As my first experience watching skating live, I have to say that the skaters are amazing to see in person! We were allowed to sit wherever we wanted for practices, so of course- I had to sit front row. Being *that* close to the skaters was so incredible. I now have so much respect for the skaters after seeing what the practice atmosphere is like. With all of the people, cameras and distractions it is amazing that they can stay so focused.
MEN: I loved Brenden Kerry's music selection for his "secrets" themed long program. Alexi Bychenko looked unrecognizable with his hair cut, but he had a solid run through of Les Mis. Shoma Uno had a great, clean run through of his short program, including a solid quad. I am feeling confident with picking him to win at this point. Denis Ten had a few errors, but much better than I had feared he would be, considering his injury and boot issues of late. Brown fell on his quad attempt and an axel, but his program is beautiful. Hopefully he can land on the podium.
PAIRS: Sui/Han looked incredibly confident, and skated very well. All of their elements looked consistent and solid. Alexa Scimeca had a fire in her eye (and looked fabulous in her sparkly leg warmers) and they had a great quad twist in their run through. I'm hoping she stays fiery enough to grab that third spot on the podium. Kayne and OShea worked on a throw quad sal, that they plan to skate in the free. I thought Alexa and Chris looked more confident in comparison, but we will see how that translates to competition. Stolbova/Klimov had a few rough moments, including a random fall on a death spiral, but the bigger elements looked better than what we'd seen earlier in the season. Seguin/Bilodeau have a very apparent emotional connection and I really noted how much he connected to their music and emoted to it.
DANCE: Surprise, indeed-Chock/Bates have changed their short program music entirely from what we've seen at Nebelhorn. We didn't see much of it today, but their free run through looked very strong. I thought that Gilles/Prior also looked incredibly solid and it was fun to be so close to them- she has this way of looking at him in the eyes when they're skating and its very endearing. I really liked Wang/Lui's costumes and music- they were really lovely to watch. Hawayek/Baker had some great moments in their free run through. Can't wait to see that one live!
LADIES: I think Satoko Miyahara jumped more than other person in that rink- she was a little machine! She fell on her combo in her SP run through, but she really looked strong otherwise- just doing element after element. Gracie looked nervous to me in her runthrough with a couple falls. Her 3Lz-3T looked improved to me, though. It was much more controlled. I was surprised with how well Julia Lipnitskya skated- she looked much better than the competition video we're seeing. Who knows how that will translate to the competition, but honestly, she looked good. Miyu Nakashio looked dead on on all of her jumps as well- she had a great practice. Karen Chen also looked steady, she made a few mistakes, but honestly, she emotes better than most of the other ladies. Mariah Bell looked fabulous in her practice outfit, and she just looks so happy on the ice. I hope she can find some consistency with her elements.
Overall, I had a fabulous day watching! I can't wait for tomorrow!
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Reviews, predictions and opinions in the magical, sparkly and dramatic field of figure skating.