Skaters and their supporters are a heinously obsessive compulsive bunch. This season, it is going to bug all of us that the 'rhumba' is nothing like we'd expect in the world of ballroom dance. That said, it is one of the more engaging compulsory patterns. We've had to sit through years of golden waltzes, but now we get to enjoy a little fringe and Jef Billings'-like glam.
Voir's debut of their remixed Samba went off smoothly for a 68.74. It is a tad 'busy' and worked better as a free dance, but their improved condition is evident. Tessa got another new dress for the program (#4 now) and looks to be far more confident than at the World Championships. The program is successful and they demonstrate fantastic skating skills, but it far from unbeatable. Just like when Mao turned a free skate into a short program, condensing the vision just doesn't feel natural. Judging by his hip action, Scott Moir is awful is bed.
The second-place Shibutanis just don't look natural shaking their naughty bits. Poor Maia has likely never even been to a high school dance and you know their mother who tapes all of their practices is going to view silver medals as a total Asian F. Their compulsory pattern is stronger than it was last year and they continue to improve in terms of skating skills. This program has a lot of room for growth, but it will ultimately force them to be better dancers and help them in the long run. In order to stand out, they will need to sell this dance like no other. They can't rest on being sweet and cute much longer. (58.45)
Madison Chock has never sizzled quite the same way. Having a more masculine partner is working for her, even if Evan does looks like her nerdy lab partner. They are more interesting to watch than either of their previous partnerships, but they have a ton of work to do if they hope to represent the US in international competitions. It will take more than Igor's pull to get them the bronze at Nationals. (53.91)
Guignard and Fabbri (51.05)
Gorshkova and Butikov are returning the more understated Pasha/Krylova history of ice dance...