The men’s event at TEB was quite a good show. I didn’t watch the entire event but I did watch the top 5 perform their short programs.Takahiko Kozuka is in the lead after posting a clean skate (he did land a bit forward on the blade of his 3A though) with a score of 77.64. Kozuka has been reportedly working on his PCS because he’s been losing a lot of marks on it and he’s not P-overinflated-Chan so he doesn’t get crazy marks for randomly kicking and occasionally flashing an angsty face.
I think part of Takahiko’s problem with PCS is not that he’s completely expressionless; in fact, the lovely fans at ontd_skating have dedicated a post to him that’s full of pictures of his angsty faces. What he lacks are programs with a purpose, emotion or story to tell. I mean, take a look at his short program this year: it’s a soul medley but seriously, what’s that supposed to mean? The music itself is a bit confusing because I don’t quite hear the “soul”… actually his music reminds me of elevator music or the tunes they play for you when you’re on hold because you’re waiting for a customer service representative to take your call. Secondly, what on earth is he trying to express? The boredom and apathy you feel because this is the 5th time you’ve had to call your internet service provider because of your slow internet connection? His LP has the same flaw although it falls back on a more classical, lyrical style so he can sort of get away with not showing too much expression.
Florent Amodio is second at the moment and is currently having a pretty good season so far, compared to his French teammate, Brian Joubert. Florent is talented and can go far once he gets consistency and harder jumps into his program but at the moment, he’s really gaining international popularity with his charm and personality. However, even with Amodio as a star in the making, the French Federation doesn’t seem to have completely abandoned Joubert. He stepped out of 2 of his jumps and singled his triple toe that was the 2nd part of a combination and those errors were costly. His PCS are a bit suspicious (although not as suspicious as those of a Canadian we love to hate) considering that he lacks any form of expression without his hip thrusts and crotch grabs, although is flamenco SP is admittedly well choreographed and the performance part of it has been well executed so far this season.
I would’ve given him really lower PCS in his LP at the Cup of China because it was just about the most awkward thing I’ve ever watched. I think by the end of that program, you were just as confused as Brian was with his LP. He’s admitted that he doesn’t quite get his LP and doesn’t connect very well with it and it’s painfully obvious. Still, without his jumps in hand, he’s going to have trouble this season with strange PCS or not. At the moment, we’ll just have to wait for the French Championships and Euros to see what the French federation wants to do with its top 2 French men. One is a rising star while the other one is getting old… At least he’s still kinda cute though.
Brandon Mroz rounds out the top 3, thanks to his quad-toe, triple toe, although he had this weird trip coming out of his triple axel but did a clean triple lutz. His TES ended up being higher than Kozuka’s but his PCS killed his score. It’s a bit of a pity because the guy does have lovely lines and hands although the choreography doesn’t seem to take full advantage of that. And I still take issue with his slow spins. Mroz seems to be on the rise this season now that Evan and Johnny are gone but we’ll have to wait and see how he fares against Jeremy Abbott and the rising American men’s star, Adam Rippon.
In 4th place is Chafik Besseghier who was a huge surprise for me. Although Besseghier only did a double axel, this guy is the epitome of what Evan Lysacek should’ve done with his long limbs. There was some frantic waving but this guy showed some connection with the music as he tried to time his arm movements with the music rather than wave them for no rhyme or reason. I’m slightly endeared to this guy for some reason, I hope for his future success. He might want to avoid shiny fabric for pants in the future though.
Anyways, the detailed results are here.
I’ll try and blog about the rest of the competition tomorrow.
~The Rinkside Cafe