Cup of China – Ladies and Ice Dance

My internal clock is completely messed up. Hopefully I’ll be able to wake up in a few hours to watch the last flight of the men’s LP live… The FD has just ended but I didn’t watch that live. Since I’m talking about ice-dance at the moment, I think I’ll start with that…

Ice Dance

I had predicted a Faiella/Scali win due to their win at Worlds last season even though I do prefer Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat. I admit, I lacked faith in them so first, I apologize for my lack of faith and I will say that I’m very proud of them. They won both portions of the competition, according to the scores. Their SD isn’t completely spectacular but I like the fact that their music is from one source only (Dr. Zhivago) so there’s some sort of continuity in the music. The biggest surprise was Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Sloviev‘s silver medal. I remember seeing them live last year. They were impressive but they still had a bit of a “junior-ish” quality to them. I’m not a big fan of their SD at the moment. The music is weird, their twizzles were messy and poorly executed and everything feels really frantic but they have improved in terms of speed. I remember them crawling on the ice during their random sailor OD last year. Watching that was not fun. Faiella’s creepy eyes and crazy costume definitely did not give me a good first impression of their SD and it seemed to get worse from there. There was some issue with the costume so they stopped during the waltz sequence and the ending just looked like a hot mess in terms of choreography. I would’ve marked them lower than the Russians in the SD but I guess things turned out in the end.

Gold: Nathalie Pechalat & Fabian Bourzat
Silver: Ekaterina Bobrova & Dmitri Sloviev
Bronze: Federica Faiella & Massimo Scali

Ladies

The long program is happening right now as I’m typing this and I’m debating whether I should pull an all-nighter and watch starting with the final flight or get at least an hour or so of sleep. I’m not really interested in anyone but the top three anyways. In any case… Mirai Nagasu took the short program with a slight lead over Akiko Suzuki. Mirai began with a lovely triple lutz-double toe. Her triple flip was a bit shaky on the landing and her double axel was fine. I love how she extends her limbs as if she’s really tall although I feel as if she doesn’t quite finish her movements and so she doesn’t seem to have a certain “polished” quality when she moves. I think the “polish” will come later in the season when she’s used to competing with the program.

Akiko Suzuki seems to have matured a bit in terms of performance. I love how she put her heart and soul into the acting bit of her programs. Her jumps are rather lovely with fast rotations in the air, although she stepped out of her lutz in her SP. Akiko has decent, jumps and footwork but I’d like to see her work on her lines. Her elbows and knees are a bit angular and breaks the line, which is a bit awkward when she wants to express the more lyrical bits of the music (like the violin part in the last part of her SP).

Save for the random bits of cheerleader-like posing during her step sequence and the long pauses, I actually thought that Miki Ando‘s SP wasn’t half bad. She made that triple lutz-triple loop combination look so easy after struggling with it for so many seasons and other than a wonky landing on her double axel, it was a pretty decent skate. Her presentation skills have definitely improved since her 2007 Worlds win and her layback spin isn’t so damaging to the eyes anymore. The judges seem to have marked her down on transitions, but she beat Mirai and Akiko in all of the other categories. In truth, I’m a bit torn with Miki Ando. After watching her on a game show, I’ve discovered that she has a wonderful spunky personality and I commend her for skating after being lambasted by the media by her disastrous performance at the 2006 Olympics. She has such power in her jumps but she’s also a bit of a “clunky” skater with programs that aren’t as pretty as she is. Sigh. She needs a new choreographer. And get she needs to get away from the Russian Gino aka Nikolai Morozov.

In any case, I give up on sleeping. I’ll rest for 15 minutes and hopefully I’ll be awake in time to watch these three ladies skate.

~The Rinkside Cafe

Edit: Just finished watching the top 3 of the final flight of the ladies LP. Mirai Nagasu has just finished skating and she will probably lose the top spot after a fall and a popped jump. She didn’t look very confident from the beginning. The look on her face reminded me of Sasha Cohen before her LP. Akiko Suzuki unravelled in the second half of her LP but started out well. Miki Ando delivered a good skate but her choreography leaves much to be desired.

Mirai’s LP score came down hard, she’s now off the podium. Ouch.

Podium:

Gold: Miki Ando
Silver: Akiko Suzuki
Bronze: Alena Leonova

Full LP results here.

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