Since I was able to watch the entire Short Dance and Men's Short Program on IceNetwork, I thought I'd record my thoughts as I watched. It was refreshing to see a large and enthusiastic crowd at the event after the smattering of people in the arena at Skate America.
The Men's Short Program started with Elladj Balde, a Canadian making his Senior Grand Prix debut. This was the first time I've seen him skate, and I thought he had good flair in his footwork. I appreciated that he didn't use the typical music cuts for his Spanish-themed program.
Ross Miner - After the great end to his 2010-11 season, I was excited to see how he would start this season. Unfortunately, a singled axel and a lessened combination didn't make for a good beginning. His program was the same short he did last year. I thought he should've gotten a new costume to freshen it up a bit.
Denis Ten - I love the basics of his skating. His music is rather somber and couldn't be used in ice dance, but he makes it work. Stumble on the triple axel, but Frank Carroll seemed happy in the Kiss & Cry.
Andrei Rogozine - Another Canadian I was seeing for the first time. He had very sharp and intense footwork, but I wasn't crazy about his style of movement or his music selection.
Javier Fernandez - It's immediately evident from the classiness of his costume that he's been freed from Morozov. Huge quad! The last section of his music ("I Love Paris") brings back memories of Michelle Kwan and Brian Boitano skating together on a TV special (the MK ubers will remember). Huge score!
Alexander Majorov - Hadn't seen this Swede before. From his busy shirt, I was expecting some sort of disco music. Turned out to be Austin Powers. His jump entries looked a little awkward to me. Good personality, but the music made me think yet again how Lichtman/Copely should've been invited to fill the open ice dance spot.
Adam Rippon - I got to see him perform this short program in August at the Evening on Ice show in L.A., where he brought the house down. He did a great job with it tonight, too, with a little hiccup on the triple axel. I was expecting a higher score, and the protocols tell me an under-rotated jump was the issue.
Kevin Van Der Perren - The Feeling Begins . . . again. Still trying to figure out how The Feeling Begins and Cirque du Soleil fit together as a music mix . . .
Patrick Chan - We can always count on Pat to be eco-friendly and recycle programs. I've had an extreme dislike of "Take 5" since the early 2000's when everyone and their brother seemed to skate to it, so I had a hard time getting into this program. He does have some impressive footwork.
Daisuke Takahashi - A sharp contrast after Chan. His music is soulful and allows for much greater depth of feeling than Pat's jazzy tune. As always, Dai shows he can truly dance on ice, moving like liquid around the rink. He looks in fighting shape!
The Short Dance began with the Canadian couple Tarrah Harvey and Keith Gagnon. Unison was lacking in spots and the twizzles looked a little out of sorts. Wasn't digging their music.
Madison Chock/Evan Bates - My first note was for Evan to not slick his hair. Stick with the curls! I like the choreography and love the straight-line lift, but I wish they'd chosen a different piece of music for the middle section. I find the vocals a little screechy. Unexpected falls at the end of the program, luckily not on an element. Love Madi's dress and Evan is looking much more mature on the ice. I think they have a sophisticated look together.
Ekaterina Pushkash/Jonathan Guerreiro - I found some parts sloppy. Something just didn't flow right throughout the program. Had a momentary flashback to 2006 Tanith and Ben because of their rhumba music. Loved the green color of Ekaterina's dress, but I would've preferred a different cut on top.
Ekaterina Riazanova/Ilia Tkachenko - Ekaterina's skirt makes me think they're going to do flamenco rather than mambo and samba. They have better posture and flow than the previous Russian team. Not sure they captured the true flavor of the dances, though.
Anna Cappellini/Luca Lanotte - Best program of the night so far! Now there's some movement with real feeling and connection to the music. And they know how to bring the pretty.
Kaitlyn Weaver/Andrew Poje - I think Kaitlyn's animal print dress would look better without sleeves. It's a little too much tiger right now. Really enjoyed the intricacy of their choreography, especially in the rhumba section. They get stronger every year.
Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir - Not quite buying into Tessa's shimmying. She needs to go full-out with it. I find the music transition from "Temptation" to "Mujer Latina" a little jarring. Very cool move at the end where Scott spins Tessa like the Latin ballroom dancers do on the floor.
Looking forward to a tight battle for gold in the Men's Free Skate. The Dance podium looks pretty much set barring disasters, but I'm excited to see everyone's new free dances!