Here are our judges for Trophee de France!
Banana W. (@quadsal)
Tell us a little about your experiences with figure skating or as a fan, if any. I went to GPF 2015 and kind of cried the entire time. Also, a lady from the JSF laughed really, really hard at me once.
What's your favorite grossly underscored skate of the last five years? Akiko Suzuki's career??
Hannah C. (@hannahskates96) | A Skater's Perspective
Tell us a little about your experiences with figure skating or as a fan. I started skating 13 years ago and have been competing for 10 years. I am currently at the Novice level and I literally spend all of my free time on skating. Literally. Watching skating, researching skating, dreaming about skating.
What's your favorite grossly underscored skate of the last five years? Ashley Wagner's 2016 Worlds Short Program. She should have been the leader.
Tell us a little about your experiences with figure skating or as a fan. I was an ISU referee and ISU Technical Delegate until 2003. Since 2003 I have been a commentator for figure skating at Eurosport Hungary.
What's your favorite grossly underscored skate of the last five years? Virtue and Moire contra Davis and White at the Olympic Games.
Justine K. (@beanyskates) | Princess Beany Skates
Tell us a little about your experiences with figure skating or as a fan. I skated for years and have now coached for just as many. I fell in love with the sport when I saw Alexei Yagudin live at the 2001 World Championships in Vancouver. Since then I've been to another 4 World Championships (and I'll be in Finland this year!) and a number of smaller events, started a figure skating blog, and dedicated many seasons to getting up early to watch events live from Japan.
What's your favorite grossly underscored skate of the last five years? I still think Scott & Tessa should be two-time Olympic Champions, definitely underscored in Sochi.
Phillip E. (@sk8fanphil)
Tell us a little about your experiences with figure skating or as a fan. When I grew up there were no rinks around, so my skating experience was on roller skates, on which I could do all kinds of amazing tricks. My ice skating has been limited to ponds as a youth, and a few lessons as an adult.
What's your favorite grossly underscored skate of the last five years? Guignard/Fabbri at 2016 Europeans in the FD behind a bunch of stale and uninspiring Russian pairs teams and the acrobatic but mismatched Coomes and Buckland.
What's your favorite grossly underscored skate of the last five years? I always felt the Kerrs were underscored during their whole career. Their programs on the 2010 Olympics were original, fresh but they got harsh marks from the judges.
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Banana: Absolutely none of it live, because school and sleep are important. I watched all the singles SPs, some selective singles FPs, some pairs and dance. I won’t be talking about those two disciplines though because I have negative confidence in my knowledge of them lol
Hannah: All of it. Although I might or might not have painted my nails during the beginning of the free dance...
Judit: Almost everything.
Justine: All of the short programs live and the top free skates.
Phillip: All of it, some live, some after the fact.
Sigrid: Everything. I watched live in the arena.
Who had the best performance of the event?
Banana: ADAM RIPPON WITH HIS FREE. He's graceful and elegant and at the same time his movements are sharp and snappy! He was so clean. And uh, this might sound a little weird, but it was Very Bird-y without being tacky and over the top. I could watch it over and over again.
Who improved the most from the last time you watched them skate?
Banana: Wakaba Higuchi! The last performance of hers I watched before this event was her Tango from Junior Worlds (which I'm not a giant fan of), and honestly she wasn't even my favorite Japanese junior lady from the previous season. Wakaba's always been a pretty solid jumper, and I really enjoyed her SP. Also, the last time I watched Soyoun was live at the Asian Trophy, and it was great to see her do so well in this competition!
Banana: I've got no idea, to be honest. The results were pretty much within the range of my personal predictions.
Hannah: I honestly felt this competition was a bit wild with the scoring on the high side, so there wasn't really any underscoring. However, if I had to pin point one, there was no reason for Adam's short to be 2 points lower than his last 2 competitions. And to lowball him on his birthday?? How rude, judges!!
Phillip: I will again go with Tobias/Tkachenko. It certainly deserved to be higher than the slow, messy free dance which Ilinykh and Zhiganshin put on the ice.
Sigrid: I don't remember any grossly underscored performance but I would have liked to see Mae Berenice Meite getting more PCS for that well-skated and clean long program. After all, she had the cleanest LP of the event.
Banana Medvedeva. Both programs. (Her entire senior career so far. Just kidding.) I want to love her, I really do, but it's just so difficult. It’s all been said before, but there’s no subtlety in her skating, and she’s just so gangly and all over the place. Sometimes when she moves it’s as if some invisible force is whipping her around instead of her having control over her own movements. And in what universe does Medvedeva get 9’s and 9.25’s (plus a single 9.5 in the SP, honestly why) in skating skills while Asada gets 8.25, tops, even on a bad day? This one, apparently, and I don’t like it one bit.
Out of those skaters and teams who finished in the bottom half of their events, who had the best performance?
Banana: Yukai Nagai with her free skate. She is just so, so lovely to watch. Her expression and presentation are gorgeous, the way she flows across the ice is great, and jumps are a figment of my imagination!!
Sigrid: Lauriault/Le Gac in ice dance. They had two solid performances including a wonderful free dance, they impressed me quite a lot. Her parents were sitting right behind me and they had reasons to be proud. Bonus points for skating to the wonderful "Sorry seems to be the hardest word"
Banana: Nathan Chen. His BVs are already pretty killer, but he has expressiveness to boot. (Although his shoulders are really, really jarring sometimes, and can be very distracting.) Despite this being his first senior GP event ever, he was clearly a force to be reckoned with. If he stays free from injuries, it's only going to be upwards from here.
Hannah: Gracie Gold. I think from right now there is no where to go but up (hopefully). I am not a Gracie fan myself, but I do hope Nationals will be better for her. She has nothing to lose going in to it. She just needs to start rebuilding.
Justine: Gabby Daleman. After her fantastic SP the judges gave her all the points, they wanted to reward her. And I was so happy for her. Unfortunately that didn't continue to the FS. If she can lay it down in the SP again, and follow it up with an decent FS, the judges are gonna reward her. She just has to skate it. I really just want her to be Canada's #1 this season.
Phillip: Hubbell/Donahue with two silvers, matching Chock/Bates. The GPF and U.S. Nationals have just become that much more interesting.
Sigrid: Probably Maria Sotskova. I don't know if she expected to win a medal here, but with a silver she really has a good shot of making the final if she skates well at the NHK trophy.
Who has the most to lose at their next competition?
Banana: Gracie Gold. She hasn't had a good season so far, and from this point on it can go both ways, but in case it doesn't go so well, it's going to be a pretty big blow to her. I just think that her next competition (is it US Nats?) is what might make or break her season. Editor's note: as of this publishing, Gracie Gold is currently on the schedule for Golden Spin of Zagreb this December.
Hannah: I think Nathan Chen. He needs to land his quads. All of them. If he doesn't keep them all to his feet, especially in the free skate, he won't make the world team (if Adam and Jason continue competing the way they are). He needs to land them and the rest will follow.
Justine: Mao Asada and Gracie Gold. I have never been a Gracie fan and have spoken out against her a number of times. But that's lost it's joy seeing her like this. She needs to figure out if she wants to continue skating before the judges completely dump her. The same applies to Mao. Mao is an exquisite skater, but there are novice skaters at sectionals with higher technical content than we saw here. I still don't understand why she came back, if she can't compete anywhere near the same level she used to. She also needs to get things figured out before the judges completely give up on her.
Phillip: For me, this is a tie. With Nationals coming up quickly in both Japan and the U.S. Mao Asada and Gracie Gold need to find some spark, desire and competitive hunger to rebound from their lackluster GP season.
Sigrid: I think this applies to both Mao Asada and Gracie Gold. After a rough GP season with all kind of problems for them, they have time to try to find themselves right before Nationals. They have very competitive fields and if they are not in their best shape, they could miss the World Team.
The experts always get to make "bold predictions." Make a bold prediction about something that will happen in the remainder of the season.
Banana: Medvedeva gets a more tasteful free skate mid-season. Ten finally makes it to GPF. CHINA'S FED REALIZES THEIR COMPLETE AND UTTER MISTAKE AND PUTS YU/JIN BACK TOGETHER. And I'm going out on a limb here, but Hanyu finally wins a 4CC gold medal. Also, figure skating judging begins to make more sense for everyone.
Hannah: Evgenia Medvedeva will NOT win Worlds, but the podium will be the same 3 ladies as Boston. Mariah Bell will be on the World team. Gracie will come 4th at Nationals, but because of her shaky showing during the Grand Prix, will be named to 4CC but not Worlds. She will medal for the first time at 4CC. Sui/Han come back from her injury and save us and win Worlds. The U.S. men get back 3 spots for the Olympic year. Hubbell and Donohue date.
Judit: it will be a big fight at NHK between Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir and Papadakis/Cizeron, if the judges judge fairly. The US Championships will be really interesting in the Men's field. They have just 2 places for Worlds and Chen, Rippon, and Brown.
Justine: Shoma will beat Yuzu at Nationals, but Yuzu will come back with vengeance at Worlds. Gracie and Mao will be left off their World teams. Piper & Paul will be Canada's #2 at Nationals. Not just a prediction, I really want this.
Phillip: Given the confidence they have been showing and a lack of people really threatening them, I think all 2016 World Champions stand a great chance of repeating their wins in Finland.
Sigrid: I feel like some skaters who are having troubles at the beginning of the season are going to go back to old programs to recover old (good) sensations. Maybe we will see Gracie's Firebird making a comeback? As that prediction wasn't very bold, here's another one: Kevin Reynolds is going to win Four Continents.
This week's optional bonus question was requested by a number of people on Twitter! 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?
Banana: Can Akiko come back just to grace us with another one of her gorgeous dresses? No? Okay. ): I like the White Dress Trio™ from the Team Japan ladies from Skate Canada a lot! I don't have a least favorite costume so far, but it's a universally known fact that I have questionable taste in costumes!! Trust me, I'm a scientist.
Banana: CAN YOU BELIEVE HOW WELL DENIS TEN DID IN HIS FIRST EVENT OF THE SEASON LOL. Thanks, Fake TEB!
Hannah: I really thought Gracie was going to have a slight resurgence and at least medal here, and boy was I wrong. I'm to the point where I feel for her, and actually want her to skate well. I think the ladies technical caller was sleeping through a lot of the skaters. THe ladies event, except for the podium, was an absolute disaster and made me depressed. I for some reason don't like Papadakis/Cizeron's SD? And MAO, please come back!! *cries a little*
Justine: Let's pretend the Ladies FS didn't happen, yikes! And I really wanted to give Gabby a hug in the kiss n'cry after her FS. Poor girl just couldn't keep it together.
Phillip: For myself and anyone else who sat through all 12 of those ladies free programs: we deserve some chocolate and a strong beverage.
Sigrid: So many injured skaters in this event. I remember Aliona Savchenko and Ivan Righini being injured mid-program and fighting till the end, and some others who maybe didn't leave the ice limping but they were obviously injured too, so I hope everything recovers soon. Also the new deductions rule is stupid and cruel. I don't think that Alena Leonova needed a 9-point deduction after the heartbreak that is having a program with 5 falls.
What did you think about Trophee de France 2016? How did our judges do? Leave us a comment to let us know, then sign up to judge a future event!