But it wasn't all bad! With great skates by Elena Radionova, Patrick Chan, and the Shibutanis, among many others, there was plenty to celebrate at Cup of China this year. Thanks to this week's judges, who helped us navigate the good, the bad, and the extremely ugly:
Amber C. (@amberchamberlan) | A Skater's Perspective
Tell us a little about your experiences with figure skating or as a fan. I am a figure skater and I have been skating for 10 years, and competing for 3. I have been a fan for 4 years and attended the 2016 U.S Figure Skating Championships. I met Ashley Wagner twice, and it was awesome both times.
What's your favorite grossly underscored skate of the last five years? I would have to go with Ashley Wagner's short program at the Olympics. I totally agree with her reaction and thought that should have been scored higher.
Joseph K. (@thebrothaj)
Tell us a little about your experiences with figure skating or as a fan. Former novice level skater (Early '80's). Forever a fan of quality skating over quantity skating. Last competition attended was Skate America 2016.
What's your favorite grossly underscored skate of the last five years? Carolina Kostner, 2014 Winter Olympics short & long programs.
Keira C. (@keirailene_) | Skating Predictions
Tell us a little about your experiences with figure skating or as a fan. I figure skated until I was 11, giving the sport up for horseback riding (which I regret). I got back into the sport, this time as a fan, during the 2014 US National Championships - and ever since, I've been obsessed!
What's your favorite grossly underscored skate of the last five years? Weaver/Poje's 2015 Worlds FD. Beautifully choreographed and well skated - they should have gotten the gold.
Mandy S. (@__heck)
Tell us a little about your experiences with figure skating or as a fan. I'd been a very casual fan since I was a kid, but I turned on the 2014 Olympics while I worked at home during a snowstorm and immediately developed A Problem. Since then, I've gone to almost every show in driving distance, lost countless hours of sleep watching overseas comps, attended Worlds (!), and made so many amazing friends.
What's your favorite grossly underscored skate of the last five years? Jeremy Abbott's SP at 2015 Nationals.
Meghan D. (@DadeMeghan ) | Figuratively Speaking
Tell us a little about your experiences with figure skating or as a fan. Michelle Kwan was my first skating obsession. Like, I literally had a replica of her necklace that I bought with her book at the book fair. And I wore it. Proudly.
What's your favorite grossly underscored skate of the last five years? Justice for #TinyQueen!
LET'S GET JUDGING. Click "Read More" below to continue. When you're finished reading, leave a comment to let us know what you thought about Cup of China, how you think the real judges did, and how you think our judges did. If you disagree, sign up to judge an event later in the year and share your thoughts!
Amber: I think I got about 8 hours of sleep over the course of 2 days, but I managed to watch all of it live with the exception of Ice Dance and Pairs in which I fell asleep during, so I caught up on it at a later time.
Joseph: All: Mens, Ladies, 50%: Dance & Pairs
Keira: All of ladies and dance, last group of men's and pairs free skates. Plus Boyangman. Because Boyangman.
Mandy: Men's and women's short and most of the free; pairs' and free dance and about half the short.
Meghan: All of it; some live and some replay
Amber: I would say Maia & Alex Shibutani’s free dance. They are just so lovely to watch and they did 4380975 twizzles over the course of that program and I’m not complaining about it one bit.
Amber: Boyang Jin. We last saw him skate at Skate America, where a disaster of a short program left him in 8th place. He did much better in the free skate, but ended up in 5th place. At Cup of Disaster, uh no wait Cup of China I meant to say Cup of China, Jin did much better and claimed the silver medal
Amber: I think that Ashley Wagner’s free program was robbed of some points. Her TES dropped by 15 points which I think was a little harsh. 6 of her 7 triple jumps were called underrotated in her free skate. Basically the only jumps that did not receive underrotation marks were her double axels. #rude
Keira: ALRIGHT LISTEN UP KIDDOS (kiddos, meaning I'm seventeen and you're all older than me): I made a mistake. I obsessively tweeted #justice4kaitlyn leading up to this event, thinking the skating gods would give Kaitlyn Weaver and friend good scores. They did, but in the process, also gave Kaetlyn Osmond huge scores. And then, to top it off, they placed Ashley Wagner SIXTH. Mr. Samuel Auxier, THE PRESIDENT OF USFSA, gave Diva Wagner a SS score of 7.75. Were there mistakes in Ashley's free? Yes, but she placed second in PCS, and that says something. I don't think Ashley should have won the competition, but she should have cracked the Top 5 in the free for sure.
Mandy: Ross Miner wasn't going to win, let's be real, but the judges could definitely have thrown him a few extra PCS points in his short - there was no reason to have him within .22 points of Max Aaron's clunky short in components (or within a mile of Maxim Kovtun's spectacularly awkward SP).
Which performance was the most overscored?
Amber: Kaetlyn Osmond’s short program. Her score was 72.20. It was a strong skate, but that score is a little high for that program.
Meghan: While I agree with the placement of Kaetlyn Osmond overall, I'm not sure her short program was two points ahead of Radionova and four above Mihara, who had the cleanest skate of all three.
Out of those skaters and teams who finished in the bottom half of their events, who had the best performance?
Amber: Xiangning Li. In her free skate, she had some underrotation issues, but her score broke 100. I was surprised that she finished in the top 10.
Amber: Ashley Wagner. Ashley skated her best free skate at Japan Open so the potential for her free skate is there. I think Nationals will be a much better competition for her and the only place to go from here would be up.
Joseph: Since it appears that it will be Nationals, Ashley Wagner. She has to go in on FIRE to enter Worlds with some "National Champion" buzz. No one (mostly her) wants that '16 silver to be a fluke.
Keira: The Shibs. Following two wins on the GP, it'll be interesting to see how they fare at the GPF. Beating either Papadakis/Cizeron or Virtue/Moir would probably give them a huge confidence boost and solidify why they won the silver medal at Worlds last year. It's not guaranteed that either of those teams will qualify for the GPF, but it's almost certain that they will.
Mandy: Papadakis/Cizeron and Virtue/Moir basically need to just keep all of their limbs attached to their bodies and not pull a Richie Tenenbaum on the ice in order to qualify for GPF.
Who has the most to lose at their next competition?
Amber: Max Aaron. If Adam Rippon and Jason Brown keep competing the way they are right now, they will be on the podium at U.S. nationals (probably). I think that last spot on the podium will be between Nathan Chen and Max Aaron, If Nathan can land all his quads he could take that last spot on the podium and leave Max off the world team.
Joseph: Ashley Wagner. For the same reasons as she has the most to gain.
Keira: All of the US ladies, to be honest. Nationals is going to be an absolute bloodbath (hopefully not literally). I'm hoping that this Grand Prix season hasn't had a major impact on their confidence levels, and it'll be interesting to see who gets placed on the World team. Should Ashley qualify for the Grand Prix Final, it'll be interesting to see how she does there - what would an off-the-podium finish mean for her?
Mandy: Nathan Chen needs to not just podium but snag gold or silver to advance to GPF - it's a long shot, but by no means impossible. Satoko Miyahara just needs to podium, but I don't want to jinx her by saying it's a done deal. In the end, everyone who's bad at word problems in math (me) have a ton to lose in predictions, so no matter what, we're going to be surprised.
Meghan: The Shibutanis. At the Grand Prix Final, we will see where they stack up not only against the French and the Canadians, but where they will finish against Chock and Bates. The Shibs will want to consistently place higher than C/B to hang on to that national title for a second year.
The experts always get to make "bold predictions." Make a bold prediction about something that will happen in the remainder of the season.
Amber: U.S senior ladies national podium: Ashley Wagner, Gracie Gold, Mariah Bell, Mirai Nagasu in that order 1st to 4th. Also, there will continue to be an enormous amount of Shoma Uno puns because of his ability to put on a great Sho-ma and end up in numero uno. So sho-ma the puns everyone!
Joseph: Adam Rippon will make the podium at Worlds. Yeah, I said it!
Keira: Mariah Bell will win US Nationals. Adam brings his birds to Worlds and medals. Evgenia does not win Worlds.
Mandy: Mirai Nagasu will podium, thereby destroying the hopes and dreams of several ladies.
Meghan: At the Grand Prix Final, three American men will be in the field (this is actually realistic but shocking enough of a possibility to mention) and Anna Pogorilaya will beat Evgenia Medvedeva. Sui/Han will return as the saviors of this season's pairs field to win a World title.
This week's optional bonus question was requested by a number of people on Twitter, so we're hanging onto last week's for at least one more go. As always, costumes have ranged from the strangely mundane (Patrick Chan) to the just plain strange (Gordei Gorshkov). What is your favorite costume so far this season? What is your least favorite?
Amber: My least favorite would be Elizaveta Tuktamysheva’s free program dress. I guess I just don’t understand it. Less fabric on the sleeve and more on the skirt. My favorite is Adam Rippon’s short program costume. I absolutely love everything about the tank-top. As long as somebody makes sure his spray-tan is even on ALL areas of his arms.
Amber: First of all, Max Aaron’s change of costume is… quite something. I’m not quite sure how I feel about it. Secondly, I love Linshu Song / Zhuoming Sun’s choice of music for the short dance which is a Beyoncé medley, and also for the free dance which was James Bond/Skyfall. Also I have to say that for the ladies event… what a lovely harvest from the cup of carrots. There were just so many jumps that received underrotation marks.
Joseph: Sound system issues... what's up with that?!
Keira: Wow, guys, I can't believe that the Grand Prix was cancelled after Skate America! So disappointing. :(
Mandy: I was pretty sick this weekend, to the point where, when watching the pairs free, my Robitussin-addled mind started wondering if competitors were falling because I wasn't concentrating hard enough on keeping them upright. If that really was the case, sorry guys, I'll do better next time, I promise!
Meghan: Dear Shin Amano- Little harsh, Gretch. #CupofDisaster
Also, how is a federation president judging this event a thing that is allowed?
What did you think about Cup of China? How did our judges do? Leave us a comment to let us know, then sign up to judge a future event!