Recap: Nebelhorn Trophy Ladies Event

Hello, readers! The second event of the Challenger Series, Nebelhorn Trophy, finished yesterday, and I’m going to be recapping the ladies event.

Let’s start with the winner (duh :p):

1. Kaetlyn Osmond, Canada-179.41

This was Kaetlyn Osmond’s first competition since the 2014 World Championships, as she sat out last season due to injury. I have to say, I was very pleased with this! In the SP, her opening combo fell apart, but the other jumps were GORGEOUS and HUGE…the total opposite of the winner of the last CS event, LOL. I like this program, even though this recording of “La Vie en Rose” is awful. I also love her costume. ūüôā

I actually doesn’t watch this program, but the score was good, so good for her.

2. Alena Leonova, Russia-165.61

Alena kept this program from last year, and, while I used to rather hate it, it’s grown on me a lot. Whether you love it or hate it, you can’t deny that she’s selling the heck out of this. However, this costume must burn.

No video was available of Alena’s FS, which is fine because I did not watch it…hehe. *Awkward silence*

3. Courtney Hicks, USA-162.85

Courtney finished pretty much how I expected her to. There were a few small mistakes, but the programs are miles above her programs from last year. This program was pretty strong technically, and it fits her, so yay. Good job, Courtney.

Confession: I am shamelessly obsessed with this program. It is awesome. Next.

4. Alaine Chartrand, Canada-161.35

This was an excellent showing for Alaine, and I LOOOOOVE this program! ‚̧ It’s so sassy and fun-it’s the “where have you been all my life?” program that forces you t0 take notice of a skater. Alaine underrotated her 3lz-3T, but otherwise, this was a perfect skate. I can’t say enough good things about this program and I can’t wait to see it again!

This was a shaky program and unfortunately took her off the podium, but I like this program as well. And yes, I like this “Gone With the Wind” program better than the other one we’ve seen. ūüôā

5. Mirai Nagasu, USA-159.67

Mirai, ever the heartbreaker, started her season with this.

Oh, Mirai, this program is so beautiful-stop ruining it with 3A attempts! She started the program with a downgraded triple axel that threw off the rest of the program. She popped her triple loop and fell on a combination. I just wish she could take out the 3A and get it together because this is a beautiful program.

In the FS, Mirai rebounded very well (her only mistake was a UR on something), and, while I’m not a huge fan of the erratic music cuts, the program has potential. (Also, her dress is amazing.) Good for you, Mirai, but you need to¬†take out the 3A. It’s throwing off the performance and you aren’t going to make teams with SPs like that.

This concludes the recap. ūüôā

Thoughts? Questions? Leave a comment-I’d love to hear them!

Recap: Highlights & Low Points of the 2015 US International Figure Skating Classic

As fellow skating fans may know, the Challenger Series (a circuit of small senior internationals occurring from September to December) began this week with the US International Figure Skating Classic in Salt Lake City. It was a really great event, and I luckily got to watch most of it, so I am going to recap my 10 favorite moments/programs/discoveries of the event!

There will be at least one highlight from each discipline, thus why I didn’t do a traditional recap of just ladies.

10. Highlight: The unofficial Year of Strange Ice Dance Music Selections begins 

Oh, gosh, this was an interesting dance event.

Namely, several teams used music I would never have thought I’d see in an ice dance program, and even stranger, a lot of it actually worked. This was my favorite of the odd-music-choice-programs:

Elisabeth Paradis & Francois-Xavier Ouellette’s FD, set to “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” was a far better use of folk-type music than the following:

This program skated by Laurence Fournier-Beaudry and Nikolaj Sorensen of Denmark, and I cannot.

Seriously, what. Is. This. Music.

Guys, I loved you last year, and I actually liked this program at first, but I now realize this is not as great as I wanted to make myself believe it was.

And the oddest one of all, belonging to Madison Hubbell & Zachary Donohue:

YOU GUYS, MADISON IS WEARING MOTH WINGS ON HER DRESS. MOTH WINGS!!!! IN AN INTERNATIONAL ATHLETIC COMPETITION!!!

While skating to Daft Punk, I might add!

*Sigh* This is so awful it’s funny. They can kiss their spot on the world team goodbye if this is how they are going to be skating this season. (Um, that score was, for lack of a better word, dismal.)

In the end, this is a highlight because it amused me so much to see ice dancers in moth wings skating to Daft Punk, and all kinds of Folk-y Whatsit, and all manner of things you’d never expect to see. At least it’s not Carmen.

9. Low Point: What is happening to Shoma Uno?!?

This is just sad.

Shoma, coming in as the reigning Junior World Champion, was expected to win this competition easily, but an absolutely abysmal short program made that impossible. His TES score was 19.25, comparable to a middle-of-the-pack Junior ladies’ score.

His free skate was much stronger, but a few mistakes kept him off the podium, in 5th. (Bonus points for using Nessun Dorma, the Overused Music De Jour…;)).

Shoma, you are so much better than this! What is happening to you?!?

8. Highlight: Selena Zhao’s Free Skate

Prior to this event, I’d only heard of Selena Zhao because I remembered she didn’t make the free skate at Junior Worlds. This was an excellent show of how far she’s come since then! Selena placed an excellent 5th in her senior international debut, beating out favorites like 6th ranked US lady Mariah Bell and Kanako Murakami, a 2014 Olympian who’s placed as high as 4th at worlds. This was a lovely use of one of this season’s major warhorses (skating community slang for an overused piece of music), Nessun Dorma, and was the 3rd-best free skate of the event, pulling her up four places.

Also, she had one of the best costumes of the entire competition.

7. Low point: Mariah Bell Falls Apart 

Before we plunge into Mariah’s bitter heartbreak of a free skate, I want to talk about her short program, which was actually very nice. Set to an Irish piece called “Storm Cry,” it is what I like to call ‘subtle Riverdance’ and is a really lovely program. It was a pretty respectable skate, and she did an okay 3Flip-3Toe (not clean, but landed). So this was a pretty good outing. On the other hand…

This is where it all went wrong.

I really love this program, and I was hoping she would skate it well enough to pull up a few places. But that was not to be. She melted down totally, and it was seriously painful to watch.

Ouch.

6. Highlight: Elizabet Tursynbaeva Proves Herself as a Senior 

Elizabet Tursynbaeva caught a lot of fans’ eyes when she placed 4th in a stacked field at the Junior World Championships this year, and many thought she’d be in the top 5. However, I doubt many people thought she would do¬†this¬†well!

This short program had her in a respectable 4th place, but that was not all we were going to see of Elizabet.

In a free skate where everybody was falling, Elizabet capitalized on the poor quality of her competitors’ performances to pull up to second place. This free skate was one of the standouts of the event, and proved that this small child (who many remarked looks like a 12-year-old) is ready to butt heads with the seniors.

5. Low Point: Kanako, You’re Supposed To Place Higher At Senior Bs Than You Did At Worlds!¬†

Kanako Murakami started this competition with a short program that was an instant hit with the fans. Many people¬†had very good things to say about¬†this program (and costume, for that matter), though it left her in fifth place-disappointing for a medal favorite and multiple-time world competitor. I thought she was going to pull up in the long, but…

This happened.

This was not Kanako’s fines hour-er, three minutes-and it left her in 7th, below skaters she easily could’ve beaten. (For goodness sakes, there was only one other person here who even qualified for 2015 Worlds, where Kanako came in 7th!) I hope she skates better than this in the future, because I know she can.

4. Highlight: Daniel Samohin’s Free Skate¬†

Though still a junior (he won a silver medal at the Junior Grand Prix in Colorado Springs and is assigned to another one), Daniel proved here that he can compete with the seniors any day. This was a great skate for him-and it didn’t hurt that this program is one of my favorite men’s programs of the season so far.

3. Both a Highlight and a Low Point: Karen Chen Fails Beautifully

I dearly love Karen Chen.

Like, a lot.

And this program is really fantastic. (That spiral into the music change is perfect!!! <3) Seeing as this is the third “Nessun Dorma” program on this list, it’s evident how overused that piece is this season…but, IMHO, Karen did it best.

The technical side was okay aside from a doubled 3T, but that didn’t last.

Another perfect program. Just…yes. (Also, costume on point.)¬†But the jumps were a whole different story.¬†Two pops (both of them singled), a fall, and two URs…what happened there?!?

I suppose the altitude might have had something to do with it, but you never know. She’s also apparently had boot issues lately, so that might be it. I don’t know, but I really hope this headcasing thing doesn’t last.

2. Satoko Miyahara Continues To Be Our Favorite Tiny Arteeste

Satoko Miyahara won this competition convincingly with two relatively clean, exquisitely-choreographed programs (as have become her trademark), and that sets her up well for the season ahead. I was worried about growth-related jump issues, since she’s young and might grow more and has tiny jumps, but that was no problem at all here. (Her jumps are still tiny, though.) This short program was very different from anything she’s done before, but, with a hint of Satoko’s signature Tiny Arteeste charm, it worked. However, I like the free skate much better:

Nice classical music? Check.

Exquisite choreography? Check.

Costume on point? Check.

Yes, this is definitely a Satoko Masterpiece in the making. Watch out, Miss Saigon-this program might well give you a run for your money. ūüôā

1. Best Highlight of the Entire Event: My Pair Wins a Thing 

To start off, I have about five pairs I consider “my pair” and the phrase will probably be used for all of them. So…yeah. This is not an exclusive term, LOL.¬†But, to get to the actual point:

MY PAIR WON A THING!!!!! *Insert the confetti emojis not available on my laptop*

I like Tarah & Danny’s short program better than their free, but I loved both programs. This one’s giving me subtle Paso vibes, and I like it! It’s different for them, but it works very well. (This skate had them in 3rd after the short.)

Their Phantom of the Opera free skate (last year’s Warhorse De Jour) was the soft, romantic fare we’re used to seeing from them. (It’s quite similar in style to their short program from last season.) It was a nice program, and suited them very well (also, their costumes were my favorites of the event :)), but I prefer the short. I have a feeling it will grow on me, though…

Anyhow, CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR FIRST INTERNATIONAL WIN!!!!!

Aaaaaand…out.¬†

Have anything to say? Did I miss one of your favorite highlights? 

Leave a comment to let me know! Bye all! 

Altitude Sucks: A Recap

Today, the JGP USA concluded with the ladies free skate, and-spoiler alert-the altitude got everyone.

To put it in perspective: the winner fell, and all but one other skater in the top 5 had at least two falls, step outs, edge calls, URs, or hands down. That’s how bad it was.

For background, it was in Colorado Springs, the Land of High Altitude and Total Exhaustion At the Slightest Bit Of Physical Exertion. And I know this for a fact, because I’ve been there. I was literally huffing like a walrus after running up two flights of stairs, so I can’t even imagine what doing triple-triples in that would be like. But these girls’ performances left nothing to the imagination, and that is not a good thing.

Let’s discuss the winner.

 

1st place: Yuna Shiraiwa, Japan-164.50

Short Program: 

Yuna had a good short program, coming in 4th, but nobody expected her to win. Her charming Over the Rainbow SP won the hearts of many in the online skating community, but in the end, it was only a small glimpse of what she could do.

 

Free Skate: 

Yuna’s free skate, while the second-best of the night, easily secured her the gold, even with a fall. She dealt with the altitude surprisingly well! That and the lack of pressure (again, nobody expected her to medal) helped her win her first Junior Grand Prix. Great that she was able to prove herself here! A charming skater you should watch out for.

 

2. Marin Honda, Japan-156.44

Short Program:

Marin set herself up to win with a beautiful short program to Beethoven’s Spring Sonata. Technically almost flawless, she ¬†lived up to the hype, but in the end, it wasn’t enough. However, the soft, youthful feel of this program suited her very well, and she gave us a look at what she could be in the future.

Free Skate: 

Like everybody else in this event, Marin crumbled under either pressure, altitude, or both. Two falls, two stepouts and several underrotation calls-yikes, this was not a good day for her. ¬†However, the fun, quirky program was a joy to watch, and she’s shown herself to be quite versatile in her interpretation, which is very impressive for such a young skater.

3. Vivian Le, USA-156.08

Short Program: 

Vivian was the heavy favorite going into this event, and that, added to the altitude, was not good for her. She stepped out of her opening 3lz-3t, almost falling, and got an edge call on her triple flip (i.e. it was a lip). The rest of her jumps were successful, and two of her spins and her footwork got level 4s, but it wasn’t nearly enough for the lead.

Free Skate: 

Oh, gosh…this was depressing. A fall on her opening 3Lz made it impossible to complete her 3-3, and she missed a double axel as well. Not good. But the saddest thing is that she was¬†so close¬†to 2nd, and that could’ve gotten her into the Junior Grand Prix Final. Two bronzes probably won’t. Oh, well. Perhaps Bradie Tennell or Amber Glenn can pull off a freak upset?

Others 

My other favorite junior, Paige Rydberg, was in this event, and she had a fantastic 2nd-place short program. Unfortunately, a meltdown free skate knocked her down to 5th. However, that’s still a good showing for a first JGP, and her FS is my favorite of the juniors this season:

A bit like Gracie, no?

 

And, on another note, I have seen so many JGP programs to “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” that I’ve memorized all the lyrics. ūüėź Thanks for that, kids.

 

Well, that’s it! Bye!