chan (466.73)                                                 3) Tokahiko Kozuka
4) Tomas Verner (445.12)                                               4) Nobunari Oda
5) Nobunari Oda (462.61)                                               5) Florent Amodio
6) Florent Amodio (443.15)                                             6) Tomas Verner   
1) Miki Ando (346.68)                                                    1) Miki Ando
2) Alissa Czisny (332.17)                                                2) Akiko Suzuki
3) Carolina Kostner (319.48)                                          3) Rachael Flatt
4) Kanako Murakami (315.09)                                        4) Kanako Murakami
5) Akiko Suzuki (335.60)                                                5) Alissa Czisny
6) Rachael Flatt (323.90)                                                6) Carolina Kostner
1) Savchenko/Szolkowy (395.58)                                  1) Savchenko/Szolkowy
2) Pang/Tong (366.87)                                                   2) Pang/Tong
3) Bazarova/Larionov (356.83)                                      3) Bazarova/Larionov
4) Moore-Towers/Moscovitch (346.40)                           4) Moore-Towers/Moscovitch
5) Iliushechkina/Maisuradze (333.49)                            5) Sui/Han
6) Sui/Han (341.54)                                                        6) Iliushechkina/Maisuradze

Ice Dance:
1) Davis/White (321.89)                                                 1) Davis/White
2) Pechalat/Bourzat (321.41)                                         2) Pechalat/Bourzat
3) Crone/Poirier (303.50)                                               3) Bobrova/Soloviev
4) Bobrova/Soloviev (299.72)                                        4) Crone/Poirier
5) Weaver/Poje (283.91)                                                5) Weaver/Poje
6) Hoffmann/Zavozin (272.91)                                        6) Hoffmann/Zavozin