Here are the Four Continents 2016 judges!
Hannah is on Twitter.
Keira can be found on her Tumblr or Twitter.
MJ is on Twitter.
Mark is documenting his skating journey and blogging for the USFS Fan Zone. He's on Twitter here.
Nori blogs at Naked Ice and the Naked Ice Twitter.
Shannon can be found on Twitter.
Judging Four Continents
Hannah: All of ladies, pairs and dance, last 2 groups of men
Keira: All of the pairs and dance, the top 15 ladies and top 10 men
Mark: Last group of each segment, plus more depending on how much I could stomach watching the Americans...
MJ: 80% give or take, just missed a few men's free skates and short/free dances.
Nori: Top 12 ladies, top 3 dances, top 4 men SP...and no pairs
Shannon: All of the ladies, dance, and last group of men and pairs
Who had the best performance of the event?
Hannah: Alexa Scimeca and Chris Knierim really stood out for me: nailing all the elements, and then her reaction at the end, and to her scores, were adorable, as usual! And I ADORE the Shibutani's free dance. They move me to tears every time, and this was no different. So excited about their gold medal.
Nori: Satoko Miyahara. Satoko's steadiness is insane. She has been with it all year and she seems to have cured those pesky nerves that undid her at this event last year. Both programs were spotless. She made it look like it was the easiest thing ever. So happy to see her being rewarded for her gorgeous skating.
Who improved the most from the last time you watched them skate?
Hannah: So Youn Park. I know her freeskate had mistakes, but she really seems to be digging down and figuring out her place in the field. Her short program especially had me jumping for joy.
MJ: Both Kevin Reynolds and Boyang Jin, particularly in Kevin's free and Boyang's short. Both of them are known as jumpers (i.e. having the jumps but not the artistry), but these respective programs really helped me see them in a new light as far as being performers go. They've learned to listen to the nuances in their music and actually sell to the audience instead of focusing only on their jumps, and skating inward as a result.
Shannon: Alexa Scimeca and Chris Knierim. After a disastrous GPF and an off Nationals, I was excited to see them skate a clean long. That quad twist was gorgeous. I also have to give a nod to Patrick Chan, that long program is wonderful. We do have to talk about that costume though.
Hannah: Honestly, I felt Mirai should have been 130+. That was an absolutely perfect performance, yet her PCS were less than Gracie's.
Keira: Weaver/Poje's FD, no question. While they definitely made mistakes, I would have placed them much closer to Chock/Bates and given them the silver. I'm very worried for W/P heading into Worlds.
Nori: Na Hyun Kim's SP. She nailed a ratified 3L-3L for goodness sake! All level 4s expect for the step sequence (level 3), her other jumps were solid, her program was nice...I thought she should have at least cracked 60 points.
Which performance was the most overscored?
Hannah: Gracie Gold. She was definitely lifted up here, as usual. She did not perform one ounce of either of her programs. I felt it should have been more like 53+115.
MJ: As much as I love him and his tiny shark tooth, Boyang Jin continues to be gifted anywhere from 5 to 15 PCS for every (clean) program simply because he can jump. Yes, he has a fabulous quad lutz and I'm in awe every time he executes it, but it's getting ridiculous that he also gets this giant boost in PCS when his actual skating from element to element is nowhere near other top competitors. I think at least his P/E and IN marks for the short were deserved, if not a tad high. Can't say the same for his free, though.
Out of those skaters and teams who finished in the bottom half of their events, who had the best performance?
Hannah: I really enjoyed Tae Ok Ryom and Ju Sik Kim's free skate. Their technical base value just isn't quite up there with the best, but they skated clean and emoted quite a bit. I think they have a bright future.
Mark: Not quite bottom half, but I'm proud of Kaetlyn Osmond's comeback. Obviously she's not back up to tip top shape, but she seemed happy with her free skate and she's got a spark that makes me feel like we'll see her back on top soon. She's just so much more pleasant to watch than either Chartrand or Daleman.
Hannah: The dance result. Never expected Weaver and Poje to be 3rd overall and 4th in the free dance.
Keira: The ladies event. All of it. The change in rankings from the short program to the free skate were absolutely insane, and the fact that Rika Hongo was able to win the bronze with a 4th place short and 5th place free (even with her overall score being so high) is pretty wild!
Mark: The Korean national ladies team. Yuna Kim clearly has had an effect on the country. The Korean ladies landed more clean triple-triples in the short program at 4cc (three out of three) than the total number in the ladies short program at St. Paul for U.S. nationals (only two, Polina Edmunds and Tyler Pierce).
MJ: The men's event being a giant splatfest. Ladies' short was great, so the men's short was terrible, but then the ladies' free was pretty bad so I thought the skating gods would help us and give the men a break! Everything should have equalized!! *throws fist up at skating gods* (But maybe Worlds will be great. Let us pray.) On a better note, I was pleasantly surprised by Tae Ok Ryom and Ju Sik Kim of PRK! It was the first time I've seen them skate and not only did they skate well, they're really lovely to watch. I hope we see them in Pyeongchang.
Nori: I do think I'd have had Kaetlyn Osmond in 5th ahead of Gracie Gold, but other than that I thought the placements were fair.
Shannon: The Shibutani's victory here. I had a feeling if they skated well they would finish ahead of Chock and Bates. I was skeptical if they would put Weaver and Poje behind them, but they did it!
Preparing for Worlds
Hannah: I think Gracie will bounce back strong. I don't think she will medal, but she'll skate stronger.
Keira: Gracie Gold. The event will be held in the US, so it's no doubt to me that there'll be a bit of home-ice inflation.
Mark: I'm definitely going with the Shibutanis. I don't believe anyone, not even their greatest fans, would have guessed in September that they would be going into Worlds in the position that they are currently in. Not only are they almost guaranteed to get a medal if they skate clean, but they could be at the top if the French miss any levels.
MJ: I'm hopeful that Soyoun Park's great performances here (following a clean free skate from Korean Nationals!) are the first steps for her to gain back her confidence! She had such a great Worlds debut in Saitama but hasn't been able to get back to the same level since.
Nori: Gracie. Even though she laid an egg here, she's still the U.S. champion and that will help to boost her in Boston. I'd also hope that So Youn Park's 4th place finish here gives her some confidence to skate well at Worlds.
Shannon: I think Shoma Uno will rebound for Worlds. Some bad luck in the long but I am along for the ride for that techno short. He is such a beautiful skater and there is still development to be done.
Which medalist from this event is going to have the least success at Worlds?
Hannah: Rika Hongo is going to have a hard time keeping up at Worlds if we see clean skates from the Americans.
Keira: As much as it pains me to write this, I have to say Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje. Winning this event would have proved that they are on the same level as Papadakis and Cizeron (of France), and they weren't able to do that. With P/C having two incredible programs and winning the European Championships for the second time and the American teams surging, I worry they won't even make the podium.
Mark: Chock and Bates. Their only chances for a medal now are if one or more teams above them really screw up. Also, Mirai Nagasu, because, you know... she doesn't get to go. :P
MJ: I don't see Scimeca/Knierim getting anywhere near the podium in Boston. They had great success here with Duhamel/Radford withdrawing (get well, Meagan!) and no Russians, but they will all be back in the picture at Worlds.
Nori: Mirai, because she's not going. Duh!
Shannon: I have two skaters in mind: First, Gracie. I have lost all confidence that she will put together a clean short and long. I feel like we all have been waiting since 2013. I am so over waiting and inflated marks. She could have won a bronze if clean but there was no fire in that bird. Second, Patrick Chan needs to skate a clean short to challenge. Enough said.
And, just for fun...
Hannah: Mirai's free skate dress is absolutely gorgeous.
Keira: Weaver/Poje's FD costumes. They were absolutely stunning and perfectly captured the mood of their music. Mirai Nagasu's FS dress is a very, very close second!
Mark: I love Mirai's long program outfit. It's just so cute and perfect!
MJ: Both of Emi Hirai's dresses were absolutely beautiful. They also capture the feel of both programs really well! Her skirt in the short is to die for. (She did look like she was having trouble throughout the competition, which is sad because I really like her and Marien.)
Hannah: I know they're trying to be different, but Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier's costumes weird me out a little.
Mark: Takahito Mura's costumes confuse me.
Who had the best music selection at this event?
Hannah: I love Les Mis and love Nessun Dorma so the skater that uses both is an automatic favorite: Karen Chen. Love both of her programs.
Nori: Alaine Chartrand's SP music (soundtrack from "Pina") is my favorite this year.
Who had the worst music selection at this event?
Hannah: Xiaoyu Yu and Yang Jin's free skate music never builds and reminds me of a lullaby I used to fall asleep to.
Which pair/dance team had the best chemistry? The worst chemistry?
Hannah: Hubbell and Donohue have so much chemistry that it's just gorgeous to watch.
Sui and Han are amazing skaters, but I feel they really lack chemistry.
To close it up...
Hannah: U.S. will get 3 spots for pairs in 2017, the Shibutanis will win, and Ashley will be the highest placing American lady (with hopefully a medal). There will be the ultimate showdown between Yuzuru, Javier, Patrick, Boyang and Shoma. The rest are fighting for top 10.
Keira: All three US dance teams will place in the top 5. The USFSA will make the right decision and send Mirai to Worlds instead of Polina Edmunds (hey, a girl can dream, right?).
Mark: No American man cracks the top 8 at Worlds. Alexa and Chris and Danny and Tarah somehow miraculously earn 3 spots for 2017 Worlds. Shoma continues to have jump issues at Worlds because he doesn't check his landings properly and they swing wide open.... agh! I don't know, Polina gets a higher placement at Worlds than either Ashley or Gracie?
MJ: Patrick Chan does quad toe-triple toe-boards and misses the Worlds podium. Gracie Gold moves her bun back to the top of her head. Mervin Tran finally gets a proper costume for the short program.
Nori: Satoko Miyahara will shock everyone and win Worlds.
Shannon: Shoma Uno will medal at Worlds.
Anything else to add about this event?
Hannah: I think this event just proves that Worlds is going to be an extremely exciting event in all four disciplines. The U.S. men need to get their act together. I am really happy I stayed up late to watch the men's free skate, because that last group was amazing.
Keira: I feel so #blessed to be living in the United States of Mirai.
Mark: The Men's event is going to be totally ridonkulous in Boston, and the dance event is totally up in the air now. And these two things will be my consolation prize as an American skating fan for not seeing any of our single skaters medal...for at least another like, 5-10 years. :sadface:
MJ: Dear judge #3 on Patrick Chan's free skate protocol: what the hell were you on?
Nori: So proud of Mirai for building on her nationals performances and showing that she's not done yet. I'm worried about Gracie going into Worlds. I do think she'll rebound but, yet again, she let her nerves knock her off of the podium. Worlds should be interesting. I guess we'll see if Ashley and Polina made the wise choice by staying home.
Shannon: This event had so many surprises. While the time difference kills everyone, I was more and more excited for every discipline. I blame it on Mirai.
What did you think about the Four Continents? How did our judges do? Leave us a comment to let us know, then sign up to judge a future event!