Thank you to this week's Senior GPF judges! Due to a website glitch (thanks, Weebly!), I wasn't able to introduce them to you before the event, but here they are now:
Amanda (@storyologist_ap) | The Storyologist
Tell us a little about your experiences with figure skating or as a fan. Wanted to learn to skate for years, but didn't have the time, money, and courage all at the same time til a couple years ago; now I sloooowly work my way through the skills in between multiple jobs, grad school, and, you know, life. I've watching skating all my life, and in recent years have particularly gravitated towards ice dance.
What's your favorite grossly underscored skate of the last five years? Everyone keeps saying Mao's Olympic FS, so I'm going to go for the lower ranks and say Hawayek/Baker's 2015 US Nationals FD.
Camden R. (@camdenrider)
Tell us a little about your experiences with figure skating or as a fan. I am a current competitive figure skater and am an avid fan. One time I met Meryl Davis on a bus and I posted about it on Twitter and she retweeted it. Safe to say I'm still deceased.
What's your favorite grossly underscored skate of the last five years? Mao Asada's 2014 Olympic free program and Ashley's Olympic Short. Just wow.
Francy S. (@fs_evolution) | Figure Skating Evolution Events Photography
Tell us a little about your experiences with figure skating or as a fan. Avid fan since the 2006 Winter Olympics! I try to attend live competitions whenever I can - most of my holidays are skating related :) I find watching practices fun and extremely interesting. Recently getting into skating photography too.
What's your favorite grossly underscored skate of the last five years? Weaver/Poje 2014 Worlds FD
Tell us a little about your experiences with figure skating or as a fan. I am a three-time Sectionals competitor.
What's your favorite grossly underscored skate of the last five years? Kim Yuna at the 2014 Olympics.
Ximena | YouTube
Tell us a little about your experiences with figure skating or as a fan. Not much really, I come from a country without FS history, so no chance of watching events live (as much as I'd love to). Everything I know I've learned it online and with the B.ESP/CBC commentators.
What's your favorite grossly underscored skate of the last five years? I had picked Mao's Sochi FS previously but everyone knows about that one so I'll pick Satoko's FS at Worlds 2016
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 NHK, 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!
Amanda: All of it!
Camden: All of it! First time this season!
Francy: All of it live, including practices!
Victor: Ladies, pairs, and men
Ximena: All the senior events
Who had the best performance of the event?
Amanda: Tessa and Scott's SD. If you'd told me at the beginning of the season that this would be my answer, I'd have thought you were crazy, given my very mixed feelings about them returning at all. That said, their Prince SD is insanely good, both technically and artistically, and I almost cheered out loud in front of my screen for that non-touching step sequence!
Amanda: Nathan Chen. I know, I know, he still really needs to work on PCS, on his spins, and his overall artistic side of skating- right now, he's a jumper without a lot in between elements. But I'm already seeing strides in the right direction, and there's no arguing with that quad arsenal. Also, I want to give a shout-out for improvement within the competition to Julianne Seguin/ Charlie Bilodeau, for coming back from a disastrous short to put out a truly lovely FS.
Amanda: I didn't see a lot of underscoring, but Hubbell/Donohue's FD PCS seemed a tiny bit on the low side. Otherwise, scoring seemed to go the opposite direction.
Hubbell and Donohue should have been 4th in the FD and possibly overall. The FD especially showcases their long lines and sweeping movements, they really skate 'big' and fill the ice with their presence.
Amanda: I felt like much of the ladies' FS were overscored, frankly. Satoko Miyahara had some questionably UR jumps that weren't called, Kaetlyn Osmond getting 137 for a program with multiple pops. And Evgenia Medvedeva skated a flawed program (don't even get me started on how I feel about the program itself) and still came close to Yuna's WR? No wonder it's best to stay FAR away from the ladies' threads on skating forums...
Amanda: Madison Hubbell/Zach Donohue were positively exquisite, especially in their FD (yes, even with the flawed twizzles). Maria Sotskova took advantage of the opening left by Elena Radionova's poor showing and positively soared. Honorable mention to Adam Rippon and his deliciously fierce, slightly trashy SP.
Amanda: Hubbell/Donohue and Chen both leapfrogged their domestic rivals here. If not for Madi's twizzle mistake in the FD, they might have even surpassed Bobrova/Soloviev for 4th. They're looking like actual silver contenders at Nationals. Likewise, Chen surpassed all expectations and could easily look to pass two, if not all three, of the top US men at Nationals. But, a caveat: it all hinges on his jumping, as he's not (yet) a well-rounded skater. Honorable mention to Tarasova/Morozov, who make a case for being a real threat in Russian pairs (if they can just ditch the circa-1980s styling).
Amanda: It may seem obvious, given my answer to the last question, but Chock/Bates and Adam Rippon. C/B's programs this year just aren't clicking for them, and with this stumble in Marseille, it's looking less likely that they could regain their national title. Even more, they've shown themselves vulnerable to H/D. Similarly, Rippon has huge personality on the ice, but without the technical arsenal, he risks losing his title and possibly his Worlds spot, depending how his rivals skate in Kansas City.
Camden: Radionova. She was the #4 Russian here, which, if this happens again at Nationals, could mean no spot on the world team for her, despite her Grand Prix. I'm also gonna make a bold statement and say Hanyu, because now he knows that Shoma can beat him internationally.
Francy: Chock and Bates lost ground to the Shibs with this subpar showing, it will be an uphill battle to regain the national title. Same can be said for Adam Rippon. Duhamel/Radford will likely win nationals again, but need to change something (as they themselves said) if they want to medal at Worlds. Radionova's spot on the Worlds/Euro team is in danger.
Victor: Anna P.
Ximena: I think there are quite a few skaters who a lot to lose in their next competition (mostly Nationals). Yuzuru has to be in better shape at Nationals if he doesn't want to be upset by Shoma after this FS. Same thing with Adam, this FS in addition to Nathan's silver medal puts him in a vulnerable position to defend his National title. Though I don't think they can win Nationals this year, Chock and Bates have to look out for mistakes like those in their SD as to still be able to grab the silver in the very deep American Ice Dance field.
The experts always get to make "bold predictions." Make a bold prediction about something that will happen in the remainder of the season.
Amanda: Duhamel/Radford end up off the podium at Worlds. The Shibs actually manage to surpass Papadakis/Cizeron overall. Shoma beats Yuzu in one of the remaining competitions. Evgenia finally stops wearing gloves.
Camden: The podium at Worlds will be the same in men, and Meagan and Eric won't be on the podium at Worlds. Satoko will bless us with beautiful skates and get another world medal. The Shibutanis will beat Papadakis and Cizeron at Worlds.
Francy: The same 3 ladies will stand on the podium at Worlds. But Queen Kostner will steal the show with two amazing programs, although not as technically strong. Hanyu will get the world title back, Chan and Uno will medal, Fernandez won't. Tarasova/Morozov will medal at Worlds, and the audience will be stuck with the 'Music was my first loooooveeeee' earworm forever. The top 3 US ice dance teams will be all much closer at nationals, where C/B will come back strong. They then will go head to head with the Shibs for Worlds bronze. The V/M vs P/C fan wars drama will be as annoying as in the D/W rivalry era and will prevent our enjoyment of both teams.
Victor: I feel like Yuzuru will finally win the world title this year. Evgenia won't break the world record at any of the next competitions this season. Virtue and Moir will get second at worlds. Meagan and Eric will win worlds, by surprise, yet again.
Ximena: Tarasova/Morozov will win Russian Nationals, even though Mozer has said Stolbova/Klimov will compete there. Maria Sotskova will finish ahead of Radionova at Russian Nationals (but Liza Tuktamysheva will be the bronze, anyway). Satoko will win 4 CC, but Kaetlyn will be on the podium this time. Yu/Zhang win 4 CC. Virtue/Moir and Medvedeva will remain undefeated for the rest of the season. Patrick gets a FS costume that doesn't look like training clothes. ISU decides to save their budget like the French Fed and makes their medals out of carton.
Bonus question! Pick one JGPF/GPF competitor's program and assign it to another competitor you'd like to see perform it.
Amanda: For science, can I give Adam's nightclub SP (and costume) to Javi? #sleevelessisthenewblack
Camden: Ooh. This is tough. I kind of want to see Anna's short with Gracie, just because I want her to have better programs. Also, Satoko's long would look really cool on Karen Chen!
Francy: Hanyu doing Adam Rippon's gay club anthem SP would be quite the sight, but I'm not sure his fans could handle all the skin showing. Medvedeva should do a Yuri on Ice program and let her personality shine (ok, this was not exactly the question but I wanted to get it out there). Since I'm breaking the rules, can I also assign another competitors' partner? Like Yu to Jin again (still not over it)?
Victor: I would like to see Megan Duhamel and Eric Radford skate to Evgenia Tarasova and Nikolai Morozov's music in the free program.
Ximena: I would like to see Patrick's "The Journey" skated by Nathan. Just because I think his current FS is too quad oriented, and I want to see him focus more on blade control, skating skills, transitions, etc.
Anything else to add about this event?
Amanda: Lots of predictions shattered, lots of shifts in perspective. This has been a certifiably INSANE GP season, so this felt like a fitting capper. Also, plastic medals? Get your ish together, France!
Camden: It was so nice to have a season without Phil Hersh, and now he's back. Ugh. Also BLESS TINY QUEEN OF MY HEART!!!!!!
Francy: Hanyu watching Javi's FS was all of us watching the men FS. Chan and Javi with the matching costumes on the same practice ice were hilarious to watch. I swear in Medvedeva's FS voiceovers you can clearly hear 'from Russia, Ilia Skirda!' at the beginning of the step sequence. I missed the divas in the pairs event, time to get back Aliona, Sui, and Stolbova for some drama! Ice dance should be pretty epic to watch in the next year, not only for gold but for the shuffling in the top 10. It's always great to watch skating live, but the organization of the event and the venue were such a letdown after Barcelona! Nothing can beat beach and tapas close to the rink!
Victor: This event had great skating, however, some people had some minor mistakes and the judging panel was still very lenient. As the top ISU series event, the judges should reward elements that are good and penalize elements in a fair manner, with no biases.
Ximena: As much as I always look forward to the GPF, the terrible logistics on the event were too much. The uncomfortable seats, the recycled podium from TDF, the lack of proper flags and above all...the PLASTIC MEDALS. You wouldn't believe this was the most important event of the first half of the season.
What did you think about this year's Grand Prix Final? How did our judges do? Leave us a comment to let us know, then sign up to judge a future event!