Monday, January 31, 2011

2011 US Figure Skating Championships: The Barbie Awards for Best Moments in Greensboro

I needed a way to summarize Nationals 2011 in my own way without doing a generic wrap up of each event. I thought of doing a top ten favorite moments post, but there were so many that were great for different reasons that I simply couldn't rank them. So, I decided that I would just talk about the things that were highlights for me and why they were so special. Therefore, I give you The Barbie Awards for the Best Moments in Greensboro.
Newcomer Award: Courtney Hicks
Courtney Hicks won the Jr Ladies event by a huge margin and with the highest score ever posted by a US Jr lady. If the pressure doesn't get to her, she will do a phenomenal job at the Jr Worlds this season on a spectacular team also composed of Agnes Zawadzki & Christina Gao. What was spectacular about Courtney wasn't her win though, it was her ability and her talent. She truly reminds me of Sasha Cohen, not just because they share a coach, a dress, and a music selection, but because of her lines and technique. If she can find the consistency that Sasha lacked, she'll go very far. Check out her tw-hicks spin if you get the chance, I can't even describe it, but she is basically a spinning pretzel.

Debut Award: Mary Beth Marley
We've been hearing all season about the new partnership of Marley & Brubaker but we didn't get a chance to see them and boy was I surprised, pleasantly so. They haven't completely gelled as a pair yet-their jumps and spins aren't in perfect unison-but the progress they've made in 5 months is outstanding. Mary Beth showed so much determination in landing those throws and holding her positions in the lifts, especially after a fall in the free skate on some basic crossovers. She definitely has a fighting spirit and a willingness to learn which was great to see. They have so much promise if they can just stay together and stay healthy. The 2011 Grand Prix season will give them the chance to compete against the World's best and see how they stack up.
Emotionally Stirring Performance Award: Yankowskas & Coughlin
It's no surprise that I found John and Caitilin's free skate to Ave Maria to be the emotional performance of Nationals this year. Yes skating is a sport, but it is also about performing, and the performances are always more captivating when they portray real human emotion. Marina Zoueva's choreography perfectly conveyed what John was feeling after his mother's death and they translated it in such a way that it served as catharsis for John and also allowed he and Caitlin to connect with the audience in a very personal way. Aside from the mesmerizing performance, the program was very sound technically, aside from an awkward landing on a throw, and the judges awarded them, rightfully so, the gold medal. If they can deliver the two programs they performed at Nationals at Worlds, they'll do very well.
Watch out World Award: Maia & Alex Shibutani
I have been following this delightful brother and sister Ice Dance duo all season and they improve every time they step onto the ice. They have great natural ability and are very well matched, but I can also tell that they are very hard workers. They are both still teenagers and they have a very bright future as a team. They have the best coaches in the world, Marina Zoueva & Igor Shpilband, and at the rate they are going, they'll soon pass Davis & White.They may not have won a Junior World title, but if they can avoid injury and keep up their work ethic, they are sure to stand atop the senior World podium a few short years from now. Oh and did I mention that their short dance to The Carousel Waltz is the most heart-warming program of the season?

Selling the Performance Award: Madison Chock & Greg Zuerlein
Madison & Greg's free dance to Cabaret has been the program I've talked about all season, and being a musical theatre gal, this is no surprise. This team has never really done much for me until I caught them at Skate Canada and was blown away. They have toed the line between over the top and too conservative all season but I felt they really hit their stride in Greensboro. They gave all they had to the performance without getting out of control. I felt like I was watching a young Liza Minnelli & Joel Grey. Excuse my theatrical terminology, but Madison knows how to "chew the scenery" just like Ms. Minnelli. With the rise of the Shibutani siblings, It may be a pipe dream, but I would still love to see Madison & Greg win a world championship someday because I appreciate their commitment to performance. 
Kick It And Stick It Award: Rachael Flatt
I am a Rachael fan and have really felt for her as she experienced the ups and downs of the season. She put us some great performances on the Grand Prix to win two silvers, but never had enough in the tank to win gold. An injury led to a disappointing Grand Prix Final and the scores her programs received this season seemed they would keep her off of the World Team. But then Lori Nichol stepped in, as she often does, with a brilliant piece of choreography that, in my opinion, saved Rachael's season. Before Rachael took the ice for her new East of Eden short program in Greensboro, I tweeted that I was going to lend Rachael my signature catchphrase "Kick It & Stick It." But what she did on the ice surprised us all. She actually did the "stick it" part first as she landed 4 clean jumps, in true Rachael fashion. But what nobody expected was when the "kick it" part came in as she lit up the arena with an explosive step sequence that showed passion that we have never seen from her, ever. Unfortunately she didn't completely kick it or stick it in the free skate, but she did enough to go onto Four Continents and Worlds, where I will again lend her my signature phrase. 
Comeback Kid Award: Alissa Czisny
Alissa is on the short list of most talked about skaters in the world this year, and who expected that? Well according to Alissa, her success has come from having coaches that truly believe in her, so Yuka Sato & Jason Dungjen have had faith all along that this would be her season. What I love about Alissa is that she demonstrates that grace, artistry, and belief in yourself can often get you further than triple-triple combinations. She has also shown the world that great figure skating careers don't have to end at age 17. After a tumultuous history at Nationals it was great to see her win a second title, this time with two clean performances and no controversy surrounding the win. Her performances in Greensboro were like a breath of fresh air and this was the first time I could really enjoy watching her skate without fearing that she would fall. After a very solid season and two major titles, Grand Prix Final & US Nationals, dare I say she has broken shaken the label of "the pretty skater who can't land her jumps?" Well I was one of those naysayers and she has certainly changed my mind this season, so with a strong showing at Four Continents, she may just establish herself about one to beat at Worlds.
Showmanship Award: Ryan Bradley
Ryan Bradley has always been known as a showman, and unfortunately, as the skater who finishes just off of the podium. He planned to retire after the heartbreak of missing the 2010 Vancouver team but due to popular demand, he returned to Nationals. With a new mindset, please the audience and enjoy himself, Ryan was freer than I've ever seen him and he delivered a short program that was sheer entertainment for the audience, but also a points magnet that landed him in first place. I cannot recall any other program in recent memory, aside from Davis & White's Baliwood, that was this entertaining while still gathering a huge sum of points from the judges.

Fighting Spirit Award: Adam Rippon
Adam's shaky performance in the short program, complete with a fall on the Rippon lutz, was the heartbreak of Nationals for me. I wanted so badly for him to win this one and I'm still in shock that he will not be competing at Worlds after a 5th place finish last season. After the disappointment of the short, I wanted so badly for him to come back with a strong free, and aside from a shaky first jump, he did just that. When Adam is "on" his skating is a thing of such beauty and last night he was "on". I think he knew that even a perfect free skate wouldn't put him on the podium, but the joy on his face after he finished a near perfect program was simply infectious. A lesser person would have given up after being favored to win and landing in 9th place after the short. Adam proved in the free that he has what it takes to be a winner if he can work on his focus and his mental toughness.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

2011 US Figure Skating Championships: Senior Men's Free Skate

I'm back again for my last live-blog of Nationals, the Men's Free skate. We are on right now but will go live on NBC at 4pm for the final two groups. Best of luck to all the men, I hope we see some fantastic programs!
**Denotes my USFSA Fantasky Skating Team

1) Scott Dyer
   Music: On the Waterfront
  • This is the same freeskate music as Brandon Mroz
  • Nice double axel, should get a positive GOE
  • He has nice stretch in his camel
  • Nice triple lutz-got tripped up on the triple toe
  • Popped open that triple flip
  • Nice triple loop, good quick rotation
  • Solid triple lutz
  • HE is definitely putting effort into the interpretation
  • Good triple loop comination
  • I love the wally jump, he uses that as an entrance to a nice triple salchow combination
  • He does an interesting sideways sit spin position at the end
  • Nice energy and good stamina throughout
  • FS Score: 61.65 (TES) + 59.72 (PCS) = 121.37
  • 55.78 (SP) + 121.37 (FS) = 177.15
2) Lloyd Ting
   Music: Madness and Asian Dream Song
  • Good triple lutz-double toe
  • Falls on double axel
  • He looks very focused, but like he may be holding back a little
  • He gets nice height on his jumps, but the rotation isn't very quick
  • He just doesn't really have his legs under him, fighting for all of the jumps and traveling on his spins
  • This is gorgeous music, I just wish he'd do more in the way of interpreting it
  • FS Score: 51.78 (TES) + 45.64 (PCS) -1.00 (DED) = 96.42
  • 44.50 (SP) + 96.42 (FS) = 140.92
3) Sean Rabbitt
   Music: Long De Chuan Ren
  • Can't wait to see a fantastic performance from Sean
  • Struggling a bit jump-wise, let's hope he gets his feet under him
  • Sean is a dance competition kid, I can totally see that
  • What I love about him is his energy and I feel like he is really losing that here
  • Nice spread eagle entrance into his double axel
  • FS Score: 51.93 (TES) + 52.36 (PCS) = 104.29
  • 51.42 (SP) + 104.29 (FS) = 155.71
4) Parker Pennington
   Music: Freedom
  • Its great to see skaters choreographing their own programs
  • I like this costume, very simple but shows off the body lines
  • Huge triple axel, but trouble on the landing
  • Nice double axel, triple toe
  • Nice triple loop
  • He has a lovely camel position, nice twist variation
  • Such fantastic emotional connection to the music, this is a skater I could watch for a long time
  • Wonky triple flip but holds onto the landing
  • I think the jumps hold him back performance-wise, he would be a great show skater
  • Great spread eagle into triple salchow, nice entrance to that jump
  • I like the wally into the triple lutz double toe double toe with the Tano arms
  • This is a gorgeous musical selection
  • He is looking tired physically, but he hasn't lost his commitment to the performance
  • FS Score: 51.99 (TES) + 58.20 (PCS) -1.00 (DED) = 109.19
  • 55.49 (SP) + 109.19 (FS) = 164.68
5) Andrew Gonzales
   Music: 1492: Conquest
  • I love when male skaters choose very masculine pieces of music, that is something the Europeans like Joubert & Van Der Perren are very good at
  • Oh wow I thought he had that triple flip, but couldn't hang on
  • Definitely picked up as he went along
  • I'd love more performance skills from him
  • FS Score: 52.05 (TES) + 57.06 (PCS) -1.00 (DED) = 108.11
  • 54.41 (SP) + 108.11 (FS) = 162.52
6) Wesley Campbell
   Music: Man on Wire
  • He has given stellar Nationals performances before so let's try to have one of those again
  • I love that the opening relates directly to the theme of the program
  • What a tall elegant skater
  • I love that low position entrance to a triple lutz-double loop
  • Feet twisted up in the triple axel leads to a fall
  • He has a great camel spin into a donut
  • Wonderful grace in his arms and upper body
  • Nice tight turns on his footwork sequences
  • Seems to lack the confidence he needs to land solid triple jumps
  • The costume isn't doing much for me--it looks too "underwatery"
  • I love the coach's scarf
  • FS Score: 57.84 (TES) + 60.40 (PCS) -1.00 (DED) = 117.34
  • 59.35 (SP) + 117.34 (FS) = 176.69
7) Christopher Caluza
   Music: Warsaw Concerto
  • He takes a long time to get into character before taking the ice
  • He is shorter than most, explosive jumps
  • Fall on a triple lutz
  • Nice triple toe to recover
  • Whoa he did a Rippon-style loop on his three jump combination
  • He has most of his combinations in the back half to get points
  • He has some interesting elements for a man, including change of edge spiral and an Ina Bauer
  • Tough slip going into a spin, not sure if they'll take away credit for that
  • Nice side aerial to end!
  • FS Score: 50.58 (TES) + 49.86 (PCS) -2.00 (DED) = 98.44
  • 59.28 (SP) + 98.44 (FS) = 157.72
8) Alexander Johnson
   Music: Le Grand Tango/Oblivion
  • One of his listed musical selections is the same as Yankowskas/Coughlin in their short
  • Strong triple axel-double toe combo
  • Pops the second jump
  • Nice strong sit spin positions
  • Nice spiral into a triple lutz
  • He definitely has some strong performance skills, good commitment to the music
  • He is really very enjoyable
  • He is an easy skater to watch, and by that i mean nothing looks too forced or contrived
  • Good fight on the landings for that 3-jump series
  • Seems to be doubling a lot of jumps
  • He did a second 3-jump combination, so he will not get credit for the second combination, same mistake that Nobunari Oda always makes
  • FS Score: 48.70 (TES) + 59.50 (PCS) = 108.20
  • 57.30 (SP) + 108.20 (FS) = 165.50
9) Joshua Farris
   Music: Porgy & Bess
  • Gershwin's music is so good for skating
  • Fall on the triple axel attempt
  • He is getting very close to the boards on these jumps
  • He is showing a lot of style in the choreography
  • Second triple axel, falls and actually skids into the boards
  • He has nice presence, I hope he doesn't lose that after the disappointed of the falls
  • Hands down on the double axel
  • Fall on a triple lutz
  • This is a program he'll want to forget
  • Wow he is just trying to get through this at this point           
  • FS Score: 43.24 (TES) + 50.58 (PCS) -1.00 (DED)= 90.82
  • 60.91 (SP) + 90.82 (FS) = 151.73
10) Jonathan Cassar **
     Music: Schindler's List
  • He is on my fantasy team so I'm hoping for a nice big score
  • I like the choice to open for a step sequence
  • Such amazing emotion and musicality from this dance major
  • Good solid triple lutz-double toe
  • He doesn't have the technical arsenal of other men here, but good clean jumps with positive GOEs could put him ahead at this point
  • So far just jumps are very crisp and clean
  • Such elegance, he really uses his upper body in addition to his legs
  • Great deep spin positions with nice twist variations
  • Hand down on the second triple lutz but he hung on
  • That inside edge spread eagle is to die for, rides such a nice long curve
  • He is just a beautiful skater to watch, so calm, so elegant
  • Eeks out the landing of the triple flip-double toe
  • Good triple loop combination
  • Very nice solid posture
  • This is going to be a solid showing from him
  • He can now focus with Frank on building his technical arsenal to add triple-triple combinations and triple axels
  • His choreographic step sequence is gorgeous
  • Lovely double axel to end his jumping passes
  • Gorgeous spinning positions
  • Lovely lovely performance, some people on their feet
  • FS Score: 63.28 (TES) + 68.50 (PCS) = 131.78
  • 55.98 (SP) + 131.78 (FS) = 187.76
11) Grant Hochstein

  • FS Score: (TES) +  (PCS) = 117.61
  • 65.76 (SP) + 117.61 (FS) = 183.37
12) Jason Brown

  • FS Score: (TES) +  (PCS) = 144.44
  • 64.32 (SP) + 144.44 (FS) = 208.76
13) Jason Wong

  • FS Score: (TES) +  (PCS) = 110.43
  • 62.20 (SP) + 110.43 (FS) = 172.63
14) Adam Rippon **
  • Come on Adam, get it!!
  • He has such fantastic edge work and stroking
  • Step out of a triple axel, so titled in the air
  • He needs perfection from here on out
  • Gorgeous Rippon lutz, now if all of his jumps were like that
  • Nice big second triple lutz
  • He neesd to light it up to make up the point gap
  • Gorgeous triple-triple
  • Fantastic spread eagle position
  • His artistry is unmatched in the US
  • He does really interesting entrances into his jumps which help him rack up more points
  • He really rising to the occasion
  • The spins are great
  • The musicality, and his presence on the ice are phenomenal
  • He is killing the footwork sequence and he has the crowd with him
  • I like his long edges out of the jumps
  • He is so happy about that!
  • FS Score: 76.36 (TES) + 77.42 (PCS) = 153.78
  • 66.26 (SP) + 153.78 (FS) = 220.04
15) Richard Dornbush
     Music: Sherlock Holmes
  • Huge triple flip to begin
  • Triple axel-triple toe, very tough technically
  • This music suits his performance style well
  • His footwork seems slow and doesn't have a lot of content
  • A lot of personality
  • Huge triple axel, he should get positive GOEs on a lot of these jumps
  • He seems to be getting tired in the last part of the program
  • His footwork sequences are a little rough for me, he looks like he is flailing
  • FS Score:  (TES) +  (PCS) = 157.85
  • 67.71 (SP) + (FS) = 225.56
16) Armin Mahbanonozadeh **
     Music: Avatar
  • Armin lands a solid triple axel
  • He has just really impressed me so much this season, so much improvement
  • He was definitely a fighter on that second triple axel
  • I've been forgetting to type because this is just such an engrossing performance to watch
  • He really uses his entire body in these step sequences, he reminds me of Evan Lysacek in that respect
  • Its so nice to see a nice scratch spin 
  • Wow, what an awesome performance
  • FS Score: (TES) +  (PCS) = 148.28
  • 66.77 (SP) + (FS) = 215.05
17) Keegan Messing
     Music: The Hulk
  • He blew me away in the short, let's hope he can keep it up in the long
  • "Keegan turns figure skating into an extreme sport" -Sandra Bezic
  • He is very athletic and energetic
  • Wow that triple axel was huge!
  • Quad toe, lands it but with a hand down
  • He is killing nit so far
  • Has a lot of speed on his spins too
  • Second triple axel in combination this time
  • This section of the music is so perfect for footwork
  • I can't tell if he is tripping and stumbling on his footwork of if that's the choreography
  • He needs work on choreography and grace, but he has so much attack which is a great building block
  • He is just killing these jumps
  • He ends with a jump on the last moment, gets so much bonus credit for the jumps later in the program
  • FS Score: (TES) +  (PCS) =143.50
  • 69.79 (SP) + 143.50 (FS) = 213.29
18) Douglas Razzano
  • Gigantic triple axel
  • Little turn out, but fabulous quad toe so far
  • Odd fall on that second triple axel
  • Nice triple-triple combination
  • He seems to be running out of speed here toward the end
  • He gets a nice low position in his sit spin
  • FS Score: (TES) +  (PCS) = 137.15
  • 69.61 (SP) + 137.15 (FS) = 206.76
19) Ross Miner
     Music: Casablanca
  • He has grown a lot on the senior Grand Prix this season
  • He opens with his step sequence, possibly to get the feel of the ice under him
  • Triple axel combination was huge
  • Triple lutz-triple toe was wonderful
  • He is ready to go out there, uses this music perfectly 
  • The jumps fit so well where they are placed in the music
  • He has a nice traditional quality about him, like a Todd Eldredge
  • Solid triple loop
  • He looks like he is really enjoying himself out there
  • He is making it look so easy
  • Great entrance into that triple salchow combination
  • This musical selection really suits his performances style well
  • Wow, great for him
  • FS Score: 81.80 (TES) + 74.56 (PCS) = 156.36
  • 67.99 (SP) + 156.36 (FS) = 224.35
20) Jeremy Abbott  
      Music: Life Is Beautiful
  • Solid triple lutz to open
  • Jeremy seems to be in the zone here
  • He seems very invested in the performance
  • Triple axel-opens up toe loop to a double
  • This musical selection just suits him so well as a performer and as an athlete
  • He is really going after this footwork, he doesn't seem to be holding back really
  • Hand down on the triple axel, that could have opened the door there
  • Oh wow he just took a fall there, that hand down took away his concentration
  • He seems to be losing control of the program at this point
  • And he was doing so well at the beginning
  • I respect that he didn't abandon the performance
  • Not the way he wanted that to go
  • FS Score: 66.91 (TES) + 79.86 (PCS) -1.00 (DED) = 145.77 
  • 78.39 (SP) + 145.77 (FS) = 224.16
21) Brandon Mroz
   Music: On the Waterfront
  • I am never a big fan of Brandon's programs
  • Will he Rise to the occasion or feel the same pressure as Abbott?
  • Brandon lands very low and steps out of the quad toe
  • Sandra Bezic was right, this jazzy music suits him very well
  • Triple axel-double toe, same exact thing that Jeremy Abbott did
  • He looks timid, like he is afraid that he will make mistakes
  • He seems to really be running out of speed in certain sections, his spins look really slow
  • He seems to be really running out of stem, has looked tired throughout the whole program
  • Amazing triple axel after that break 
  • He is landing his jumps, but few of them are very pretty, wont get a lot of positive GOEs
  • Did he fall out of that camel, or was that mean to be a change foot camel
  • He looks very wild in this foot, and not a Rachael Flatt passionate kind of wild
  • FS Score: 73.66 (TES) + 68.2 (PCS) = 141.88
  • 71.61 (SP) + 141.88 (FS) = 213.49
22) Ryan Bradley
  • His entrance to his starting position is just of the performance
  • Steps out of both quads
  • Huge freaking triple axel
  • Triple axel-triple toe loop
  • Wow he has the crowd with him in  big way here
  • If the crowd had any say at all he'd win by a mile
  • Needs to get teh speed back up
  • Pulls out his final triple flip
  • Now he can really light it up in that last part of this program
  • FS Score: (TES) +  (PCS) = 151.51
  • 80.39 (SP) + 151.51 (FS) = 231.90

Saturday, January 29, 2011

2011 US Figure Skating Championships: Senior Ladies Free Skate

The ladies free skate is my favorite event of senior Nationals. I remember watching Michelle Kwan as a little girl, just mesmerized by her performances, and this event still has that effect on me. I wish all of these ladies well and hope they all skate to the best of their abilities.
**Denotes my USFSA Fantasy Skating Team

1) Tatyana Khazova
   Music: Secrets of Saint-Petersburg
  • Nice drama here at the beginning of the progam
  • I dont love the gloves, they cut off her leg line
  • Double loop-single loop combo
  • Nice double axel
  • She is injured so that may effect her jumping content
  • Double lutz, double toe, double loop
  • Tatyana is muscling through this with a lot of fight and determination
  • Though she is doubling most of her jumps, she is showing so much will and heart
  • FS Score: 26.25 (TES) + 32.46 (PCS) = 58.91
  • 26.58 (SP) + 58.91 (FS) = 85.49
2) Felicia Zhang
  • Felicia has withdrawn due to injury
  • FS Score: (TES) +  (PCS) =
  • 41.23 (SP) + (FS) =
3) Keli Zhou
   Music: Deception
  • I love this dress on her, the purple suits her well and the gradiant into white is lovely
  • Good attack on the double axel, nice double toe tacked on
  • Nice triple salchow, slight bobble on the ending
  • I like her twist position in the sit spin and the fly out of it
  • Pretty nice spiral, she should lift her chest a little more so we can see her face
  • I love the way you see that white edge of her skirt move in her spins
  • Looked like she may have doubled her salchow
  • Some good turns in the step sequence, would love more work from the upper body
  • Pretty nice leg catch spin
  • A big improvement over the short, good for her!
  • FS Score: 37.48 (TES) + 36.73 (PCS) = 74.21
  • 41.38 (SP) + 74.21 (FS) = 115.59
4) Katy Jo West
   Music: Ragtime
  • I love ragtime, but I think this costume is a little too 1920s for that music
  • Hand down on opening triple toe
  • Fall on a triple salchow, just didnt get her feet untwisted
  • Nice transition into the "Your Daddy's Son" portion of the program
  • I would like more fluidity in this section and more grace in her arms
  • Katy could really benefit from some ballet
  • She has a great smile, but as she matures she'll learn to show more emotional range
  • FS Score: 36.01 (TES) + 37.73 (PCS) -1.00 (DED) = 72.74
  • 40.07 (SP) + 72.74 (FS) = 112.81
5) Raina Narita
   Music: West Side Story
  • Being a New Yorker, I hope she can really find the character of this piece
  • Bernstein's music is so brilliant, so many nuances to make use of
  • Too tilted in the triple lutz to hold onto the landing
  • Nice fluidity in her arms
  • She could work on her flexibility in her back and hips to increase her scores
  • Her feet were too wrapped on her second triple lutz attempt to hold the landing
  • Pops open the first jump of her combination
  • She looks very tired and seems to be throwing away the in-between movements as she tries to hang onto her elements
  • FS Score: 30.73 (TES) + 32.06 (PCS) -1.00 (DED) = 60.79
  • 33.75 (SP) + 60.79 (FS) = 94.54
6) Kristiene Gong **
   Music: Salome's Dance of the Seven Veils
  • Kristiene is the C-pick from my fantasy team so I'm wishing her to do her best
  • She did a nice job on the Jr Grand Prix this season and put up some big scores so I'm hoping she can do that again
  • Frank Carroll is coaching another Salome routine
  • Nice double axel-triple toe combination, I hear that is becoming a popular combination these days
  • She hits some nice spin positions, but the transitions between them could be smoothed out
  • Triple sal-double loop-double loop is her one allowed three jump combination
  • Kristiene is really putting up a solid show right here, I am quite proud 
  • Nice overall skater there, she'll go far
  • FS Score: 57.17 (TES) + 42.01 (PCS) = 99.18
  • 44.12 (SP) + 99.18 (FS) = 143.30
7) Ellie Kawamura
   Music: El Tango de Roxanne/Tango de los Exilados
  • I love that pink underlayer to her skirt and how we see flashes of it when she jumps and spins
  • It is nice to see a color other than red for a latin number
  • Popped that triple loop
  • Nice double axel double toe to get right back on her game
  • She had a lot of flair and spanish nuances at the beginning, lets hope she continues that 
  • Hand down
  • Nice use of accents in the choreography
  • FS Score: 34.87 (TES) + 41.88 (PCS) = 76.75
  • 45.19 (SP) + 76.75 (FS) = 121.94
8) Kelsey Traunero
   Music: Pirates of the Caribbean
  • That costume is a little too period-specific for me
  • Nice triple flip-double toe combo, very solid
  • Nice triple flip, she gets those out of the way fast
  • Falls on a triple toe, maybe too quick on the takeoff
  • Double axel clean, botches the combo
  • Good solid double axel
  • She seems really committed to the program
  • Very good speed going into her layback
  • She is definitely skating lights out, just whipping through everything
  • The dancer in me wants her to drop that hip on the spiral
  • FS Score: 47.24 (TES) + 39.78 (PCS) -1.00 (DED)= 86.02
  • 42.28 (SP) + 86.02 (FS) = 128.30
9) Melissa Balunhagui
   Music: Rachmaninoff selections
  • I hope she does the triple axel
  • She is a solid jumper, that was a nice triple lutz
  • Solid triple flip
  • She seems to be forgetting her in between movements
  • There isn't much choreography here, just jump to jump to jump
  • The musicality isn't working, she seems like a skater who would connect more with a contemporary piece or a character piece
  • FS Score: 55.11 (TES) + 44.06 (PCS) = 99.17
  • 45.36 (SP) + 99.17 (FS) = 144.53
10) Danielle Kahle
     Music: La Strada
  • I like her costume, very elegant
  • Turns out of her triple loop, ends it in a lunge
  • Very tilted in the air on her triple lutz, falls
  • Takes another fall, unfortunately this program isn't starting the way she'd have wanted
  • She seems to be forgetting about her choreography and the performance element here
  • Danielle's jumps just aren't here today, she seems she can't get her legs under her
  • This is a performance she will want to forget
  • FS Score: 34.63 (TES) + 39.11 (PCS) -2.00 (DED) = 71.74
  • 45.87 (SP) + 71.74 (FS) = 117.61
11) Kristine Musademba
     Music: Elizabeth: The Golden Age
  • She has a lot of talent, I'd love to see her land her jumps cleanly
  • She is really going after these jumps too so when she falls, the falls are hard falls
  • Nice triple salchow, I think she is getting her stride back
  • Kristine really seems shaky today, so sad because I love what I see when she is clean
  • Kristine has such great moments and some wonderful qualities but I wish she could have shown them today
  • FS Score: 36.13 (TES) + 42.46 (PCS) -2.00 (DED) = 76.59
  • 46.94 (SP) + 76.59 (FS) = 123.53
12) Alexe Gilles
     Music: Adagio/Nocturne/Bohemian Rhapsody
  • Nice triple lutz to start off
  • Fall on a double axel, she lost the combination for that
  • She is a lovely skater if she can land her jumps
  • This is gorgeous music and she does a lovely job of interpreting it
  • This is a lovely combination of musical selections
  • Pops the takeoff there
  • She seems to psych herself out if she makes a mistake on one jump, they all go
  • I'd love to see her have a really good nationals
  • She has a nice footwork sequence, but I'd like to see her have more control over her arms
  • I want her to be more of a fighter for these jumps
  • FS Score:  (TES) +  (PCS) = 76.00
  • 47.75 (SP) + 76.00 (FS) = 123.75
13) Caroline Zhang
     Music: Cello Conerto in B Minor by Dvorak
  • I'm praying for a good skate for Caroline
  • Nice triple flip combination
  • She has improved that high free leg
  • Fall on a triple lutz, high free leg came back
  • Another fall on her triple salchow
  • Nice triple loop combination
  • Caroline is really falling apart
  • I want her to love skating again
  • Its so sad that she is abandoning her choreography as well 
  • I just want her too fight, just like Alexe, I know she can land these if she tries
  • Fabulous pearl spin
  • FS Score: (TES) +  (PCS) = 92.47
  • 48.48 (SP) + 92.49 (FS) = 140.95
14) Joelle Forte
  • Nice triple flip opener
  • Nice triple lutz, may get an edge call, but decent combination
  • I had the tights folded over the boot
  • There is not much here in terms of choreography, but she is landing those jumps
  • Very nice skate, Joelle will be happy with that
  • FS Score: (TES) +  (PCS) = 102.25
  • 47.03 (SP) + 102.25 (FS) = 149.28
15) Yasmin Siraj
     Music: Misa Tango
  • Her piano background definitely helps her musicality
  • She had a good international season, qualified for the Jr Grand Prix Final
  • Pops the triple flip to a single
  • Triple lutz combo gets her right back into it
  • She could loosen up her upper body to get better flow
  • Double axel-falls on the triple toe
  • She is so tiny, but has a very mature, wise look about her
  • Nice performance of her choreography
  • Good triple lutz, she is getting her feet back under her
  • Starting to show a little sass here
  • Very nice donut spin position, lost a lot of the speed at the end
  • She is going to be a force to be reckoned with if she takes time to develop and doesn't rush herself too much
  • FS Score: (TES) +  (PCS) =  102.56
  • 49.91 (SP) + 102.56 (FS) = 152.47
16) Morgan Bell
  • She really impressed me in the short, her first nationals ever
  • Nice opening jump, then a fall
  • I really hope she doesn't unravel here, it would be great to see a good skate from her
  • Apparently she really struggled in practice today
  • She is struggling with her jumps
  • The pressure of TV may be getting to Morgan
  • FS Score: (TES) +  (PCS) = 69.84
  • 49.73 (SP) + 69.84 (FS) = 119.57
17) Ashley Wagner
     Music: Malaguena
  • Come on Ashley, do it like Cup of Russia
  • So much sass right here at the beginning
  • She is making use of every note of the music with choreography
  • Nice double axel, triple toe was maybe two-footed
  • Perfect triple lutz
  • Lovely spin positions
  • I want a huge score for her
  • She has so much spirit in this spiral sequence
  • I like that her spin positions are tailored to her choreography and the theme of the program
  • Most people don't do Malaguena justice, but she is working it
  • All the jumps are fabulous, just a totally different skater than in the short
  • Work it girl
  • Just popped open her last jump, probably got a little too into the performance
  • Nice attack and energy in the footwork sequence
  • Not the perfect skate I wanted for her, but should put her in first for now
  • FS Score: (TES) +  (PCS) = 110.73
  • 54.63 (SP) + 110.73 (FS) = 165.36
18) Vanessa Lam
     Music: Intro et Rondo Capriccioso
  • She has super long legs
  • She has nice body carriage for a young skater
  • Definitely needs to be more expressive
  • Wonderful technique and she has a great frame to build on
  • She got her legs really wrapped up underneath her and fell, unfortunately
  • FS Score: (TES) +  (PCS) =
  • 57.61 (SP) + (FS) =
19) Agnes Zawadzki
      Music: Ziegeunerweisen/Hungarian Rhapsody
  • I want her to really light up
  • Kill it Agnes
  • Double axel into a triple
  • Too much momentum going into that spin
  • Doubled her lutz
  • She has really nice presence on the ice, very committed to the presentation aspect
  • Huge triple lutz into combination
  • Hard fall on her triple loop
  • Nice three jump series
  • She has a lot of musicality, maturity as a performer
  • She has a lot of potential
  • She is getting a bit heavy on her feet, running out of steam a little
  • She does a pretty nice I-spin, needs to straighten that bottom leg
  • FS Score: (TES) +  (PCS) = 112.30 
  • 61.54 (SP) + 112.30 (FS) = 173.84
20) Christina Gao **
      Music: Yellow River Concerto
  • Nice triple-triple
  • She looks like she is on today, she really has her legs under her
  • Once she learns how to really use her long limbs, she'll be a sight to behold
  • She just did a three jump combo but I missed it because of the camera angle
  • I love the skirt movement, it really helps to highlight her speed
  • She is really lighting it up today
  • Fall on on a triple flip attempt
  • She really held on for dear life on that last jump
  • Pretty good performance for Christina, good showing and so much potential
  • FS Score: 55,58 (TES) + 54.19  (PCS) -1.00 (DED) =  108.77
  • 58.43 (SP) + 108.77 (FS) = 167.20
21) Alissa Czisny **
   Music: Winter & Spring by George Winston
  • I love that opening arm moment
  • Triple lutz-Double toe was clean
  • Triple flip very nice
  • So calm and lovely
  • Triple toe-double toe- double loop
  • Triple loop, turn out of it, but a turn out of it
  • Gorgeous spiral sequence
  • Second triple lutz, double toe
  • Triple salchow
  • Wonderful spins, just exquisite
  • She is killing the footwork now that she knows she has done her job with the jumps
  • Final spin was spectacular
  • Nobody does a Biellmann like that
  • I really just want to cry for her 
  • FS Score: 64.19 (TES) + 64.55 (PCS) = 128.74
  • 62.50 (SP) + 128.74 (FS) = 191.24
22) Mirai Nagasu
     Music: Memoirs of a Geisha
  • Alright let's see if she's tacked her demons or not
  • Triple lutz had a wide free leg-nice triple toe
  • Double axel-double combo
  • She seems to be skating conservatively
  • She is concentrating really hard, seems pretty tight
  • She is not going all out
  • This is the 3rd costume of the year for this program
  • Step out of that last jump there
  • She just doesn't seem committed to the choreography or the performance, very conservative
  • That error on the camel spin could have cost her the podium
  • FS Score: 53.45 (TES) + 60.45 (PCS) = 113.91
  • 63.35 (SP) + 113.91 (FS) = 177.26
23) Rachael Flatt
     Music: Slaughter on Tenth Avenue
  • Nice double axel, bobble on the triple
  • Double Lutz
  • Good performance commitment
  • Lovely triple flip
  • She is feeling this performance
  • She needs some work on that arabesque spiral
  • Attacked the triple lutz-double toe
  • Nice three jump series
  • Good triple there, she needs one more triple
  • Definitely more performance quality than Mirai
  • Step out of her final triple
  • Beautiful Ina Bauer on a nice long curve
  • We'll see how these scores pan out
  • FS Score:  (TES) +  (PCS) = 121.06
  • 62.32 (SP) + 121.06 (FS) = 183.38

2011 US Figure Skating Championships: Senior Free Dance

Alright everybody, the senior free dance is about to get underway. I'll be giving my commentary and thoughts on the elements and the performances as a whole. Feel free to leave me a comment!
** Denotes my choice in USFSA Fantasy Skating

1) Kristen Nardozzi & Robert Cuthbertson
   Music: Imagine/Revolution
  • Great to hear the Beatles, a great American musical selection
  • I don't love that they chose the GLEE version of Imagine versus the original John Lennon
  • These 60s costumes a a tad tacky for me
  • Kristen has a beautiful smile, but I hope she explores other ranges of emotion
  • I'd like them to hold their lift positions a bit longer
  • Oh Kristen tripped on her toe pick in the circular step sequence
  • I love that we get to hear lyrics in Ice Dance
  • That was a nice position in that one-arm rotational lift
  • They are really far apart in their twizzles, but the mirroring work is very nice
  • Using several versions of Imagine is a nice idea
  • Nice solid ending to them
  • Good performance, despite the fall
  • FD Score: 29.75 (TES) + 25.71 (PCS) -1.00 (DED) = 54.46
  • 38.53 (SD) + 54.46 (FD) = 92.99
2) Alison Carey & Ryan Van Nattan
   Music: James Bond
  • Nice difficult spin positions, but they lose speed
  • They start off out of synch, but get back together later in the twizzle sequence
  • There is some snow flying, which is a sign of unclean turns
  • They definitely can work on their fluidity and elegance
  • They seem to be dancing on top of the ice, rather than into the ice
  • They did a nice job, she really looks like a Bond Girl
  • As their first senior season, this will be a good building year for them
  • FD Score: 27.27 (TES) + 23.06 (PCS) -1.00 (DED) = 49.33
  • 34.35 (SD) + 49.33 (FD) = 83.68
3) Alissandra Aronow & Zachary Donohue 
   Music: Medley
  • This is another Zoueva/Shpilband team
  • Zachary used to skate with Piper Gilles, the twin of Alexe
  • They have been together less than a year
  • So far, a very fluid, sensual opening
  • They have some really fine lifts with interesting positions
  • They really use their knees a lot
  • Nice attack in those twizzles
  • Nice layed out camel position by Alissandra in the dance spin
  • Emily Samuelson just commented on their improved connection with each other on the ice
  • Alissandra shows some nice flexibility in the split position going into the rotational lift
  • That was a very strong free dance from them
  • FD Score:  32.54 (TES) + 31.98 (PCS) = 64.52
  • 40.84 (SD) + 64.52 (FD) = 105.36
4) Katharine Zeigler & Baxter Burbank
   Music: Ladies in Lavender
  • This is another team in their first year at senior Nationals
  • Slightly out of sync on their twizzles
  • Nice lyrical quality and elegance in their program
  • This won't medal, but it's a good beginning to their senior careers
  • FD Score: 30.41 (TES) + 27.30 (PCS) = 57.71 
  • 32.29 (SD) + 57.71 (FD) = 90.00
5) Katherine Pilgrim & Alexander Lorello
   Music: Sweet Emotion/Come Together/Walk This Way
  • They are starting right off with their dance spin
  • They are very close in height which gives them nice long lines on the ice
  • Very far apart in their twizzles, they'll want to get closer together in those in the future
  • He caught an edge and dropped her in a split position from a rotational lift
  • She has to be hurting right now
  • A fall like that will definitely hurt your performance quality
  • They seem like they are running out of steam here after that fall
  • Nice hydroblade move, I wish they would've hung onto the edge a little longer and rode a longer curve
  • Poor Katherine also had a serious collision during the warm up for the short dance and now this
  • FD Score: 22.92 (TES) + 25.68 (PCS) -1.00 (DED) = 47.60
  • 32.79 (SD) + 47.60 (FD) = 80.39
6) Ginna Hoptman & Pavel Filchenkov **

  • FD Score: (TES) +  (PCS) = 69.16
  • 48.37 (SD) + 69.16 (FD) = 117.53
7) Isabella Cannuscio & Ian Lorello
   Music: West Side Story

  • FD Score: (TES) +  (PCS) = 82.12
  • 54.43 (SD) + 82.12 (FD) = 136.55
8) Rachel Tibbets & Colin Brubaker

  • FD Score: (TES) +  (PCS) = 76.39
  • 41.86 (SD) + 76.39 (FD) = 118.25
9) Shannon Wingle & Timothy McKernan

  • FD Score: (TES) +  (PCS) = 75.13
  • 55.07 (SD) + 75.13 (FD) = 130.20
10) Meredith Zuber & Kyle Herring

  • FD Score: (TES) +  (PCS) = 73.64
  • 44.42 (SD) + 73.64 (FD) = 118.06 
11) Madison Chock & Greg Zuerlein
     Music: Cabaret
  • I've been saying all season that they look like a young Liza Minnelli & Joel Grey, thats a compliment
  • Greg has great facial expression here to keep up with Madison
  • Nice twizzle series, very solid
  • They just banged it out
  • Awesome speed in teh circular step sequence, good tight turns here
  • Greg is killing me with this performance, Joel Grey would be so proud
  • I love this spin they do at the beginning of The Money Song
  • Loving everything about them
  • They've been the team I've been pulling for all season
  • I love that upside down lift they do in The Money Song
  • Those tight turns at the end of the Money Song are so tight, they had falls there at Grand Prix Paris but so clean here
  • oooo time for Liza, work the Liza Madison!
  • That final rotational lift was awesome!
  • FD Score: 48.07 (TES) + 44.81 (PCS) = 92.88
  • 61.74 (SD) + 92.88 (FD) = 154.62
12) Maia Shibutani & Alex Shibutani
     Music: Smile/Let's Face The Music And Dance
  • So precious, I just love it
  • This is so elegant, maturity beyond their years
  • They look like a 25-year old seasoned veteran team out there
  • Every moment is just so special, there is so much detail
  • They are so gentle and delicate in those holds
  • That combination lift is fantastic and he sets her down so gently 
  • I love the transition here into the second piece
  • They are twizzle masters, they are so good the do three sets 
  • He lifts her like nobody's business
  • They just are so heartwarming, they have something so very special about them
  • They have that X-factor performance quality that you just can't teach
  • They could be the next Olympic champions, they are that good at such a young age
  • FD Score: 52.34 (TES) + 50.37 (PCS) = 102.71
  • 70.47 (SD) + 102.71 (FD) = 173.18
13) Madison Hubbell & Keiffer Hubbell
     Music: Medley by Yellow & Art of Noise
  • Their programs always have a bit too much sensuality for me for a brother/sister team
  • They have some unison issues on their twizzles, they are pushing it too much
  • They do have nice long lines because they are both so tall
  • They hit some innovative lift positions
  • Nice use of the hydroblade technique there
  • I love the low positions they get to in those balance moves, that's a way that they use their height similarity to their advantage
  • They look a little wild in my opinion, not as crisp and clean as I would like
  • FD Score: 41.86 (TES) + 41.93 (PCS) = 83.79
  • 57.91 (SD) + 83.79 (FD) = 141.70
14) Lynn Kriengkrairut & Logan Giulietti-Schmitt **
  • They are on my fantasy team so I'm rooting for them
  • They have nice speed, but I want them to calm down a bit and not get so wild
  • Nice lift with Logan on one foot
  • Arms were a little out of unison on the twizzles
  • She is flying around his head really quickly in some of those lifts
  • I'm not sure who their coaches are, but they have some pretty innovative lifts
  • They don't have the speed and difficulty of the Zoueva/Shpilband teams in their footwork sequences
  • Nice dance spin sequence, she uses her free arm quite well as well
  • Oh wow Lynn just fell and pulled Logan down on top her
  • That is really going to hurt their score, which is unfortunate because they had been doing so well
  • FD Score: 40.00 (TES) + 42.83 (PCS) -2.00 (DED)  = 79.83
  • 58.59 (SD) + 79.83 (FD) = 138.42
15) Meryl Davis & Charlie White **
     Music: Tango Medley
  • I have a feeling this is just a preview of the 2011 World Champions
  • Another new costume for Meryl, I love the skirt on this one
  • They have such amazing speed
  • I love that lift where Meryl rests on the back of Charlie's leg
  • They have such intricate and complicated holds
  • They are soo good at the small details like head positions and hand movements
  • Phenomenal twizzles
  • This is an expertly choreographed program that does not waste a single moment of the music
  • Every time they get through that moment where they fell at Skate America, I breath a little easier
  • Meryl has to have such amazing abdominal strength to hold some of those lift positions
  • They have to be so exhausted after this program
  • I love how distinctive those three poses are at the end of the program
  • FD Score: 52.16 (TES) + 57.28 (PCS) = 109.44
  • 76.04 (SD) + 109.44 (FD) = 185.48
Final Standings:

2011 US Figure Skating Championships: Senior Pairs Free Skate

Here we are with the senior pairs in their free skate. We are starting at about 10:50 EST with the first two groups of three, we'll then cut to ice dance and come back live on NBC for the final groups in pairs and dance. **denotes my picks in USFSA Fantasy Skating

1) Erika Smith & Nathan Bartholomay
   Music: Alexander
  • That was a nice cartwheel move at the beginning
  • Solid lifts
  • Nice throws, they are really putting on a nice showing here
  • That group 5 star lift was really stellar, especially with the music
  • This music is very nice for them, and I like the choreography as well
  • FS Score: 47.00 (TES) + 41.99 (PCS) = 88.99
  • 43.60 (SP) + 88.99 (FS) = 132.59
2) Chloe Katz & Joseph Lynch
   Music: Music from Henry V
  • That was a bit of a rough catch on the split twist
  • Their speed is very nice
  • I like that their costumes go together but don't match
  • Wow she took a tough fall onto her stomach on the 1st throw, hits boards
  • That is unfortunate for her, they were really flying
  • She doubles her side by side triple toe loop, he is clean
  • Group 5 lasso into hand-to-hip lift with him actually skating crossovers under her
  • She holds onto a beautiful triple throw lift
  • She shows some nice flexibility
  • Their lifts are nicely placed on the hilights in the music
  • FS Score: 52.35 (TES) + 42.37 (PCS) -1.00 (DED) = 93.62
  • 46.38 (SP) + 93.62 (FS) = 140.00
3) Lisa Moore & Justin Gaumond
   Music: No, No, Nanette
  • I loved them in the short skating to Singin in the Rain
  • They have a nice jazzy, whimsical quality about them
  • Throw double loop was clean, and she landed safely
  • SBS double toe-double toe
  • I like Peter Carruthers, am not a fan of the "creative" death spiral where the lady grabs the foot going in
  • She was so tilted in the air on that last throw and just crumbled
  • FS Score: 43.63 (TES) + 38.51 (PCS) -1.00 (DED) = 81.14
  • 46.44 (SP) + 81.14 (FS) = 127.58
4) Gretchen Donlan & Andrew Speroff
   Music: Stairway to Heaven 
  • Nice strong catch on the triple twist, good flow out
  • She hung onto that SBS triple landing for sure
  • I like the upside down entrance into the press lifts, they shift to a hand to hip with Andrew skating underneath of her
  • I though she had that double axle, but she lost her footing
  • Gorgeous flowing landing on her throw
  • Nice low death spiral position
  • They put up some great lifts, especially with difficult entrances
  • Their second throw is equally strong
  • This is a very nice program, conceptually and choreographically
  • They should go solidly into first here
  • Andrew is so strong for her and really shows her off nicely
  • Gretchen could use some ballet to teach her to stretch out her legs and point her feet
  • Coach Sheryl was in tears!
  • FS Score: 51.29 (TES) + 46.34 (PCS) -1.00 (DED) = 96.63
  • 48.62 (SP) + 96.63 (FS) = 145.25
5) Becky Bereswill & Trevor Young
   Music: Chicago
  • I hope they use actual Fosse movements 
  • Her dress is incredible
  • They have some nice speed
  • Good solid double axel-double toe
  • I really love the choreography in this piece
  • Opting for a split double twist
  • I really like this team and I hope they place high enough to get some senior Grand Prix assignments
  • She has learned quickly to process the lifts and throws 
  • Becky really eeks out the landing on that throw triple loop, she was so tilted and still pulled it out
  • That reverse overhead is so difficult and they hit it like it's nothing
  • He lifts her so elegantly and makes her look so light
  • This is such an entertaining program and she they've really chose the best selections form Chicago
  • Mistake at the end, he loses the pivot on the death spiral and and almost loses her
  • FS Score: 47.11 (TES) + 42.84 (PCS) -1.00 (DED)= 88.94
  • 48.77 (SP) + 88.94 (FS) = 137.71
6) Molly Aaron & Daniyel Cohen **
    Music: Malaguena
  • They are on my fantasy team so I'm pulling for them
  • I like that they took a moment to really get into character before beginning
  • She puts her hand down on the first throw, but it had a lot of height
  • Molly takes a hard fall on the opening jump
  • They hit some nice unique positions in their overhead lifts
  • Not the best skate they have every done, they won't be too happy about that one
  • FS Score: 49.40 (TES) + 43.39 (PCS) -3.00 (DED) = 85.59
  • 47.24 (SP) + 85.59 (FS) = 136.83
7) Lindsay Davis & Themisthocles Leftheris
  • Missed skate due to late NBC coverage
  • FS Score: (TES) +  (PCS) = 97.18
  • 51.07 (SP) + 97.18 (FS) = 148.25
8) Tiffany Vise & Don Baldwin
    Music: Mona Lisa Overdrive/The Mission
  • Missed skate due to late NBC coverage
  • FS Score: (TES) +  (PCS) = 96.97
  •  54.29(SP) + 96.97 (FS) = 151.26
9) Marissa Castelli & Simon Shnapir
   Music: Avatar
  • Missed skate due to late NBC coverage
  • FS Score: (TES) +  (PCS) = 100.44
  • 51.48 (SP) + 100.44 (FS) = 151.92
10) Caydee Denney & Jeremy Barrett
     Music: Rhapsody in Blue
  • We now have Tom Hammond, Sandra Bezic, and Scott Hamilton as the live commentators, such an upgrade, though I do love Peter Carruthers
  • Caydee is so sassy, and Jeremy has worked so hard to live up to her performance levels
  • Nice clean catch on the triple twist
  • Side by side triple toes, beautifully landed, good work Caydee, such a fighter
  • Nice throw triple lutz on a huge musical crescendo
  • Jeremy steps out of the first double axel in the sequence but the second set is clean
  • This middle section in center ice is gorgeous
  • Just beautiful  choreography by David Wilson
  • Great spin sequence, great unicson
  • Nice position by Caydee in the lasso lift
  • Nice strong landing by Caydee in the second throw triple
  • Great hand to hip lift
  • This is wonderful music for them and they use it beautifully
  • That's a nice position by Caydee in that death spiral
  • They have such great speed and exuberance in this ending section
  • They get such nice lift positions, especially with Jeremy on just one foot
  • Great pair spin here at the end, wonderful camel positions
  • FS Score: 59.36 (TES) +58.34  (PCS) = 117.70
  • 57.79 (SP) + 117.70 (FS) = 175.49
11) Mary Beth Marley & Rockne Brubaker **
     Music: The Addam's Family
  • Marybeth is ready to light it up
  • I like their look together
  • Not a clean catch, but huge height on the split triple twist
  • Nice Triple-double combo
  • Oh wow something happened there and they both tripped over each other
  • Wonderful recovery into a lasso lift
  • I wanted this so much for them
  • She recovered so well and landed that lift like a champ
  • Nice spiral sequence from both of them
  • She gets a great low death spiral position
  • They have a really nice look on the ice and performance quality
  • They need to work a bit on their side by side jumps, especially the timing, but that will come with time
  • She eeks out that throw like a fighter
  • They have some phenomenal lifts, what a great pair partner he is
  • This little tango moment is so fun
  • I love the spin sequence on the traditional Addams Family music
  • They stay in perfect unison in the spins until the very last position change
  • What a performer she is
  • I am so impressed by how fast she has learned all of these elements, what a little champ she is
  • I hope they stay together because they have so much potential
  • FS Score: 44,16 (TES) + 52.29 (PCS) -2.00 (DED)= 105.45
  • 58.10 (SP) + 105.45 (FS) = 163.55
12) Caitlin Yankowskas & John Coughlin **
     Music: Ave Maria
  • Alright lets light it up guys, you've got this
  • This opening pose is to die for
  • I'm crying already, can't contain my emotion
  • Opening double axels are crisp and clean
  • Gorgeous split triple twist
  • Not the most beautiful, but Caitlin lands that throw like the fighter she is
  • Great three jump series, so in sync
  • Everything looks so effortless, they are just letting it happen and not forcing it or muscling it
  • Great death spiral and fantastic spin sequence, spins get a little out of sync at the end
  • Caitlin really does look like an angel
  • I love the way she seems to float in that spiral sequence
  • Gorgeous throw triple, she lands it like it is nothing at all
  • Their lifts are effortless because he is just so strong for her and she has such incredible positions
  • That ending pose is phenomenal 
  • FS Score: 61.97 (TES) + 62.18 (PCS) = 124.15
  • 64.30 (SP) + 124.15 (FS) = 188.45
13) Amanda Evora & Mark Ladwig
     Music: Nessun Dorma
  • This should be another big number if they can skate perfectly
  • These costumes are gorgeous
  • Their triple twist has such quick rotation
  • Great Side by side triple toes on a huge musical crescendo
  • This music and choreography are fantastic for them
  • That was  very strong throw triple lutz
  • Now when we get into the more lyrical part of the program is where they really shine
  • Slight unison loss at the end of their spins
  • Fantastic spiral sequence
  • Side double axles, they both fight for each jump, possibly two-footed and/or step out
  • Those side by side camels are such an interesting position for spins
  • Their lifts are phenomenal and they perform them in the back half of the program to gain a lot of points on them
  • Throw triple loop was huge, Amanda has to put her hands down to control it
  • That one hand to hip lift onto one foot is just stellar, especially on these musical crescendos
  • Not perfect, but a very very nice skate for them indeed
  • Exit from the last lift was a little clunky but I think they did enough to stay in second, in my opinion
  • FS Score: 62.09 (TES) + 60.26 (PCS) = 122.35
  • 62.87 (SP) + 122.35 (FS) = 185.22

Friday, January 28, 2011

2011 US Figure Skating Championships: Senior Mens Short Program

1) Keegan Messing
   Music: Robin Hood
  • Costume definitely fits the piece
  • He looks very focused and in the zone
  • Good height on triple axel, needs more flow out of it
  • Triple lutz-triple toe combo
  • Nice flying camel position
  • Nice spread eagle into footwork into a triple flip
  • Traveling a lot on his sit spin
  • He looks a little wild and off balance on his footwork
  • Footwork choreography fits the theme of the piece very well
  • Uses his knees nicely in the footwork
  • Great ending pose, very Robin Hood
  • SP Score: 37.61 (TES) + 32.18 (PCS) = 69.79

2) Adam Rippon
    Music: Romeo & Juliet
  • Such beauty in this program, his face from the beginning is amazing
  • Turn out of his triple axel
  • Triple flip-triple triple toe is solid
  • His donut spin is lovely
  • He just fell in his signature Rippon lutz
  • He is still putting everything into the performance aspect
  • I am very surprised by this
  • He does some really great spins
  • SP Score: 32.76 (TES) + 34.50 (PCS) -1.00 = 66.26
3) Brandon Mroz
    Music: The Barber of Seville
  • He has performed as a performer so much after working with Sandra Bezic
  • Shaky quad toe into a double toe
  • Big triple axel with a skid on the landing, won't get a good GOE
  • He needs more flexibility in his spins
  • He looks a little tight on all of his jumps, but those are probably his nerves
  • That was not Brandon's best, but it may have been enough tonight
  • SP Score: 37.96 (TES) + 33.65 (PCS) = 71.61
4) Jonathan Cassar
    Music: El Tango de Roxanne
  • This is a perfect costume for this piece of music
  • Slide on the entrance to the triple lutz, fall
  • Solid double axel
  • Definitely not the technical content of the other skaters, but a lovely performer nonethely
  • Triple loop-double toe
  • Nice spins
  • That inside camel was fantastic
  • This footwork is lovely, just so emotional and such good use of the upper body
  • Finished slightly after the music
  • SP Score: 24.84 (TES) + 32.14 (PCS) -1.00= 55.98
5) Jeremy Abbott
    Music: Viejos Aires
  • This program was choreographed by a dance choreographer, he learned it all on the floor and Yuka Sato transferred it to the ice
  • He has had to work a lot on his performance quality this year, definitely a departure for him
  • Triple flip-triple toe, looked easy for him
  • Nice triple axel, it was like straight up and down rather than covering a lot of ice
  • He really attacks the choreography in this Spanish program
  • Fought for a landing on the triple lutz
  • Very nice footwork with arms in traditional flamenco poses
  • He is really attacking this straight line sequence so hard
  • He had a fire in him tonight, FIERCE
  • SP Score: 38.57 (TES) + 39.82 (PCS) = 78.39
6) Wesley Campbell
    Music: Orion by Metallica
  • Hello shiny costume, that is such a choice
  • Skidded out of the landing on the triple lutz, but got the combo
  • Triple axel, turn out of it
  • His camels look really nice because his legs are so long
  • SP Score: 32.07 (TES) + 27.28 (PCS) = 59.35
7) Jason Brown
    Music: Baliwood
  • He has such great speed
  • Why is he wearing a matador jacket in a Baliwood number
  • That was a heinous crotch shot moment
  • He has a lot of kicks in that footwork 
  • SP Score: 33.71 (TES) + 30.61 (PCS) = 64.32
8) Douglas Razzano
    Music: The Feeling Begins
  • Nice opening triple axel
  • Quadruple toe
  • Triple toe-triple toe combo
  • That came out of nowhere!
  • SP Score: 40.72 (TES) + 28.89 (PCS) = 69.61
9) Parker Pennington
    Music: Chocolat
  • I'll give it to him, he's really selling the choreography
  • Fall on a triple axel
  • Triple-double combo
  • Triple flip
  • Not the strongest 
  • SP Score: 27.38 (TES) + 29.11 (PCS) = 55.49

10) Andrew Gonzales
    Music: Tocatta in Fugue in D minor
  • Solid triple flip-triple toe
  • Big height, but only a double axel
  • Had that triple lutz, but landed on his butt
  • He could use a lot more speed
  • SP Score: 29.02 (TES) + 26.39 (PCS) -1.00 = 54.41

11) Ross Miner
    Music: Salsa Medley
  • Work the triple axel!!!!
  • Triple lutz-double toe, fought for the landings
  • He is working this Spanish number for sure!
  • He could use a little lower position on his sit spin
  • SP Score: 35.66 (TES) + 32.22 (PCS) = 57.99

12) Grant Hochstein
    Music: Massenet's Suite No. 3 & Herodiade
  • Triple lutz-triple toe was solid
  • Nice solid triple axel, he rarely lands them in competition
  • Nice floating arms in the camel position
  • Triple loop was good
  • Nice attack on the footwork
  • SP Score: 34.37 (TES) + 31.39 (PCS) = 65.76

13) Sean Rabbitt
    Music: Thriller/Beat It
  • Hand down on triple lutz-triple toe
  • Two footed triple flip
  • Oh wow he just fell on a choreographic moment
  • Wow he is clearly off balance
  • SP Score: 26.27 (TES) + 26.15 (PCS) 1.00 (DED) = 51.42

14) Scott Dyer
    Music: Ash by Michael Tork
  • Nice triple toe
  • Solid double axel
  • Interesting position on his spin--a broken leg twist
  • He is a very delicate skater
  • He is picking up speed in her spins
  • SP Score:  (TES) +  (PCS) = 55.78

15) Ryan Bradley
     Music: Boogie Woogie Bugle Booy
  • I'm having such a moment here
  • Quad toe-triple toe ahmaaaaaaazing
  • Triple axel so solid
  • Nice turned out foot on his camel
  • Amazingly high triple flip, perfection
  • Good variations on his spins
  • I am so obsessed right now!!!!
  • Love the camel into the hinge spin
  • Obsessed
  • Loving the ending pose in such a big way
  • SP Score:  (TES) +  (PCS) = 80.39

16) Christopher Caluza
     Music: Nightmare
  • Fierce aerial
  • Needs some work on his spin positions
  • SP Score: 31.87 (TES) + 27.41 (PCS) = 59.28

17) Lloyd Ting
     Music: Taquito
  • He has a FIERCE silver lame vest on...loving it
  • Fought for the triple flip
  • He had a nice lunge moment
  • He just carved a golf-ball sized hole in the ice with his forward tilted spin
  • SP Score: 23.82 (TES) + 21.68 (PCS) = 44.50

18) Joshua Farris
     Music: El Dron
  • Tough fall for Josh
  • He needed more Spanish moments earlier in the program
  • He is working the footwork
  • SP Score: 34.47 (TES) + 27.44 (PCS) -1.00 = 60.91

19) Jason Wong
     Music: Sweet Remembrance of You
  • He is loving spread eagle
  • He has some nice jumps
  • Fierce split jump moment aimed at the judges
  • He is working the facial emotion
  • SP Score: 32.48
  •  (TES) + 29.72 (PCS) =62.20

20) Richard Dornbush
     Music: Elena by Brian Setzer
  • Loving the Spanish detail and hand gestures
  • Big triple axel landed in a penchay
  • Work the low sit spin
  • He landed his triple flip in a lunge, was that a choreographic choice?
  • Work the Spanish flair Richard!
  • SP Score: 35.32 (TES) + 32.39 (PCS) = 67.71

21) Armin Mahbanoozadeh
     Music: Mario Takes A Walk & Prelude by Jesse Cook
  • Work the triple axel Armin
  • Triple flip-triple toe
  • Interesting arched moment in the camel spin
  • Hands down on a triple lutz
  • Fierce high kick
  • A lot of great spin moments
  • SP Score: 34.42 (TES) + 33.35 (PCS) = 66.77

22) Alexander Johnson
     Music: Caravan by Duke Ellington
  • His costume looks like a modified caftan
  • That ending was such a choice
  • SP Score: 30.30 (TES) + 28.00 (PCS) -1.00 =57.30