To be included in this list, judges must have selected the skate (or the skater) as the "best performance" of an event. Since some judges listed more than one skate as the "best performance," I usually took the first or most convenient one listed. Sometimes, a skater's free and short were both listed; I generally picked one or the other.
Jennifer: Max's jumps aside from the double Axel oops were insanely good, and he built the emotion of the program.
Tiffany: He had a ton of pressure leading into the long program, and not only did he deliver, but he he's starting to make the case for being on the world team this year.
Mara: The choreography was intricate and well-executed, and they are so connected to each other on the ice.
Amanda: "Shoma Uno is a superstar. Period. His free skate was phenomenal. The most impressive thing for me was how he seemed to gain momentum in the second half of the program; the jumps almost looked stronger than the ones at the start of the program."
Patrick: "The best part about his free skate was the fact that he got stronger and more solid throughout his skate--the first few jumping passes were fought for and he looked more secure (especially on that second-half quad toe combination) as the program progressed."
Rafael: If they keep skating like this, it will be hard for any other pairs to catch them at Worlds.
Sigrid: When you have that amount of difficulty in a program is very difficult to nail it and they were pretty close to do that.
Amanda: They skated with so much joy and freedom. You can tell that they really love this program, and their connection to the music and to each other was breathtaking to watch.
Bronwyn: Her short program was one of her best programs ever, and she finally broke 70 in the SP and a 200 total score.
Lauren: That was probably the best short program (and with it, the best triple-triple) we've ever seen her do. She looked totally relaxed and comfortable with the elements and in love with the choreo and as a result, she totally nailed it.
Cup of China
Emmy: They are executing their elements with ease and it's this that sets them apart from the other couples.
Joanna: Her Riverdance LP is good choreographically and suits her perfectly, but the best part is how much energy and fun Rika injects into it.
Justine: This was a new Mao who's technically stronger now than when she left. Plus, her SP was just fabulous!
Roxanne: The year she took off to reevaluate herself was the key for her return to the ice. The level of grace and beauty in her skating has not changed.
Mark: Quad lutz - triple toe combination aside, his SP was absolutely incredible for a senior international debut. We've seen others skate short programs with two quads, but Boyang's short actually showed great personality and performance.
Justin: An incredibly musical program, difficult and interesting choreography. Avant garde yet accessible. She attacked every element and skates with power.
Sigrid: She has grown up a lot this summer and it must be very difficult to control that, but after a bit of trouble in her previous GP she redeemed herself in Russia with two solid and beautiful performances that sealed her ticket for Barcelona.
Victor: She has really matured and it's really nice to see her shine again.
Alice: A beautiful, original program with a mesh costume as a a bonus. What's not to love?
Braulio: The performance is way up there as maybe the most intricate of all the top couples we have seen.
This honestly isn't even fair to the other skaters.
Erin: I mean, is this even a question this week?
Joe: His skating was seamless, his jumping was spot-on and it all added up to something historic and incredibly moving.
Kathy: I could go on and on (*insert Celine Dion vocals*), but I'll leave it at this: it was a privilege to watch Yuzuru at this event, and it's a story I'll probably be repeating to my grandkids when I'm 80 and living in a rocking chair.
Phillip: The free program was especially well skated: flow, passion, intricate foot and body work, speed and an extremely high level of technical content.
Will: He is inspiring.
Grand Prix Final
I made the judges choose someone in addition to Yuzuru so the recap would actually be interesting, but per our judges, he obviously outshone everyone at this event
Deb: He not only landed all three quads, but also became the second man to score over 200 in the free skate, and he got to do it all at home. ¡Vamos, Javi!
Judit: I very much liked Stolbova-Klimov.
Tim: Their programs this season are perfect vehicles for their strengths, showcasing her incredible star-quality, while allowing him to drive the pair at breakneck speed down the ice. The confidence and detailed finish of their elements was a class above the other couples this weekend.
Matthew: Medvedeva is a breath of fresh air and especially with her short. The program is quintessentially Russian, sophisticated and elegant but still age-appropriate.
Ximena: The cantilever and the very late 4T are incredible, even if his landings are still terrifying. And his performance skills are so good, you wouldn't believe it's his first senior season.
Deb: Evgenia Medvedeva's...cemented her status as top Russian lady for at least the next 4 weeks.
Shannon: The pressure had to be on here, especially after winning the Grand Prix Final. She delivered and her win was deserved.
Victor: Evgenia Medvedeva was amazing - she is this little girl who can pull off amazing jumps.
Alejandro: She knows how to sell it, and the step sequence is incredible, she knows exactly what to do with her arms in every second.
Joanna: He has so much personality, spunk and charm while he throws himself and his long limbs on surprisingly strong edges into his surprisingly existing transitions (hey, he’s a Russian man) and fun choreography.
Jennifer: Clean, connected, Russian pairs perfection, with a maturity.
Alejandro: She clearly has improved her interpretation skills and I can feel the hand of Akiko Suzuki on this program.
D L: Her programs and skating are beautiful and her consistency is very impressive.
Justine: Her skating and lines are exquisite and the performance, I think, gets better every time.
Joanna: It's clear he's trying very hard to improve his interpretation and audience connection, and it's starting to pay off.
Justine: She's looking stronger than ever and more polished every day.
Sharon: Alaine was free and strong and emotional.
Taryn: He couldn't do it much better. It's special when you see a world-class program.
Francy: The joy and youthfulness of their skating really came across.
Erin: I have loved this program all season, and this was the best they have ever skated it.
Matthew: The team has found this cosmic connection in their free dance which draws everyone in: the audience goes through the journey of the program with them.
Meghan: I think the Shibs long program meant the most to them, to the audience, and to the sport.
Tiffany: I could feel the crowd's emotion through the television. The last minute is mesmerizing and once the standing ovation started, I just knew they had it. It was magic.
Amanda: My favorite things about their performances are all the choreographic details in-between the elements. Tarah and Danny's connection to each other, and to their music, was a joy to behold. They had so much emotion, especially towards the ends of both programs when they knew they had KILLED it.
Lauren: And not only did execute elements, they performed both programs with such conviction and such connection to one another.
Patrick: Their short program is beautiful and their free skate was equally impressive.
Roxanne: The overall quality of the program was superb top to bottom, from the solidity of the jumps to the music engaging both skater and audience.
Phillip: This dance is a perfect blend of their improved skating skills, athleticism and chemistry.
Bronwyn: Florent Amodio's long program was a perfect performance to cap off such a memorable career, the crowd was completely behind him, and he placed second in the long program only to Javier Fernandez.
Judit: At the last minute, she changed her solo jump from 3Loop to 3 Flip.
Kathy: He was far and above in a league of his own in the men's event.
Sharon: He continues to get better and better with this program, and I love it more each time he skates it.
Sigrid: They delivered a solid short dance and a MESMERIZING free dance.
Hannah: Nailing all the elements, and then her reaction at the end, and to her scores, were adorable, as usual!
Keira: It was stunning (as it always is) and the fact that they won their first major international title with it made me feel like a proud parent.
MJ: The way this program builds so well over the course of four minutes, how they hit every cadence just right with choreography, on top of the pure emotion they always exude in this program... they are perfection.
Mark: It is a *huge* deal that she came away from this event without a single underrotation mark in either program. I didn't think she had it in her to come back like this. But she did two clean triple-triples plus a 2A-3T-2T combination; in fact, her scoresheets this weekend were cleaner than any competition Gracie or Ashley have had the entire season!
Shannon: I loved her grit on the triple loop in the short and those landings in the long. Mirai is back and in form. This was a statement and I am loving her confidence.
Nori: Both programs were spotless. She made it look like it was the easiest thing ever.
Junior World Championships
Amanda: She has such great speed and flow across the ice and is so polished.
Dasha: I'm biased because I love her, but Marin Honda's short program was spectacular.
D L: She's such a lovely skater and mature beyond her age.
Emmy: Duskova/Bidar's SP was a quirky delight.
Francy: Overall, the Parsons had great performance quality in both segments, very commanding. That tango was fierce!
Alice: Sui and Han are unforgettable. Their short program this season demonstrates what a powerful duo they are despite their small stature compared to their competitors; every move is controlled but remarkably fierce.
Bronwyn: Every single jump landed cleanly, solid choreography (even if it's not my favorite program), and it easily allowed him to walk through the door Yuzuru left open.
Jackie: Javier Fernandez's free skate was absolutely phenomenal - it was a come-from-behind, title-defending, complete-underdog, flawlessly-executed performance.
Ioana: Gorgeous skating skills, easy flow over the ice, beautiful lines, chemistry, they just have it all.
Jennifer: Their taut, low, musical lifts; the delicious molasses moments between each set of twizzles; at the beginning of the free dance when she breathes and swoops toward him after his hand sighs down her arm; how he flourishes her into dance spins; how they gaze through one another across the whole audience while never simpering towards the judges; how their edges are so deep I’d believe either was about to be lain into a death spiral by the other.
Mark: Overall, both short and long, clearly Papadakis/Cizeron, the Shibutanis, and Anna Pogorilaya. The last of these three was clearly a pleasant surprise, but all of these athletes skated without so much of a bobble in both programs - and that's all you can ask for!
Team Challenge Cup
Meghan: You have to hand it to Shoma Uno for coming back so strongly after a disappointing Worlds. We are all more than nervous when we heard about his jump layout, but he pulled it off in stunning fashion. And the smirk on his face while he was doing it was amazing.
Matthew: His axel was GOE heaven: absolutely insane rideout. Outside of his jumps, Shoma has those incredible knees as well as a quietly powerful presence, and in this SP he sold a difficult music choice to pull off.
Tiffany: Evgenia Medvedeva was the only person who didn't look completely over it.
Emily: Ashley Wagner's short program- because who else could command you to clap mid back camel?
Ioana: Ashley Wagner's SP was even more enjoyable than at Worlds.