The dance event at Four Continents features several of the top teams in the world, and a lot of up and coming dance teams you may not have heard of just yet- the best of both worlds! There are three North American teams favored for the podium, and two more of them battling it out in the top five. Let’s take a look at those top five:
Weaver/Poje--- GP Season Best 182.66 GPF--- So far this season, the Canadian champs are undefeated and coming off a strong performance at their national championships. Last year, the only competition they lost was the World title, where they were a disappointing third. They are favored to win here, but there are two other teams hot on their heels. I expect them to be skating well as they set themselves up for a rematch with the reigning World champions Papadakis/Cizeron in Boston.
Chock/Bates---GP Season Best 177.55 GPF--- Though Chock/Bates came in second at the U.S. Championships, the reigning World silver medallists looked stronger there than we’ve seen them all season. I know they’ll be hungry here, and I think they will skate well. I would argue that it is their material, not their skating, that has fallen a bit short this year, but they are a very good team and have historically scored better than their American teammates internationally. A win over the Shibutanis is crucial for them here heading to Boston.
Shibutani/Shibutani--- GP Season Best 174.92--- Riding high on their much deserved national title, the Shibutanis need to skate lights out in Taipei City to keep their season’s momentum alive. Now that a national panel has scored them above Chock/Bates, will an international panel be willing to do the same? We will find out, but the Shibs have no room for error. They are such a consistent team and I see that continuing here. They may be in third after the short dance, but if they can keep a close margin heading to the free, the magic of Coldplay can do wonders for them again.
Hubbell/Donahue--- GP Season Best 163.20 GPF--- A coaching change has given new life into this team and their emotional Hallelujah short dance is truly a beautiful piece. They were overshadowed at the U.S. Championships, but they really did have a strong event in St. Paul. With this field, I think their quality will have a chance to shine. I am hoping the judges take note of that short dance and place them near the top teams heading into the free.
Gilles/Prioir---GP Season Best 157.58 SA---It’s been a tough year for these two, placing lower at their Grand Prix events than they’d hoped and missing out on the Final. They are truly strong skaters, but their atypical packaging stands in the way of that quality shining through on the ice. I love them for being different, but I wish their look was more simple so the eye could focus on their skating skills. Strong skates here will give them a boost for Boston as they will face a tough challenge in trying to maintain their 6th place standing from last year.
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Reviews, predictions and opinions in the magical, sparkly and dramatic field of figure skating.