[Intro to “Spooky Scary Skeletons” plays] Karly, in a Dracula voice: You’re In The Loop! We’re here to rob your faves, be biased judges
and maybe give them -5 GOE along the way. [Laughs evilly] Let’s introduce this week’s
hosts! Gina: BOO! Hi I’m Gina, I’m getting into the spooky
ways of the Grand Prix series before I yeet to IDF to witness the terror of French event
planning first hand. You can catch me on Twitter at @4ATwizzles. Karly: Hey guys, I’m Karly, and I was there
to witness the chaos of Skate America live. You can find me on Twitter at @cyberswansp. Sam: And I’m Sam! I’m just reveling in the fever dream that
was Skate Canada 2019. You can follow me on Twitter at @quadlutze
with an e for edge call. Welcome to In The Loop’s Grand Prix Series
coverage – starting with Skate America and Skate Canada 2019! We’re going to start off with Pairs. At Skate America, the gold medal went to Cheng
Peng and Yang Jin from China, second was Daria Pavliuchenko and Denis Khodykin from Russian,
and third was Haven Denney and Brandon Frazier of the United States. And at Skate Canada, gold went to Aleksandra
Boikova and Dmitrii Kozlovskii from Russia, in second, Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael
Marinaro from Canada, and in third, Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov from Russia. Karly: Yay for Peng and Jin’s first Grand
Prix win! Gina: Woop woop! Sam: Yes! Finally! Karly: I know. Kind of a general theme across the past season
and a half or so is that Peng and Jin have really had a rise in both scores and attention
paid to them. They got silver at both of their Grand Prix’s
last year and got silver at the Final, and now it’s really nice to see them win for once. Gina: They’ve really developed over the past
few seasons and you can see that in their Performance skills, their Skating Skills,
their synchronicity. Everything just seems to get better and better
for them and it’s really nice to see those results on the ice. They’ve always been a pair I’ve really enjoyed
watching for their charisma and their charm, and I think they’ve been getting attention
for that because they are fun to watch. But now they’re getting that finesse as well. Sam: Their Free Skate this year is so impressive
as a vehicle. It’s the perfectly structured Pairs program
with the ending throw Salchow, where she’s elongating out towards him into their final
two lifts as the music builds and it really enhances everything. But even to start, the acrobatic choreographed
lift they do to start the program is immediately eye drawing and great to see. And like you said, their Skating Skills are
great, their synchronicity is so much better than it was even just in the Olympic season,
and their super fun to watch. They are going to need to upgrade the double
Sals back into triple Sals. They did do triple Sals at Worlds – which
were underrotated, unfortunately, which would have made a huge difference in their placements
because they were only about two points behind Zabiiako and Enbert for third. So if they can get that and if Peng can rotate
them- Karly: We just want people to rotate their
Sals! Sam: Rotate and land it cleanly! They could seriously be a mainstay challenger
for the top medals. Karly: Considering they got fourth at Worlds
with that underrotation, I think they’ll be good if they can get it. Sam: Yeah, and right now it’s fine. There’s something to be said for skating cleanly
and maxing out your GOE on your solid elements, which for them are their throws and their
lifts. Their Death Spiral is pretty good too, as
long as they get the levels on it but that’s always finicky. I think probably Kirsten Moore-Towers probably
the best Death Spiral [position] in Pairs right now, and even then they don’t always
get your levels – it’s a super finicky element. But yeah, it should be good! I’m expecting that they’ll make the Grand
Prix Final and we’ll get to see them there. Karly: Also just a shout out to Cheng Peng
because Yang Jin said that after their first throw loop [in the Free Skate], she twisted
her ankle and she looked fine. She got right back up and was like “I’m finishing
this program!” Sam: They went right into their Death Spiral
immediately after that and you could see that she was testing it to make sure that it was
okay, but it didn’t affect the rest of the program at all. Karly: Pairs ladies just get my respect out
the roof. Gina: They’re just like “I’ve done this, I’ve
practiced it – I’m getting this done.” Sam: Sorry for the swearing, but they’re the
most badass people in figure skating. Karly: Can we also just shout out to Zoe Jones,
who was at Skate America. I don’t know how old she is, but she has three
kids. Sam: I know she competed with Tara Lipinski,
so this is how far back we’re going, guys. Karly: She was supposed to compete at the
’98 Olympics. My respect is mad. Moving on to Denney and Frazier – their “Lion
King” program bopped. It started out and I wasn’t sure it was “The
Lion King,” and then the end started with the ending music of the movie and I was like
“Oh my god, this is ‘The Lion King!'” Sam: Yeah, this is a repeat program. They did it in the 2014/15 season too and
back then it was just as incredible. It’s kind of the perfect program for them
because it really capitalizes on what their strengths are, which are their lifts which
are some of the best in the entire world. They’re so strong. Their twist is really good too, you can easily
give it a +4. But most importantly, Haven Denney landed
a triple Sal! For those who do not know, she had a pretty
horrific knee surgery and injury right before the 2016/17 season and it was really in doubt
if she would ever be able to skate again. Getting her jumps back has been so difficult
for her, she could barely even do a double Axel, so to see her land both of their side-by-sides
is insane. The sweeping entrance to their Pairs spin,
where he grabs her leg and sweeps her down and around and then back up right into the
spin as the music is shifting tempo, is amazing. I can’t say enough about it. Their one criticism is and always will be
that they don’t have a tonne of chemistry and they’re not really paying attention to
each other on the ice, despite the fact that they do have great synchronicity with each
other and they are a very well-matched team. And then with their throws, they have the
tendency to go up and thud down, so she can’t land down and in with her edge, she’s just
landing flat. So she doesn’t get a running edge out that’s
super nice, she’s kind of thunking down and leaning forward. But other than that, it’s made things interesting
for US Pairs because they’re all around the same level. It’s always kind of anyone’s game, and they
were out of it last year it was kind of just a [Alexa and Chris] Knierims and [Ashley]
Cain and [Timothy] LeDuc battle. But if Denney and Frazier can perform anything
like this [at Nationals,] they have as much a shot to win gold as the Knierims or Cain
and LeDuc do. Karly: After Cain and LeDuc’s Free Skate I
was like “Oh this could shake things up on the US Pairs field,” because, like you said,
they’re all kind of at a similar level. So last year it was a bloodbath to see who
would be at Worlds because they only had that one spot. Since Cain and LeDuc finished in the top ten,
do they have two spots now? Sam: I’m pretty sure they do. The difference that happened between this
and the Olympic season is that they couldn’t get the second spot because there are only
so many skaters that can go to Olympics, whereas with Worlds if you’re a member country, you
have a spot. So there’s no worry about who’s earning multiple
spots first, so they should have two. Karly: So then this year’s Nationals should
be a little less of that kind of blood bath, but watching it last year it was intense. Sam: It’s still going to be tense because
there are more than three teams who could potentially make it. You also have to factor in Tarah Kayne and
Danny O’Shea too, even though they didn’t have the best skate at US Classic for their
first performance of the season, they have medalled on the Grand Prix before. They won Four Continents in the Olympic season,
so you can’t count them out either. But so far, Cain and LeDuc, the Knierims,
and Haven and Brendan look the best right now. But I also want to give a shout out to Jessica
Calalang and Brian Johnson, who have an outside chance at either pewter or bronze at Nationals,
because they’re super impressive for a team that has only been together for two seasons. They have really solid elements. They have the same problems with their throws
[as Denney and Frazier], where they’re just going up and thudding down, not elongating
out. But that said, they’re a super fast team,
their twist is really great. Their “Light of the Seven” Short Program is
really well done, even though I think “Light of the Seven” is better suited for a Free
Skate in particular for Pairs because it has the perfect opportunity to be dark and foreboding
in the beginning when you’re doing your side-by-side jumps, which are always the most nerve-wracking. And then opening up for the lifts at the end
as the music is building. But the Short Program, the elements are really
well placed. Putting the step sequence on the buildup part
where it starts getting more intense works fine. They both had issues with their side-by-sides
at Skate America and Skate Canada, but if they ever put it all together, they have as
much of a chance to podium as the other four teams. US Pairs doesn’t get enough credit for how
deep they are because they’re not challenging for medals. They’re not serious outside chances at making
top 3’s in deep fields. But they’re all close and clustered together
with the same abilities and potential scoring-wise, so watching Nationals is pretty interesting. But then I also want to move on really quickly
to Aleksandra Boikova and Dmitrii Kozlovskii because Sasha Boikova is my daughter. I love her to pieces! Karly: She is the best! Sam: She is the cutest thing in the entire
world! She has the most gorgeous free leg of anybody. [Karly: She really does] It just kicks out
and she holds that edge for as long as she possibly can with great speed. I love her to pieces. Their side-by-side triple Sals coming out
of spread eagles – are you kidding me? They did that in the gala! Karly: I know, I saw that and I was like “What
Pairs team does their side-by-sides in a gala?” Sam: And they did their twist too! In spotlights! They did a twist in spotlights – what’s going
on here? I would suggest that if you’re at all interested
in Pairs or just like listening to skater interviews to check out the ISU interview
on their YouTube page that they just did. Because, 1. their English is phenomenal, and 2. they’re really assured in themselves. They know exactly what they have to improve
on, they know exactly what they have to do to push forward and really be a challenger
at Worlds and the Grand Prix Final and I just love them. I could watch them all day. The programs are a little boring, the James
Bond program kind of meanders on because it’s the same music over and over again, repeating
the same theme, which is not that fun to listen to. But their elements, man. Those all I could watch all day. Karly: The ISU tweeted a video of their throw
triple flip from their Short Program and I watched it like ten times in a row. [Gina: Oh yeah] Sam: It’s just that free leg, you can’t get
enough of it. It’s perfect. The extension, the toe point – everything. Ugh. Gina: Okay, let’s talk about the outlook for
the rest of the Grand Prix Series and the Final. Peng and Jin, with them winning their first
Grand Prix gold, they really make a case for the final again and with their assignment
being Cup of China, they’re only real competition there is going to be [Wenjing] Sui and [Cong]
Han. So it’s quite likely that they will make the
Final. Karly: A first and second would send them
straight to the Final. They’re likely to get silver there because,
please, Sui and Han be healthy! Gina: Pavliuchenko and Khodykin’s next assignment
is Internationaux de France, so I’ll be seeing them. Their main competition will be the new Russian
Seniors [Anastasia] Mishina and [Alexander] Galliamov, who are the 2019 World Junior Champions. After seeing them win Finlandia, it will be
nice to see how they do at Internationaux de France. Sam: They’re a team that relies super heavily
on the fact that their elements are kind of insane. They do all triples, high-level triples, for
their side-by-sides and they’re pretty consistent. Their one drawback is that they’re still pretty
Junior-ish. Badass, but a little Junior-ish. I think they’re recycling their Free Skate? Karly: “Party Like a Russian!” Sam: No, that was their Short Program! Karly: Aw, damn it. Sam: Their Free Skate was that super heavy
circus music [“The Master & Margarita”]. Do you remember that one? Karly: Oh man. Sam: If you’re at all how curious how we feel
about that program, there are plenty of Junior episodes where we had to talk about it. But they’re a team that relies on their technical
score to kind of outpace everybody else. Gina: So like every other Russian Junior? [Hosts laugh] They also won their Challenger
Series with 210.18, which means that they’re quite likely to score over Pavliuchenko and
Khodykin, based off their score at Skate America which was 196.98. Sam: To be fair, Pavliuchenko and Khodykin
weren’t clean at Skate America, but Mishina and Galliamov are regularly clean so if you’re
placing bets on who is actually going to skate better, your money would be on Mishina and
Galliamov. Karly: Although I will say that I’m pretty
sure if Pavliuchenko and Khodykin got silver, they would still go to the Final. I’m not really confident on how places work
out, but two silvers would be a good case. Gina: Yeah, two silvers could do it. Sam: I could see that happening because with
Pairs it’s not as much of a bloodbath sometimes as some of the other events. Like a bronze and silver could make it. Karly: Surprising to me, and probably other
people, Tarasova and Morosov did not win Skate Canada. They had some mistakes in both the Short and
the Free and it led to a bronze finish for them. Their next assignment is Rostelecom, and they’re
up against Boikova and Kozlovskii again. If they’re clean, they can definitely challenge
Boikova and Kozlovskii for the top spot. Sam: If they’re clean, they’ll beat them just
because of PCS. Tarasova and Morosov with a clean Short Program
would put them over 80, whereas Boikova and Kozlovskii are still in the 76-75 range. So that gap alone, they should win on PCS. And Tarasova and Morosov, I would say, still
have better elements at this point. Their throws landed perfectly are given to
you from the gods, they’re so big and great. Again, another running edge that is absolutely
pure and beautiful. Their issue right now are their side-by-sides,
mostly. It’s kind of weird, at Russian Test Skates
they seemed fine. Everything was going great, they were solid. And then they go to US Classic, which I gave
them a pass for because skating at altitude, and specifically Pairs skating at altitude,
in the early season is never fun. But it was interesting, I’m not super worried
for them. I still expect them to make the Final, but
they’re going to have to get themselves in gear. Marina [Zoeva], get on it Help them out! Gina: [Kirsten] Moore-Towers and [Michael]
Marinaro got silver at Skate Canada, but they’re probably not super likely to go based on their
next assignment, which is NHK. They’re up against [Wenjing] Sui and [Cong]
Han and a couple of Russian pairs, and [Nicole] Della Monica and [Matteo] Guarise. Sam: Looking at it, I would think bronze would
be in the picture with them, not looking at all of the entries, just because their PCS
has been steadily rising since the Olympic season. They almost beat Sui and Han at Four Continents
last year. Granted, Sui and Han, it was their first competition
back and they had fully admitted that they hadn’t really run through their Free Skate
yet. But for them, it’s super important that they
continue to be clean to cleanish, because their PCS mark and their GOE would obviously
start rising a little bit more. But being the first-place Canadian pairs now
has certainly helped their scores. So, it’s possible. -end segment- START: Men Karly: Alright, moving onto men. Gina: Okay, men. For the men, at Skate America, we had Nathan
Chen from the USA taking gold, Jason Brown from the USA in silver, and Dmitri Aliev from
Russia in bronze. At Skate Canada, we had Yuzuru Hanyu from
Japan in gold, Nam Nguyen from Canada in silver, and Keiji Tanaka from Japan in bronze. Karly: So Skate America was jop central, ladies. Sam: Oh, Jesus. Gina: I love this joke. I don’t care. Sam: Would you like to sing it for us, Kar? Karly [singing]: ‘Cause when we jumping, it’s
popping, we jopping. Gina: Boom boom boom! Karly: Boom boom Dubstep. [Hosts laugh] Sam: Thank you, it was beautiful. Karly: So jopping is the phenomenon, if you’re
unfamiliar with kpop supergroup SuperM, their hit song “Jopping” talks about when you jump
and pop at the same time, and it’s very appropriate for figure skating. Skate America was jop central. There were significantly less jops at Skate
Canada, which was quite disappointing, I might say. Sam: Especially when you consider the greatest
pop star of all time, Keiji Tanaka, was there. Karly: I know, right? He didn’t jop at all. Sam: He did jop. He popped his quad sal into a triple sal in
the short, and his quad toe into a double toe in the free. Gina: But he jumps so well he gets positive
GOE on them. Karly: A master jopper, you might say. Gina: For what Skate Canada lacked in jopping,
they made up for in level 2 step sequences. In the men and the ladies. Karly: I did not see nary a step sequence
[level] four. Sam: I know for a fact Yuzuru got one in the
Free Skate because I was looking for it, because he never gets it. So I was like, “Oh, there’s no way in hell
he’s gonna get it with this caller.” And then he did and I lost my mind. [Hosts laugh] Gina: Time for my annual going off on Nathan. I find his Short Program this year in particular
his worst in a long time. The relationship between the movement that
he’s doing and the music is so distant. Sam: The biggest problem with that program
is that, sorry to call you out, Shae-Lynn [Bourne], but she repeated a lot of choreographic
elements from Nemesis and Caravan. Gina: Yeah, she really did. Sam: And they’re very noticeable that they’ve
been lifted from both of those programs. Gina: Yeah, that really doesn’t help at all. It’s a huge step back from what we saw in
Caravan last year, because his Short Program last season I thought was an amazing step
forward for him, because my difficulty in connecting with Nathan is that I really don’t
get much of a sense of character and personality from him when he skate. I think for his Short Program last season,
there was a lot more energy and life to it. And this Short Program that’s completely just
gone down the drain, which is a real shame. His Free Skate is not much better for me in
that respect. When I think of an Elton John medley, I’m
thinking of Elton John in the big wigs and the huge glittery glasses and the really loud
jackets on the piano going real nuts. And that is not the Elton John that I’m getting
from this program. It’s so lacking life, apart from maybe the
choreographic sequence. It just bums me out, and it doesn’t match
the scores for me at all. For skating skills, I would put him in the
high 8s, like 8.5, 8.75. I think that would be pretty fair. Sam: I think on his best day, because he does
consistently nail his step sequence, and he’s not slow — he has good speed — you could
probably go a 9 on his best skates, I would say. Gina: The only thing that really holds him
back for his skating skills, for me, is the knee bend. Also the variety in steps, that is one of
the criteria for skating skills, is a variety of steps and changes in direction and one-foot
skating, and he does kind of lack that outside of the step sequence. And for me, that would hold him back a little
bit. Sam: Where I’m at with Nathan is that I understand
why he made the choice he did for his Free Skate, because he’s at a place where his confidence
is his strength, and he has the opportunity to be a little bit more lackadaisical and
free with it. His problem is that he’s not a natural performer
in the sense that he intrinsically understands music, or that it’s something he automatically
connects to. He has musicality, he can hear music just
fine. He’s never super off of his music, but it’s
not somebody like, I think Shoma Uno is the best at this. Shoma intrinsically, maybe not emotionally
understands music, but he knows exactly what he has to do with his body when he hears a
piece of music and he doesn’t need to be choreographed to that music. This is a criticism I have with Rika Kihira,
too. She’s not intrinsically a performer, she’s
somebody that’s being choreographed to music and she’s listening to what her choreographer
is telling her to do. Nathan’s kind of the same way. He’s on the music, he’s doing everything he’s
supposed to be doing, yes, he comes alive in that choreo sequence, but he’s not somebody
that’s like, “I know what’s here, I can hear all of this, I know what I’m supposed to do,
I don’t need the choreographer to tell.” Gina: I think that’s what disappoints me with
maybe the music cut. Sam: It’s two separate programs. You can tell where Marie-France [Dubreuil]
choreographed it and where Sam [Chouinard] did. Marie-France did the opening half, with the
arms and the more traditional body lines, and Sam did the hip-hop section. They’re two programs spliced together. Gina: I think even the best performer would
struggle with that, because I don’t think they go well together. I think he could also get some help just by
the music cuts being better, because he does have the ability in him. We saw it last season with Caravan. Sam: We saw it when he was a Junior. Gina: Yeah, we saw it when he was a Junior
as well. And I think he does just need maybe the right
music choices and the right cuts in his music, and the right connection to the program music
to bring that out of him, because even with Caravan, he was doing a lot of difficult technical
things, which usually may distract him from the performance side of stuff, but he also
seemed to just enjoy the music, and so he came alive under it, whereas, again, for an
Elton John medley program, the music cuts are really not helping him here. Sam: The problem for me is gonna be the choreo
sequence with the remix part. It just feels off, I guess. [Gina: It does, yeah.] I don’t want to get too hard on him about
it because he does like it, but it feels like he watched the movie and was like, “Hey, let’s
have a fun program,” but then stripped all context from the movie when he decided to
use it. If he had just used Elton John music and decided
to have a fun program, the context wouldn’t matter because it’s the music. But because he chose the movie soundtrack
and had to have watched the movie to decide that he was going to use the movie soundtrack,
it doesn’t make me comfortable. Speaking of weird choices, Yuzuru Hanyu’s
Short Program at Skate Canada had some interesting GOE. His quad toe-triple toe. Karly: Skate Canada was like, “I’m gonna score
you.” Sam: They went pretty high with the GOE. There were some judges giving him 3s and 2s. It was close to a 1 or a 0. What Yuzuru does with his combos — there’s
a difference between how you’re doing a solo jump and a jump that’s the start of a combo,
because you have to tack on another jump to it, so you can’t make it too big, otherwise
you won’t be able to do the next jump. What he does is he crouches down and reaches
back to be able to do his second jump on his combos, but sometimes it gets him in trouble
because he’ll land a little bit too crouched down and a little bit hunched over on his
edge, so he’s a little bit outside the circle when he goes back to pick in for the triple
toe. Once he does that, he’s up and to the side,
not going up and back. He’ll land his triple toes weird. He did that here, in the Short Program, for
his quad toe-triple toe, but he saved it with a spread eagle and I think people were like,
“Well, it wasn’t landed that badly, because he could do a spread eagle out of it” when,
no. Especially with the angle we had watching
it on the stream, it was pretty obvious that there was something funky going on there,
so to give that 3s and 2s is a little bit much. Definitely close to a 1 or a 0 there. He is supposed to do the spread eagle out
of it, that’s his choreography there, but dude, you’re not doing that because you wanted
to make it look nice. You’re doing it so you don’t land on your
butt. A similar thing happened with his triple Axel
combos in his Free Skate, where the GOE was a little bit too high. The triple Axel-triple toe wasn’t that bad
when you saw it from the judges’ perspective. I saw a fancam of it, it wasn’t nearly as
bad as on-stream. But he still is a little bit tight on both
jumps, and they were giving him some 4s, and it’s probably a 2. And then the triple Axel-double toe was, again,
a 1 or a 0, or maybe even a -1. It wasn’t the best. I don’t know what’s going on with his triple
Axel combos, because his solo triple Axel is fine, but whenever he’s doing with the
quad Axel is really messing with his combos, where he’s consistently landing them tight
and a little bit snowy. But shoutout to Judge 4 from Australia, who
had a major shift in how she perceives Yuzuru from the Short Program to the Free Skate. In the Short Program, she was the only person
to give him a +4 on his solo triple Axel, which everybody else gave him a +5. And then she tried to give him straight 9s
in PCS, which is only about 0.5 higher than the rest of the field, when everybody else
is at 9.5 to 9.75. And then magically in the Free Skate, she’s
giving him a +3 on his opening quad loop, which, again was not the best landed jump
he’s ever done, and was suddenly back up to 9.5s, 9.75s in PCS. Interesting choices there. Karly: Do you think he found her after the
competition and was like, “Say it to my face!” Sam: Yeah, exactly. Gina: I mean, he’s approaching 25 now. He’s reaching that age when you really stop
caring, and I’m really here for it. Sam: Especially since he doesn’t expect a
lot from Skate Canada scores, let’s be real here. Gina: He’s even admitted that. He’s like, “Skate Canada isn’t a great competition
for me. I’m really amazed that they gave me good scores.” Sam: Before we move on, huge shoutout to Yuzuru’s
quad toe-Euler-triple flip, because it was beautiful. There’s a reason why, as SkatingScores pointed
out, it is the highest combo or sequence ever recorded in the judging system as of now,
because it was a thing of beauty. Karly: It was gorgeous. As soon as he landed it, I was like, “Oh my
God, he did it!” Sam: He never particularly got high GOE on
his sequences, so it’s really nice to see one finally get super high GOE. Even when he was doing the triple Axel-Euler-triple
sals, he would get really good GOE on it, but it wasn’t one of his elements where he
was getting +3s. To see him get 4s and 5s for that was awesome. Karly: Moving on to, we have a lot of favorites
from the men’s events, and here are some of them. Go off about Jason Brown, as he deserves. Sam: Jason Brown! Gina: Jason Brown, his Free Skate is beautiful. It’s really thoughtful, it’s tasteful, Jason
has the skill and maturity to take music like Schindler’s List and skate it to the gravitas
that it requires and that’s all I could think the whole Free Skate, was, I’m so glad it’s
Jason skating this and not someone else. Sam: For me, I’m going to highlight the Short
Program, because while — like you said — the free program is lovely, I still associate
Schindler’s List with Joshua Farris. If you have not seen that program, like I
say all the time when I bring up Josh, please go watch it, specifically the Nats version
of it. It’s gorgeous. But with his Short Program, the triple flip
is still out of this world. I prefer the placement and the importance
of the Love Is A Bitch flip just a little bit more, because that was just in your face,
like, this is the most gorgeous jump you have ever seen, give me +5, but I appreciate that
he’s changing his patterns because not everybody does that. A lot of people keep their layouts and their
patterns exactly the same program to program. I appreciate the variety of changing how he’s
entering jumps and where he’s putting it on the rink. But also shoutout to Rohene [Ward], because
he just intrinsically understands Jason’s movement style with things like putting the
Russian split into the fan spiral along the boards right at the end of the program, like,
I want him to work with Rohene again so much. I hope he continues to use him for Short Programs
because the Short Programs Rohene has done for him over the years have been incredible. The Question of You program was great, obviously
Love Is A Bitch last year, this program’s really good. They’re great programs, especially when they’re
more modern. Karly: I agree. He does really well with that style and Rohene
choreographing it. Gina: We want to do a quick shoutout to Keegan
Messing because he has had such a rough time and he still came to Skate America and he
did his best and he deserves better. Karly: His Short Program is awesome. Watching it for the first time at Autumn Classic,
I’ve never been that attached to his programs, but as soon as I saw his Short Program to
Perfect and I knew the story behind it, it was his first dance at his wedding over the
summer, I was just crying. The fact that he just dedicated a program
to her, it’s just really good. He has a good set of programs this season. Sam: It’s hard not to be romantic about it,
especially the Skate America version, because that was the first time his wife had been
there in person to see it. Karly: Next on our list of shoutouts is Deniss
Vasiljevs. I am legally obligated to hype him up. He went clean in the Short Program, which
he did not do at his Challenger, and he finished 5th overall, which was super exciting for
me, since he doesn’t have a quad. I just really love his Short Program. He performs it well and I love how it builds
and honestly, it’s a great Short Program. Sam, go off about it. Sam: If you don’t cry or you’re not moved
by it, you’re not a person, and I don’t have anything to say to you. I don’t even want to go into detail about
it because if you haven’t seen it, you have to watch it. It speaks for itself and trying to break it
down would honestly cheapen it, because it is that special. Sam: He’s very in-your-face about having
a song that’s not heterosexual. Sam: Yeah – for those who don’t know, the
program music is called “Two Men in Love.” Karly: I don’t really know the story behind
this, I would really like to. When he performed it at Skate Canada, they
listed it as “Bloodstream” by Tokio Meyers and that’s what it’s listed [as] on his
official ISU bio but for the past two competitions he’s taken out “Two Men in Love” and
we’ve heard he had two Short Programs and he’s going to flip them, which is just a
whole other story in itself. It’s just interesting how it says “Bloodstream”
so I’d really like to know the story behind that. Karly: And Camden Pulkinen in his senior Grand
Prix debut! He came in fourth and he skated a nearly cle—
okay, not nearly clean but half clean Free Skate. [Sam: Which is insane!] Okay he’s really good with his Short Program
so far, like he’s been killing his Short Programs at Autumn Classic and Skate Canada. He finished fourth overall because of some
mistakes in his Free Skate but that’s still really good for your senior Grand Prix debut! Sam: Anyone who’s listened to me talk about
Camden before knows that I think he’s one of the most gorgeous skaters there is period. He has intrinsic musicality, his arms and
upper posture is like perfect, his basic skating is great except he did slow down a little
bit in his Free Skate for his Step Sequence, hopefully he’ll speed up as the season goes
along and he gets in better shape for the season. But major issues aside, like his leg wrap
and his slow spins, he’s just one of those skaters that just touch you and hold on for
dear life, but oh my god, he’s skating to “Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence” and it’s
choreographed by Josh Farris, this is made for me to cry, please skate it clean so I
can lose my mind. Thank you and good night. Karly: I feel it, “Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence”
is just music where you’re like “Oh, here come the tears.” Gina: And our last shoutout is to Kazuki Tomono,
who is my funky son. I’ve already spoken in my last episode that
I did about how much I love his Short Program because I just think it’s so fun but here,
he really sold his Free Skate to me. I’ve been kind of over “Moulin Rouge”
and Kazuki just has his ability to take music that I feel like I’m kind of over or I just
flat out don’t like and he just skates the hell out of it and makes me like it, and he
definitely did that here with the Free Skate. His step sequence is so good, I just appreciated
every single part of the step sequence and just how smooth everything was, and the way
the elements were linked together and the speed and energy through the choreographic
sequence. I just think it’s a great Free Skate, I’m
so glad Kazuki has good programs. Sam: He’s such a great performer even though
the music cuts really aren’t that great, they’re kind of jarring and all over the
place. But he makes up for it in places. His speed and basic skating has improved tons
since last year; he’s not as choppy, his crossovers are less shallow and he’s a lot
quicker than he used to be, which is super impressive considering it’s only been two
seasons where he’s really been challenging for spots in Japan. To see him improve this quickly when he has
so much natural ability is great. Karly: And he just serves so much face when
he’s performing with a program that requires it like “Moulin Roug”e does. His expressions are just incredible, he’s
such a performer. Okay, moving onto Grand Prix outlook for the
men. Disclaimer: all of my predictions that are
not Nathan, Yuzuru or Shoma bank on the men skating clean, which they are most likely
not going to do. So starting off with Skate America, we had
Nathan, Jason and Dmitri Aliev. Nathan’s going to make the Final, like there’s
no question. He has like a 99% chance of winning IDF, his
only competition is Shoma. Shoma doesn’t have a coach right now. We saw him at Finlandia and he wasn’t very
clean and Nathan’s just a very consistent skater for the past couple of seasons. Sam: For context, he has not screwed up a
Free Skate since the Olympics. Whatever you think of Nathan’s skating,
hats off to him for that. Gina: Yeah, I mean Shoma’s going to be really
interesting to watch at Internationaux de France. He’s who I’m most excited and terrified
to see, particularly scores-wise, it’s going to be interesting to see what happens with
Shoma at IDF because he has been suffering a little bit on the scorecards and now he’s
wilding with no coach. Sam: Yeah and shoutout to Kevin Aymoz who’s
also here and could challenge for bronze or honestly even for silver, depending on how
Shoma skates. Karly: And moving onto Jason Brown, I personally
think he has a decent chance of going to the Final, which would be awesome and I totally
support that for him. His next assignment is NHK Trophy. He has some competition that could beat him
such as Sota Yamamoto, Kevin Aymoz, Sergei Voronov, maybe Tomoki Hiwatashi, but Jason’s
not going for the quad this season which has really upped the likelihood that he’ll go
clean. And when he goes clean, he’s got incredibly
solid triples, he has good PCS, so he’s not out of the running, even if he doesn’t
have that quad. So if he can get silver here – as Yuzuru Hanyu
is most likely going to get gold – he’s probably good to go. Sam: It’s a Nathan situation, we’re just
locking it in that Yuzuru’s got gold and moving on. Karly: And then Dmitri Aliev, he was a surprise
medallist. I was really happy that he did well here especially
since last season he didn’t even make it to the Worlds team. His next assignment is Rostelecom, whose headliner
is Shoma. Possible medal contenders are Michal Brezina,
Alexander Samarin and Nam Nguyen after his performance at Skate Canada. Samarin didn’t really have a good season
start but if he goes clean, he’ll be on the podium. Dmitri could possibly eke out a bronze, maybe
even a silver depending on how Samarin and Shoma do, and that would give him good chances
to be on the bubble for going to the final. Sam: And always an outside chance at gold
because none of these skaters there are particularly known for their consistency. Karly: That’s very true. So if Dima can go clean and everyone else
is not consistent, he definitely has that chance. Karly: And moving onto our predictions- or
our outlook, not our predictions – for Skate Canada. Yuzuru Hanyu won his first Skate Canada, who
would’ve thought we’d be here? Not me! Sam: We’re living in an alternate timeline. Karly: His chances of going to Final are always
high because he is who he is. But he doesn’t really have much competition
for gold at NHK, especially if he performs the way he did here. Sam: Even if he’s like a quarter close to
how he performed at Skate Canada, he’s going to be okay. Gina: He also has his little mental thing
of going into NHK, especially now he’s not performed in Japan – I mean, he did at Worlds,
but he’s not performed at NHK for such a long time. Sam: I’m not worried about him, I’ll put
it that way, I don’t want to jinx anything, I don’t want to speak anything into the
universe so that it can crush me, but I’m not worried. Karly: Basically Nathan and Yuzuru are our
shoo-ins this season.Moving on to Nam, he was a come-from-behind medalist. Personally, I did not expect him to go clean
but he lived pretty well in both programs, especially in the Free Skate going directly
after Yuzuru which is just a feat in of itself. His next assignment is Rostelecom, which we
talked about with Dmitri but if he performs like he did here he could very possibly get
silver or bronze – or gold depending on how Shoma does. Sam: Again, nobody here is really consistent,
but I’d put my money more on bronze than silver. Just because Nam was skating at home and the
crowd really went for him and when stuff like that happens and you’re having a moment, your
PCS is going to be way higher than it usually is. Not really confident that the same thing will
happen in Russia PCS-wise or crowd-wise. Especially when they have two skaters who
they want on that podium, the possibilities are a little bit lower for silver, but bronze
is still possible given that nobody is really known to go out and hit everything. Karly: Nam has some decent chances of podiuming. Finally, Keiji Tanaka – love that man! He is assigned to the chaos Grand Prix, Cup
of China – which I nicknamed that because it’s got no clear winner, like a Yuzuru, Nathan
or possibly a Shoma. So I think at Cup of China, anyone who’s lucky
enough to go clean on that day could win. There’s like six different people who could
win and Keiji is one of those people! Sam: I would put him and Matteo as 1A and
1B. Matteo didn’t have a great skate at Skate
Canada but we know it’s totally possible for him to have great skates and go clean and
he has exceptional skating skills, knees and performance ability. And Keiji has been on a roll at the start
of the season. He’s not popping as much, which we talked
about, his Skate Canada performance was insane considering the fact that he had been in a
car accident and was dealing with the ramifications from that and his practices there were not
good. So to see him go out and skate relatively
clean in both programs was insane. Given a little bit of time and just the trajectory
of his season so far, it’s not just an outside chance of getting gold, he’s probably the
contender for gold. Karly: There are other contenders for the
podium; Matteo’s definitely a contender, Boyang, if he can go clean. He’s landed his quad Lutz-triple toe in practices
this season but he might be having the same issues he had last season [with it.] Gina: I really do miss Boyang and to be honest,
Shoma, being two of those skaters that you could guarantee would be at the Final and
Boyang’s really fallen out of that for two seasons now. Sam: Oh, it’s been more than that, he made
it the 2015/16 season and he hasn’t been back since. Karly: And then we have Keegan who was fourth
at Skate America, if he goes clean in both programs. Junhwan Cha has three quads, if he can rotate
and land them. But there’s basically a lot of contenders
at Cup of China – which is why it’s chaotic! Cup of China is a cup of disaster. Sam: As always. -end segment- START: Ice Dance Karly: Moving on to Ice Dance! Sam: At Skate America, our gold medallists
were Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue from the United States, in silver, we had Alexandra
Stepanova and Ivan Bukin from Russia, and in third Laurence Fournier-Beaudry and Nikolaj
Sorensen from Canada. At Skate Canada, we had Piper Gilles and Paul
Poirier from Canada in gold, Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue in silver, and Lilah Fear
and Lewis Gibson from the UK in bronze. Karly: Just going to plug that we have an
interview with Piper out now! Go check it out, it’s pretty cute! Sam: She’s adorable and she will become your
favorite Ice Dance lady instantly. Gina: Womp womp, Skate America was brought
to you by their sponsors: technical difficulties and computer errors. They had GOE calculation errors and they had
to change scores after the error was pointed out by fans, and the fact that they had to
wait until it was pointed out to them by fans on Twitter is pretty amazing. There was just a lot of computer issues at
Skate America and really long wait times at the Kiss and Cry. Karly: But Stepanova and Bukin won the Free
Dance! In America! Sam: Which is insane! Absolutely insane that a Russian team beat
out an American team at Skate America in a program. Because, for those who might not follow Ice
Dance closely, Ice Dance the most political of any of the disciplines, easily. There’s a reason all of the teams show up
to practices at six o’clock in the morning in full costume and makeup – because impressions
matter. Home ice matters. The judging panel matters. A team can look at the judging panel and see
who is there and know how their scores are going to be, if it’s going to be favorable
or not given how the panel is. This is the level of politics that we’re dealing
with. That’s not to say that technical ability doesn’t
matter because it still does. For example, in 2017 at Cup of Russia, the
[Maia and Alex] Shibutani’s still beat [Ekaterina] Bobrova and [Dmitri] Soloviev despite the
fact that Russia was really pushing for them to be able to medal at the Olympics. Stuff like that still happens but not since
France where the Shibutani’s beat [Gabriella] Papadakis and [Guillaume] Cizeron in the Short
Dance at the Grand Prix Final have we seen something like this. It’s crazy. Which, really, Hubbell and Donohue have nobody
but themselves to blame for it because their Free Dance isn’t very good. There are significant problems with the music
cuts, and the element placements do not work with how the music is structured. This program should be built for wow-factor
moments, easily accessible things that a casual viewer can pick up and hold on to and realize
that this is the moment where we get hype. But there’s nothing like that because when
you get to the climatic part of “Shallow” they’re skating through it. Which, yeah, they’re a fast team with crazy
amounts of power and good edge control but when you have a program that’s like, “We need
to be selling the crap out of this right here, right now,” that kind of music lends itself
more to a twizzle sequence or a great, acrobatic lift, which they don’t do – in fact, they
are repeating lifts in this program, which is a huge problem. This is two seasons where they’ve had programs,
Free Dance’s in particular, that are really lackluster and maybe they kind of got a little
complacent or maybe they just didn’t know what to do after the success of their Olympic
season, where they had a great chance of winning bronze and then went on to get silver at Worlds
that year. It kind of seems like they thought they were
solidly the second-place team and that is not the case because the Russians are here,
they want Stepanova and Bukin and they want Sinitsina and Katsalapov on that podium and
they are going to do what they have to do to get them there. And it’s possible, given the choices that
Maddy and Zach have made. They need to change a program, and it’s probably
going to be the Free Dance since it’s lost twice, despite the fact that the Rhythm Dance
is equally as unbearable, I cannot do the “Daddy” program all year long. Karly: I hate the Rhythm Dance. I’m sorry, Madi! Gina: Yeah… I had a full-body cringe. Sam: I think that they did it on purpose because
they thought it would be funny but it’s not funny, it’s just uncomfortable. It does not play well at all. But they got good scores with it, so that’s
probably the program that stays. It’s probably going to be a similar thing
to what they did last year where they just changed the music cut, like they did with
the “Romeo & Juliet,” which, if they’re going to do that, I would say scrap the voiceovers,
scrap the Bradley Cooper section and pick something else. Pick something that lends itself to how powerful
and fast you are. Have yourself skating rink end to rink end
instead of the hockey cut stops and the sharper–standing in the middle trying to be…I don’t know
what they’re trying to do but it’s not a good program, at all. Karly: Yeah, I feel bad about how much I dislike
the Rhythm Dance because Maddy was like “I really wanted to do it” and I’m just like
I’m sorry I can’t stand it. Sam: The “Smash” section is good though,
I enjoy the part with the pattern. Karly: Oh yeah the “Let’s Be bad” part is
really fun. Sam: But the “Daddy” part is… Karly: It just makes me so uncomfortable. Sam: There’s a lot of work they need to do. They’re at a real crossroads in their career
right now because I think they thought they were going to cruise this quad going into
the Olympics, get their silver medals and go home. There’s a real chance that won’t happen considering
some of the teams that are coming up. Russia, right now, has a ton of power in Ice
Dance because their Junior teams are really good, they have two top tier Senior teams
with [Victoria] Sinitsina and [Nikita] Katsalapov having closer scores to Papadakis and Cizeron
than I think people expected at Worlds so they have a lot of work to do if they’re going
to be on the podium at the end of the season. Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier on the other
hand did everything they had to do. They have excellent programs, they took advantage
of being on home ice, and they skated lights out. And that’s why they won, because they skated
better and they had a better program, and they knew that they had the advantage politically. Both programs are great, the “Mack and Mabel”
is fun and classic Broadway. “Both Sides Now” by Joni Mitchell is one of
the greatest songs of all time, picking that was an instant “Ok we’re going to get into
this” and the program is choreographed beautifully and they skated so well. I can’t imagine what it’s like in person because
it’s gorgeous to see. And the thing about Ice Dance is that seeing
it in person really lends itself to how beautiful the discipline is because you get a better
sense of how fast these teams are moving, how great their edge quality is, and how much
they fill out a rink compared to Singles and Pairs teams. I can’t imagine what that’s like but they
did everything they had to do, and there’s a really good chance that they’re now putting
themselves in a position to challenge for major medals which they were not doing before. Karly: And I’m really excited for them because
they’re one of my favorite teams. Sam: Another big surprise was Hawayek and
Baker winning base value on Rhythm Dance. They are not a team known for consistency
getting their levels, especially since they moved to Gadbois. Last year they had real trouble getting their
levels for the Tango. They had to have troubles getting them for
the Finnstep at their Challenger so that was kind of insane to see that they were able
to win base value. They were third after the Rhythm Dance but
their old issues with levels got the for the Free and they fell off the podium for fourth. Obviously Lilah and Lewis swept in with honestly
a better program, I think that was what made the difference. The Madonna “Vogue” program is just a better
program than what Kaitlin and Jean-Luc are doing. Little things like that really make a difference. Gina: On the technical side of things, Popova
and Mozgov were the only ones at Skate Canada to get all the key points in the Rhythm Dance
and only Hubbell and Donohue and Fournier Beaudry and Sorensen got all the key points
at Skate America. It’s a little bit yikes when at the Rhythm
Dance for two of your Grand Prix’s, only three teams got all of the key points. Sam: Yeah, it is and it isn’t. There was a lot of level trouble last year
especially early in the season when you’re trying to get your timing right, which is
an issue with a lot of teams. But then by Worlds everybody is getting a
Level 4. Early season could be the caller, you never
really know, I think there was a minute last year where I was like “Guys work on your levels,
come on this is ridiculous”. But for the first two Grand Prix’s you get
a little bit of a pass from me, just a little bit. Gina: Yeah, I mean, to be fair, most of them
only missed one of they key points out of four, I can only remember one team that really
jumped out at me is for getting none of them. Karly: It was the “Mamma Mia” team [Haley
Sales and Nicholas Wamsteeker]. [Hosts laugh] Aka the best team. Gina: Yeah they were team “Who cares about
levels we’re fun”. Karly: Which is what team I am too. Gina: Which I feel. Sam: Yeah exactly. Karly: I’m Team Abba. Moving on to some of our favorites, [Olivia]
Smart and [Adrian] Diaz, they’ve grown on me. Sam: I unironically love the Rhythm Dance,
which I did not in the beginning of the season. If you follow me on Twitter you know I had
a thread where I talked about “this could be a really fun program but I think they might
be a little bit too slow for it”. But I’ve watched it multiple times now and
now I’m full in on it because how could you not love the part where they start, skate
around the side of the rink, shuffle to the music, and then they get back to the center
of the rink, and they stop and they lunge and they head bob. Olivia is like striking and comes alive and
immediately drags you into the program. And it doesn’t hurt that “Grease” by Frankie
Valli is just a jam. It’s so great. Karly: It’s such a jam. Sam: I love it so much. That’s a great program for them and it’s really
important, especially considering that Sara [Hurtado] and Kirill [Khaliavin] do not have
good programs this year. In all honesty, I’m not a huge fan of the
lunar module “Hello Dolly.” I’m calling it that because her dress kind
of reminds me of the foil you see on the lunar modules, that gold material. [Karly: You’re right]. I’m not really sure why that was the choice
for the dress but it’s kind of a snooze. Same thing with her Free Dance. At least sad clown love story has plot, it’s
interesting, there’s something to talk about. You’re kind of so taken aback by it, even
though it’s not the best put together program, there’s something there to think about and
engage with. Which I don’t think you can say for Sara and
Kirill’s Free Dance. It’s kind of just a snooze. Which is a problem for them because they kind
of set themselves up as being the Spanish team last year but Olivia and Adrian got ten
points higher in total score at Skate American than Sara and Kirill did at Skate Canada which
is an issue. Karly: I agree with Sam, I’m ready to accept
the “Grease Lightning” into my life. Also they included “Born to Hand Jive” which
is an absolute winner for me. At the end of the program I’m like “Yeah I’m
ready to hand jive”. Sam: We’re here to have fun. Moving on, Stepanova and Bukin, I love you
forever, you don’t owe me any money because they did the “Cry Me a River” I deserve and
I have been begging for since Bublé first graced our ears back in 2017 with Zabiiako
and Enbert’s Short Program. I have been waiting for somebody to do the
correct “Cry Me a River” and it is here, and it makes no sense, and the music cuts are
weird, but I do not care, it’s so much fun. Karly: I just have a distinct memory during
practice, it was the first time they were practicing the Free Dance and me and everyone
I was sitting with were like “Is it going to be the JT version?” we were on the edge
of our seats like “Is it going to be a cover?” and then I heard the beat of the JT version
start and I actually screamed. Sam: And the straight line lift into the rotational
lift on that part of the music when they’re switching into the “Cry Me a River” is just
great. The cut into the instrumental part of “Cry
Me a River” is probably the worst part of the program but I can forgive it. Their twizzles are their best element, they’re
tight, controlled, super quick, and they’re always close together. Their main issue is that Sasha especially
does not use her knees effectively and it’s really noticeable because of how gorgeous
and long her legs are. They can be a little bit sloppy coming in
and out of elements, she doesn’t always have her legs extended perfectly, and things can
get a little clunky. If they can smooth stuff like that out they
have a more interesting program than Sinitsina and Katsalapov. They work on stuff like that and I think they
should be ahead of them. Personally, I would like to see them ahead
of them now even though I can recognize that Sinitsina and Katsalapov are smoother, more
aesthetic skaters. I just prefer Stepanova and Bukin’s programs. Karly: I also yelled when I saw the sit-the-duck
twizzles for the first time. Sam: A quick shoutout to Hawayek and Baker
for their Rhythm Dance. It’s a weird cut, the “How Deep Is Your Love”
part is a little bit of a drag but the transition into “Night Fever” out of the Finnstep is
great. I love when they do programs like this, this
is the kind of program they’re built for. Gina: The “How Deep Is Your Love” part makes
me think of my rink where I get my lessons because my head coach really loves Take That
apparently and all I can hear for my whole session is the cover by Take That of “How
Deep Is Your Love”. My shoutout for the ice Dance is going to
be for [Betina] Popova and [Sergey] Mozgov. They came out and I didn’t know what they
were skating to because apparently I just don’t pay attention, and I saw the outfits
and Mozgov has got his– I had those kind of net gloves when I was 12 and being a scene
kid, and I was thinking “What is this?” and then it was “Cabaret” and I was like, of course
it is. I just enjoyed the whole thing so much, thank
you so much for doing “Cabaret”. Karly: They’re just such an enjoyable team. Sam: They’re always interesting. They’re the messiest of messy faves but we
love them. Gina: I’m going to put bets on, and I’m going
to ask for it, I’m going to put it out in the universe, they’re going to be the Ice
Dance team that does “Welcome to the Black Parade” and it’s going to make my life complete. Sam: I would cry. Karly: Ok, moving on to the Grand Prix Final
outlook in Ice Dance, we have our first confirmed team for the final, which is Hubbell and Donohue. They got second here, which, with their first
at Skate America, they got a ticket to the Final. We’re going to see them there and they won
last year so not surprising. Stepanova and Bukin made a good case for the
Final, their next assignment is NHK Trophy. Their only competition for a podium spot is
Papadakis and Cizeron who are going to win, so they’ll probably get second, they’ll get
two silvers, most likely will get them to the Final. If they can score similarly to Skate America
they should be pretty confident about going. Fournier Beaudry and Sorensen, they did really
well at Skate America, but I wouldn’t put their chances of making the Final high. At Cup of China they’ll be facing Sinitsina
and Katsalapov and Chock and Bates in a couple of week. While they have a good chance at bronze, those
two bronzes probably wouldn’t give them a good chance at going to the Final. Piper and Paul, their chances of going to
the Final are now through the roof, especially since their only competition for the top spot
at Rostelecom is Sinitsina and Katsalapov, who I think will probably win considering
it’s in Russia. But even getting a silver there would pretty
much guarantee them a spot at the Final so I am so happy. Spoiler alert, Piper said in our interview
that their big goal is to get to the Grand Prix Final so I just really want that for
them. Sam: Especially after the hardships they’ve
had at their first Grand Prix’s the last couple of seasons. Karly: And finally, our final medalist Fear
and Gibson, I think they could very well take bronze at NHK if they have good scores and
they get their levels. It wouldn’t get them a spot at the Final but
I’m still super proud of them for getting their first Grand Prix medal at Skate Canada
and I’m just really excited for their rise because they’re a team that I really enjoy. Gina: Whatever happens, even if they don’t
get in the Grand Prix Final, it’s still the best result that a British skater or team
has had in years, so as a Brit, thank you Fear and Gibson. -end segment- START: Ladies Karly: Our final disciple at our first two
Grand Prix’s is Ladies. At Skate America our podium went with Anna
Shcherbakova in gold from Russia, Bradie Tennell from USA in silver, and Elizaveta Tuktamysheva
also from Russia in bronze. And then at Skate Canada we had Alexandra
Trusova from Russia in gold, Rika Kihira from Japan in silver, and Young You from Korea
in bronze. Sam: There’s been a bit of a trend to start
the season with Ladies so far where the Eteri girls Anna Shcherbakova and Sasha Trusova
are not winning the Short Program, are going into the Free Skate with pretty significant
point gaps to make up with their Free Program which is obviously possible given their quads. I think some people kind of expected that
maybe the Junior success would transfer over and they’d be naturally beating people out
straight out of the gate but the Short Program is showing to be actually pretty vulnerable. Anna had mistakes in her Short Program obviously
at Skate America but Bradie had the potential to win. She had to get her personal best to do it
but it was possible for her to do it given the political circumstances and the way she
was skating. Hats off to Bradie, she came out of the gate
despite the fact that she had had an injury over the summer and had to pull out of her
Challenger, and was on top of everything. She had great skates, considering those circumstances
so getting that silver medal was awesome for her. And then at Skate Canada, if Rika had her
full arsenal with both of her triple Axels and obviously the triple Axel triple toe combo
and having her Lutz back in her program, it wasn’t impossible for her to get gold either. The possibility was there, she’d obviously
need a world record to do it, a world record total score to do it, but she could have. That was totally within the realm of possibility. That said, if they continue to skate like
this, the likelihood that their PCS will get a bit higher is definitely there, and considering
the fact that Congress is next year and they are most likely to lift the ban on quads in
the Short Program for Ladies, this will obviously change the game for everybody, because if
they can do their quads in the Short Program it’s not going to matter what anybody else
does, at all. They’re getting high GOE for them right now
because people are not used to seeing them and it’s such a novelty that that they’re
just excited about it so they want to give them high GOE for it because it’s incredible
that they’re doing it. All of that said, we need to talk about Trusova’s
skating skills because the more she does the quads, the more I get desensitized to them
where I’m not getting as excited, or I am not as nervous for her, or looking for them,
and being amazed that she’s doing them. I’m starting to pay more attention to the
in-betweens of her skating, and it’s really starting to bother me because she is not a
traditional figure skater in that the way she generates speed is not coming from her
knees and her edges, it’s coming from her entire body. She’s using her arms, her hips, her knees,
literally everything to generate as much speed as she possibly can to be able to do the jumps. She’s quick, she’s not a slow skater, she
can make it across the ice, but her skating is not aesthetically pleasing. It is not done technically the correct way,
and that makes it difficult to judge her skating skills because you have a skater who is doing
transitions, who is doing quads, who is fast, but is not skating smoothly. Karly: We have a lot of favourites from the
Ladies’ event from Skate America and Skate Canada, because ladies are awesome. So, starting off with Wakaba Higuchi, my love. Sam: The thing about Wakaba that I love is
that she just knows who she is. She’s not trying to make herself into anything
else just so she can fit the classic definition of what a Ladies skater should be. She chooses music that lends itself to her
and how excellent her upper body tension is and plays off of the fact that she is a raw
performer and she can convey emotion, especially super powerful emotions, really well and that
works perfectly with how powerful she is as a skater. This, specifically, at Skate America, her
Short Program, was a huge step for her coming back because last season was really rough. She had tons of injuries, she never really
had a chance to get her feet underneath her. So to have a clean program here to start the
major parts of the season because she obviously did have a challenger is huge. Karly: Wakaba’s Short Program was one of the
highlights of the entire event of Skate America for me. Everyone just knew that was what she needed
for her confidence and that was what she deserved to have, at least that clean Short Program. Yeah, the Free didn’t go as great as she might
have hoped but hopefully the Short Program gave her that boost that she needed to start
working towards a clean Short and Free at the same time. And honestly, it’s like Sam said such a raw
and emotional program. I think I was crying within the first ten
seconds, just because I knew the music going in and I knew how she was going to perform
it and that it was going to be so close to her, that right off the bat I was emotional. Moving on to our other Japanese lady who didn’t
do as well as she had hoped at Skate America, Kaori Sakamoto, my other love. Gina: My respect for her just for trying to
slice the judges’ necks with her spiral. I loved Kaori. I think her and Wakaba just do it for me,
they both have this kind of sense of freedom with their skating, and watching her just
makes me really happy. Sam: When she does well, her smile is the
best thing in skating. You’re right, she has a similar thing with
Wakaba where she’s finally picking programs that play to her strengths and don’t force
her to be a traditional skater because she doesn’t have the upper body tension to do
it, her arms can swing a little bit and she can get a little bit loose up in her chest. Her “Matrix” program is perfect for her. The choreo sequence where she’s lunging and
then she goes into the fan spiral right along the boards in front of the judges is great. I think she was a little bit close there because
they were on a hockey rink at Skate America so it’s a little bit smaller, so she just
needed a little bit more space. Gina: She didn’t intend to nearly get them
in the face. Sam: Like we said earlier, shout out to Bradie’s
Short Program. It’s a huge improvement for her on performance,
and at Skate America she was on top of it. Her jumps had great pop, didn’t have the rotational
speed that they did the Olympic season and her free leg was noticeably swingy, which
is a good indication that you’re not rotating as quickly as you should be to be able to
land your jump in time. So what you’re looking for is when she lands
he Lutz especially, her leg is sweeping out, instead of straight back as she’s landing. I feel like she already opened ready to come
out while she’s landing, but she’s landing and swooping it really far to be able to keep
her momentum, which is probably the rotational speed which is why she was underrotating it
at Skate Canada. Gina: Bradie has a similar problem for me
as Nathan, I think, in that I find it difficult to connect with her because she’s kind of
had a struggle, in my opinion, with projecting a sense of character and personality, and
I do think that’s maybe one of the reasons why she does tend to get overlooked. I think this season she’s really isolating
that issue and addressing it with that Short Program, which is just so charming. I’m looking forward to seeing how that comes
along through the season. Sam: Another quick shoutout to Marin Honda
who had really big struggles going into Skate Canada. For those who don’t know, a couple weeks beforehand,
she got a concussion after a fall on a jump, and then while she was at Skate Canada on
her way to the rink she and Keiji were rear-ended in their taxi. She had to go to the hospital and ended up
with a leg injury, which we’re still not really sure what the issue is there. She had a big, heavy wrap on her calf specifically,
and was showing concussion-like symptoms. She talked about how lights and sounds were
super sensitive for her and in the middle of her practice the morning of the Free Skate
she did collapse right after her step sequence and looked like she had a pretty severe case
of vertigo and needed a lot of time to calm herself down and get back into the program. To see her skate clean after all of that and
just seeing the effervescence come alive as the charming soft skater she is to “La La
Land,” which, while it’s not my favourite music, is perfect for her, was incredible. Gina: It was absolutely heartbreaking to see
her face fall into disappointment in the Kiss and Cry over and over again, which has just
been a constant thing she came up to Seniors. She really needed that Free Skate. I feel really uncomfortable with her being
allowed to skate under those conditions with her health being a bit on the dicey side,
with the complaints she was having about lights and sound and having collapsed in a runthrough. Sam: The thing with concussions is that you
cannot take the word of one doctor, especially immediately after the incident, because symptoms
can show up later. Even though she was cleared when she got to
the hospital after the car accident, that doesn’t mean she didn’t have a concussion
and there should be a protocol in place that you have to get checked out multiple times. Gina: She did collapse and started showing
signs at the rink and I think in that situation the referee or someone in the ISU needed to
say “For your health we cannot allow you to continue.” Sam: I totally agree, but it’s still a really
dicey situation, considering that we’re not even really sure that they had all the facts. The judges, the event organizers, the on site
medical staff, weren’t necessarily aware that was going on. We know because we were lucky enough to have
somebody translate a news report about it, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that everybody
else there was also on twitter seeing these things. I totally agree with you that somebody should
have stepped up and been like, “This is not worth it. At all.” Karly: Moving on to our eleventh ever lady
to ever land the triple Axel, Young You. She got a Grand Prix medal on her senior Grand
Prix debut, which is awesome for her. Sam: The triple Axel is great, it’s still
a little bit telegraphed, but I prefer a pattern that goes along the boards instead of to the
centre of the rink, it’s just aesthetically a little more pleasing to me. Plus she has great height and distance, and
her speed out of it is incredible. And “Romeo and Juliet” is the music to
pick for a breakout Senior season, so the drama really lends itself for teaching you
how to project, so she made good choices there. Gina: I think “Romeo and Juliet” is like
the unofficial soundtrack of the wild youngins. Karly: She medaled at her first ever senior
Grand Prix, and at that point she didn’t have a second assignment. She just got assigned to Cup of China, which
I’m really excited for. I really like her Free Skate to the “Evita”
soundtrack – she’s got a gorgeous Ina Bauer, it has some bopping moments, and Madonna is
awesome. She didn’t get the triple Axel in the Free,
but her other elements were clean enough to get her that bronze and I’m just really proud
of her. My final shoutout goes to Evgenia Medvedeva,
who, I don’t know if I’m known for loving her, but I love her a lot. She doesn’t have the greatest programs this
season and her PCS scoring is quite wonky, but this happened a couple of times last season
during Skate Canada and Russian Nationals, where she really didn’t have the Short Program
that she expected to have and she comes back with such a fire. Some people describe it as “She gets on her
murder face.” She didn’t really have that this competition
because she was more focused and not like, “Oh I’m going to murder the judges.” Gina: I don’t know, in the Kiss and Cry, she
certainly had a murder face on. Sam: After the Short Program? Yeah, she was halfway between “I’m going to
destroy everyone here” and “I am just ready to break down and sob” and it was heartbreaking. Karly: I know… The fact that Brian looked like he was about
to cry. Sam: It was just upsetting over all, which
is what makes the Free Program so nice even though it’s not the nicest program to watch. The fact that she was able to come out and
skate clean deserves a shout out. Kary: She’s really good at making a comeback
and getting the redemption when she disappoints herself. That just makes me really happy. She’s not scored the best, in the fairest
way, and she doesn’t have the best programs this season, but she’s very determined and
I really appreciate her mentality. Basically my one concern, whenever she doesn’t
do well in a program, is I’m afraid she’s going to think that moving to Toronto is the
wrong move, which I really think was a good move for her. I want her to be reassured that she did the
right thing. Gina: I think she sees the bigger picture. From things that she’s said, I don’t think
she regrets it. Sam: Especially considering the alternative
was trying to find a new coach in Russia or retire. The fact that she’s still skating and she’s
proud of the fact that she’s still skating is the telling part. Karly: Okay, moving on to our final Grand
Prix Final outlook. Schcherbakova and Trusova both made super
good cases for the Final. I’m pretty sure they’re both going to make
it. My personal prediction on the final will be
three or four Eteri girls, Anna and Sasha definitely, and Alena and Alina have pretty
good chances. I think Rika is going to make it and then
probably another Japanese lady. If Anna and Sasha can skate like they did
at Skate America and Skate Canada with their quads, they’ll make the Final. Sam: Yeah, the other Japanese lady is most
likely Satoko Miyahara at this point, considering that Kaori and Wakaba did not medal at Skate
America. Karly: Bradie had a second and fourth place
finish. Worse comes to worst, she could make it. She’s definitely on that list of sub ins,
but she did pretty well especially since having Skate Canada right after Skate America. Liza is up against Anna again at Cup of China
as well as Satoko Miyahara. If she can skate clean at Cup of China, depending
on how Satoko does, she could get silver, which maybe then the Grand Prix Final could
find room for her. I think Satoko has a good chance at making
the Final and Rika is likely to go to the Final again. Rika’s been pretty consistent so far this
season, her only mistake at Skate Canada was a step out on her opening triple Axel. Getting a gold would pretty much guarantee
her ticket to the Final. There you have it, your Grand Prix final outlook
for the first two Grand Prix, we’re looking forward to the chaos that is the next few. The Grand Prix is such chaos. I’ve finally gotten into scoring and placements
and understanding that, so now I’m just like why? Now I’m just watching the results like “Why
did I get into this?” Gina: Yep, I used to do a little tracking
sheet, but now I can’t be bothered, I’m too tired. I’m preemptively tired because I’m about to
go to Internationaux de France. Karly: That will be fun to watch. Love French event planning. -end segment- START: Shout Out of the Week Karly: Moving on to the Shout Out of the Week,
we have got some coaches very gently, very kindly roasting their students. Gina: Oh my god, I laughed so much at the
stuff Stephane Lambiel said to Koshiro, being like, “I don’t know how you got both your
triples with no height but well done.” That was really funny. Karly: And then Tracy Wilson after Jason. In Jason Brown’s Free Skate, he popped his
triple Loop into a double, and she was like, “Not bad, what happened to the loop?” Sam: We love savage coaches around here. Gina: Tracy also made me laugh when Yuzuru
was giggling about his step sequence that he messed up in the Short Program and she’s
on the commentary just like, “We’re going to have words later.” Sam: Oh, that reminds me! When you listen to the kiss and cry for his
Short Program, right after they’re talking about his flopped cluster, they start laughing
about it. All of a sudden, they look up, they look at
Tracy and they’re like, “Oh she heard you.” It’s really funny. They’re like, “Oh she heard.” Karly: I would say Tracy Wilson for best coach,
which is a good leadup to a subtle, just a slight shout out to the upcoming ISU Awards. Sam. This section is called shout outs, but maybe
the shout out should be them spending their money usefully and rebuilding their bio and
results system instead of wasting it on an awards show that nobody asked for, and that
might strip us of the chance to see Yuzuru Hanyu do an old school program at Worlds. I would rather watch Yuzuru do one of his
old fun Short Programs, like “Let’s Go Crazy,” than watch them hand out an award that’s been
fan voted on. Gina: I want to know who these people are
that apparently told the ISU that galas are boring. Who told you that? Karly: Yeah, galas are the best part. Sam: Supposedly, they’ve been talking about
doing this for a couple of years now, but this is not something that just came out of
the blue and it’s been a heavily discussed thing in the background that nobody knew about. But hey, I mean swimming has an awards show. They have something called the Golden Goggles. How bad could it be? Gina: I mean I’m kind of cool with it, but
do it after Worlds. Have the Worlds gala, and then after Worlds,
do it then. Sam: There’s a part that either somebody translated
something or they were just laying out all the information in a thread, but they’re planning
on cutting off part of the ice surface for priority seating. No, don’t do that. Karly: I don’t get how that’s going to work. Sam: Maybe it will be good. Maybe they’ll get real celebrities to come
out or some great musical guest or something and it’ll be fun and we’ll all enjoy it and
laugh about it later. But as of right now, I would rather just see
my gala please and thank you. -end segment- START: Outro Karly: So that’s it for our shout out. We have the good shout out and the bad shout
out. Thank you guys for listening to our first
Grand Prix coverage episode, we hope to see you again for the next episode which will
be on the next two Grand Prixs. We want to thank the research team for this
episode and our transcribing and quality control teams. Definitely Evie for editing, she’s the G,
and Gabb for graphic design, also the G. Gina: If you want to get in touch with us,
then please feel free to contact us via our website inthelopodcast.com or on Twitter or
our Instagram. You can find our episodes on Youtube, iTunes,
Google Play, Stitcher and Spotify. Sam: If you enjoy the show, and want to help
support the team, then please, please consider making a donation to us on our ko-fi page,
and we’d like to give a huge thank you to all the listeners who have contributed so
far. Karly: You can find the links to all our social
media pages and our ko-fi on our website. If you’re listening on iTunes, please consider
leaving a rating and a review if you enjoyed the show. Thank you for listening, this has been Karly, Gina: Gina, Sam: and Sam. Bye guys! Karly: Catch you for chaos!

Episode 39 – The Master Of Jops (Skate America and Skate Canada 2019)
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4 thoughts on “Episode 39 – The Master Of Jops (Skate America and Skate Canada 2019)

  • October 31, 2019 at 11:17 am
    Permalink

    Time codes for this episode
    Pairs 0:00:57
    Men 0:16:12
    Ice Dance 0:40:43
    Ladies 0:56:57

    Reply
  • October 31, 2019 at 8:02 pm
    Permalink

    i dont know what nathan chen ever did to that girl, like she act like nathan chen axe murder her family or some shit the way she hate on him, she never compliment my man once ever in the podcast it insane!

    Reply
  • November 6, 2019 at 10:11 am
    Permalink

    lol Judge 4 in SC for Yuzuru got the fear of fanyus put in her after that short. XD
    Can we pls take note the 4TEu3F, highest sequence ever, contains of all things Yuzu's flip. lol.

    Reply
  • November 6, 2019 at 10:11 am
    Permalink

    lol Judge 4 in SC for Yuzuru got the fear of fanyus put in her after that short. XD
    Can we pls take note the 4TEu3F, highest sequence ever, contains of all things Yuzu's flip. lol.

    Reply

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