That said, Rostelecom was an incredibly exciting competition, highlighted for many by the battle for dominance among the three Russian women in the Ladies' event.
In alphabetical order, here are the judges for Rostelecom Cup 2015:
Alice can be found on Twitter.
Braulio can be found doing play-by-play for ice dance on FSU.
Justin can be found on Twitter.
Sigrid can be found on Twitter or converting Grand Prix event times for time zones across globe (I am 100% reliant on this).
Victor can be found on Twitter or winning the US UGL Juvenile Regional.
Find out more about the judges here!
LET'S GET JUDGING. When you're finished reading, leave a comment to let us know what you thought about Rostelecom, 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!
Alice: Top 4-5 for all disciplines; a few programs here and there from the lower placing competitors.
Justin: All of ladies, most of mens and pairs, podium dance.
Sigrid: 95% of it more or less.
Victor: Men's short and 2nd group of long, 2nd group of ladies both SP and FS, 2nd group of pairs SP and FS.
Who had the best performance of the event?
Alice: Adam Rippon's FS. A beautiful, original program with a mesh costume as a a bonus. What's not to love? For me, it's a better fit than his short which seemed to me a bit risky in terms of both music choice and choreography. The Beatles program accentuates his lines, his control, and his superior expression over most of the men's field here at Rostelecom. He definitely deserved a medal for it. (Because this site is built out of the United States, we cannot embed a video of Adam's free skate. Click here to check it out on Google Drive, thanks to judges Sigrid and Patrick!)
Braulio: Kaitlyn Weaver/Andrew Poje in the free dance. They were better than at Skate Canada and more polished overall. They still need to go up technically as they lost TES to Victoria and Nikita, but the performance is way up there as maybe the most intricate of all the top couples we have seen.
Honorable mention: Rose Radionova, LP. What a fighter in those ice cold water!
Alice: Adian Pitkeev! I've been keeping an eye on him since Junior Worlds in 2014 and he's really improved with expression and consistency, cementing his place in my heart as my favorite Russian man. I legitimately enjoyed his free skate, or at least the beginning and the end of it. The melodic, classical music allowed him to showcase a more expressive, emotional side of his skating that we don't usually see from him. Though he may not have deserved almost 80 PCS, he skated well and put himself in contention for a place on the World team. And honestly, I love seeing a smile on that usually bordering-murderous face.
Honorable mention: Chartrand. She put herself in position to achieve the "Hubert" -- place dead last at your first GP event and then win your next (last achieved by Laetitia Hubert, 1997).
Alice: Based on the performances I was able to watch, I don't think there was any program that was too severely underscored. I do think Adam's FS deserved higher PCS compared to Javi's 92.74, though.
Braulio: Polina Edmunds should have scored higher.
Alice: All the Russian ladies, hands down. To put things in perspective, Mao received a 69.60 for her (although not perfect) FS at Cup of China and Elena, Evgenia, and Adelina received 68.78, 67.61, 69.38 PCS respectively for their free skates. What is this injustice??
Honorable mention: Sotnikova LP. I think she deserved the highest PCS: Her skating skills are at an elite level, good speed, really engaging programs. I still thought her PCS was too high here, but I thought she deserved to beat Edmunds overall. Polina is too slow, the LP is atrocious, and half those jumps were easily identifiable as cheated in real time.
Alice: Of what I was able to watch from the bottom half of each event, I pick Elena Ilinykh and Ruslan Zhiganshin's FD. Though choreographically their FD isn't my favorite, I enjoyed it and it's more interesting than their FD last season. It's really unfortunate that they've been having trouble this season compared to their former partners so I hope we can see them improve the rest of the season.
Braulio: I liked Mikhail Kolyada. He was the best Russian for me in the men's event.
Alice: Ross Miner. If he keeps delivering, he might actually have a chance at that 3rd Worlds spot in January, considering the general inconsistency and the lack of quads of American men. I'm not a big fan of his programs this season, but it's great to see a lesser-known and -acknowledged American man place at a GP.
Braulio: Anna and Luca. They keep getting better and stronger. The result here was good and they are moving forward toward another world medal. The GPF will be a valuable experience for them and if they can place first or second that will put one step closer to the Euros/World podium.
Justin: Ilinykh/Zhiganshin in dance. Unimpressive here; the OD was a disaster and the FD sounds good on paper but just isn't working. Their arch rivals, Sinitsina/Katsalapov, have two bronzes on the GP...have they passed them for the season? I/Z have the most to gain simply because they need to demonstrate they can beat S/K at Russian nationals. I still hold out hope that Bobrova can be the number 1 dance team in Russia.
Sigrid: The next competition for some of the skaters here is GPF and I think the ones that have most to gain there are Weaver and Poje. They've been the only ones (so far) who have won their 2 GPs and even if it wasn't a monster score, they got to defeat Anna and Luca, who had previously defeated Chock and Bates. Having that little edge over their main rivals could help them in Barcelona. Ice dance at the GPF is going to be super interesting.
Victor: I think Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro, because they had one bad performance, but I feel like they are the team who will fight at the next event because this event didn't go as planned.
Who has the most to lose at their next competition?
Alice: Javier Fernandez. He's been relatively disaster-free this season and it scares me. What will happen in Barcelona, at home? Will he be able to land his quads? Will he be able to hold off the rest of the quad-loving men? He seems to have improved in terms of consistency this season and I hope it lasts.
Braulio: I think Nam Nguyen's result just put more pressure on him about his season's progress. It has not been the best as expected and after all the hype in 2014-2015. Now that Chan has returned it seems Nguyen is judged as to where he belongs.
Justin: Radionova. She looked great after a shaky CoC but there is absolutely no margin for error with the Russian ladies. One bad competition and she is back to not making the European/Worlds teams.
Sigrid: Unfortunately I have to go with Takahiko Kozuka. I enjoy his skating a lot, he has edges to die for and his flow is great. But something isn't working lately and when he misses an element his program falls apart and the mistakes keep coming. He has the Japanese Nationals in January where he has to face Uno, Hanyu, Mura, Murakami... He needs to find his old self if he wants to make the World Team.
Victor: I think Sergei Voronov. We see him do great short programs because it's not too difficult, but Russians don't train full longs, which may be good or bad. I haven't seen the consistency that he had in the past. I don't think the future is looking bright.
The experts always get to make "bold predictions." Make a bold prediction about something that will happen in the remainder of the season.
Alice: Adian will beat out Kovtun, Menshov, and Voronov to be the new Russian national champion and make the Worlds team. Julia will come back at nationals and somehow podium (let me dream). Nathan Chen will also win nationals. Forget Russian pairs, I will finally see the Chinese pairs sweep of my dreams at Worlds.
Braulio: Stolbova & Klimov will split.
Justin: All of the 2016 World Champions skated in Moscow this week: Fernandez, Stolbova/Klimov, Weaver/Poje, and Elena Radionova.
Sigrid: Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Massot will stop Russia from having another podium-sweep at Euros. Florent Amodio will pursue a successful career in clothes designing and will create the costumes for Team France. Carly Gold will dye her hair blonde.
Victor: Yuzuru will win worlds. Megan Duhamal and Eric Radford won't be crowned as world champions. Mao asada will win every event she enters. Gracie will be top 4 at worlds, possibly top 3.
This week's optional bonus question asked our judges to go a little nuts: come up with your own wacky scoring method for sending skaters to the GPF this season - performances, jumps, costumes, music, and hot coaches are all fair game.
Alice: Fellow judge Patrick and I have discussed creating a two-person panel for judging classical music selections. Orchestration of a piece written for piano? Nope. EDM arrangement with weird electric guitar riffs? Sorry, no GPF spot for you. Sloppy cuts of movements slapped together awkwardly and in the wrong order? Please just leave my presence.
Braulio: I am with the decision of accepting the Short Program as final result.
Justin: My GPF criteria:
-Most spoken words in each program. I'LL NEVER LET GO, JACK!
-Blingiest and tackiest costume
-NOT skating to Gone With the Wind
Anything else to add about this event?
Alice: My heart will go onnnnnnnnnnn #iconic
Sigrid: Kudos to Adam Rippon for finding a costume which goes beautifully with his hair colour and for the amazingly well-skated LP with personal bests both in the LP and overall. I felt bad for him for what happened with the scores (Ross Miner was placed initially in 4th and Adam in 3rd but one of Ross' spins was revised after the event and the bronze was for him). It's a shame that we still have to deal with this kind scoring issues in 2015.