Welcome back to The Judges’ Table! The 2017-2018 season is nearly here. If you don’t normally follow skating, HAPPY OLYMPICS! And if you do…crap, the Olympics.
Unfortunately, this was a quiet summer for The Judges’ Table. While I would have loved to do some new throwback events, my schedule just didn’t allow it.
Between the Junior Grand Prix, test skates, and a slew of senior Bs, figure skating is slowly dialing up towards what should be a bloodbath of a Grand Prix and nationals season. What better way to prepare than to look back at the best performances of last season? As a bonus, reading through the judges’ thoughts gives you a pretty good idea of what happened throughout the entirety of last season, instead of justthe things we all remember from the end. Before you declare 2016-2017 clinically dead, let’s take a trip down memory lane.
Included in this list are the skates that the judges decided were the “best performances” at each event. Since some judges listed more than one skate as the “best performance,” I usually took the first or most convenient one listed. Sometimes, a skater’s free and short were both listed; I generally picked one or the other. Some of the descriptions are lightly edited from their original post.
Mara B.: Julianne Seguin and Charlie Bilodeau were the only pair to have a clean free skate, which was extremely refreshing after watching all the other pairs struggle. They just make me so happy when they skate, and I’m (almost) never worried about their elements. I think they can realistically challenge for top five in the world, even without a quad.
Margaret: I thought there were quite a few great performances here! But if I had to pick just one, I’d have to go with Jason Brown’s long program. Not only was it absolutely gorgeous, but he finally landed that darn quad! Granted, it was called under-rotated, but a definite step forward. A close second would be Mariah Bell’s winning long program, leading to a surprise silver medal overall. I’ve been waiting for her to break through, so it’s great to see her name in the mix.
MJ: Shoma Uno’s free skate was marvelous. I actually wasn’t really a fan of it when he debuted it at Japan Open; I didn’t *dislike* it but something just didn’t feel right about it then. But wow, was it mesmerizing at this event! I don’t know whether it was because his jumps were just so damn good (except that missed 3A1Lo3F! argh), or if he was really starting to grow into the program the second time around, or if he even just had a glass of magic juice that morning, but I was INTO IT. He performed it so, so well, even taking aside all the technical elements. Just incredible to watch.
Ryan: Amid the sea of quad Lutz, flip, Salchow and toe-loop attempts, the juxtaposition of Jason Brown’s free skate to “Big My Secret” from “The Piano” to many of the others was almost like seeing a real Picasso at a children’s colouring contest. Not only did he get that quad in (putting a stop to that old tired conversation) he interpreted the music with sensitivity, depth, breadth and respect. Just gorgeous. People are going to remember that program and that’s the difference between a winning performance and an important one.
Spiccine: Shoma, without a doubt! I know I’m a little biased here, but I do think he had the best performance, especially in the FP. He was really confident through all the competition, nailing almost all his jumps without losing a bit of his artistry. Great job, Shoma!
Amanda: I loved Satoko Miyahara’s free skate. The program is gorgeous and the music suited her perfectly. Her attention to detail, especially the way she uses her arms, is stunning.
Bea: The first person that came to mind was Misha Ge. I love his programs this season! While he didn’t skate perfectly, he nevertheless drew in the crowd. What I love about him is that he’s such a performer.
Patrick: Did anyone have a good performance here? My recollection is that this competition was a total and utter disaster. I’m gonna go with #TinyQueen Satoko Miyahara (both her SP & FS). Despite some rough calls from the technical panel (an invalid step sequence?!?), she delivered two solid, engaging performances. I think her elegance, posture, and ability to interpret music are vastly underrated by judges and fans alike, and I hope in the future technical panels won’t be as harsh as they were here.
Sam: I was close to saying Tessa and Scott because they really looked great out there this weekend, but I’ve got to give it to Evgenia Medvedeva. If how she looks now is any indication, we may finally see our first repeat Ladies World Champion since Michelle Kwan in 2001. She was about as dominant as they come here and the scary thing is she wasn’t even at 100%. I have a lot of issues with her choreography this year – I think the programs go for lazy gimmicks and tasteless references targeted at eliciting reactions from the audience that give us an illusion of watching great performance (that tends to be Eteri’s aesthetic), but she was polished, skating moment to moment, fulfilled every move, and looked about as competition ready as she did in Boston. Now someone please get her to David Wilson.
Sarah: Madison Chock and Evan Bates’ free dance was the last routine of the event, and it was phenomenal. While I was watching Virtue and Moir, I thought they were bulletproof, but Chock and Bates messed with a lot of assumptions. For as long as they’ve been skating together, they’ve been one of the most technically capable teams in ice dance, but their programs never took advantage of their personalities. They’ve been packaged very conventionally when they’re both quirky and intense, but this program seems more true to who they are. They were spot on technically, too, with difficult lifts that flowed smoothly in and out, and a dance spin that uses their height difference instead of working against it. I’ve always wished this team well, but this is the first time I’ve been completely on board with them.
Sean: It has to be a virtual tie between the free skates of Piper Gilles/Paul Poirier and Madison Chock/Evan Bates. I have been a fan of Piper and Paul for their endless creativity on ice. To be honest, I don’t like this traditional tango routine very much because it contradicts the way Piper and Paul usually move on ice. But there is no doubt that they had the skate of their lives at Skate Canada. It was PERFECT. Every element was executed to the limit of their ability. And every second of the performance is filled with energy, precision and polish. As for Madi and Evan, they are not my favorite ice dancers. They surprised me with their free dance performance. From a technical perspective, they certainly deserve the highest TES among all couples. They are incredible technicians. And the music choice fits them well . Although the choreography, particularly the transitions, sometimes are not purposeful as usual, they brought this routine alive.
Aiden: Anna Pogorilaya’s FS was my favorite so far this season. It seems her medal at Worlds has really given her the confidence to become a more consistent skater (which is much appreciated as she was scary when she was off). I loved everything about both her programs and can’t wait to see her and Medvedeva compete against each other this season. I think she was scored very appropriately and definitely agree with her winning both skates.
Di: Both of Anna Pogorilaya’s performances were strong and confident; she skated like a winner. It’s great to see her skating like this – she’s improved so much in the last couple of years. Javier Fernandez also had a great free skate, selling it with his usual charm, and despite some iffy jumps, Shoma Uno continues to impress me with his overall consistency and his ability to sell such a complex and challenging free skate.
Emily: There’s no denying that Anna Pogorilaya is still riding that World-medal high. Both of her programs were great, although I think the wind was taken out of her sails a little bit in the free skate (and rightfully so). Her short was awesome, especially the step sequence dance break. I just love to see the confidence she’s skating with. I’m really excited to see what she does the rest of the season, especially at the Grand Prix Final (pending her qualification) and Russian Nationals.
J.J.: I probably actually cried watching Anna Pogorilaya’s short program. She was super confident from start to finish, flirted with the audience, understood her music, and her power is outstanding.
Kara: Anna Pogorilaya. She’s not my favorite skater (though she is growing on me), but there is no denying her confidence has improved, her jumping skills have improved, and her overall skating skills have improved. She’s turned from a skater you just know is going to bomb into a skater you can count on to skate well.
Tiffany: Javier Fernandez’s FS was an absolute beat down. I had picked Shoma to win, but am so happy for Javi. Similar to his performance in Boston where he just skated through and stole the crown. While I think a clean Hanyu will still beat a clean Fernandez, I don’t think a Hanyu with even 1 mistake will beat a clean Fernandez (which is a departure from previous seasons).
Trophee de France
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.
Hannah: Adam Rippon. I have two words for him: QUAD. TOE. Being honest, I was one of the few people who actually LOVED his original free skate, and was kind of disappointed when he changed it. But wow, he changed my mind real quick! That was absolutely stunning and had me in tears. Nationals is gonna be a blood bath..
Justine: Adam Rippon’s FS was something special. What a moment for him. I wrote him off years ago but you just can’t keep him down – fully rotated quad, breaking 180 in the FS. Way to go Adam! Plus this is probably my favourite program he’s ever done. Birds! Coldplay! [I also liked] Papadakis & Cizeron’s FD. This was my first time seeing this program and I fell in love. I don’t care that their FDs the past 3 years have been completely the same. Obviously this style is working for them. So powerful, yet I’ve never seen a program so delicate. Plus anytime I get to look at Guillaume is a plus in my books. Also, Gabby’s SP (way to go girl! love the program) and Hubbell & Donohue’s FD (I’ve never been a fan but this program was wonderfully sweet).
Phillip: For me Gabrielle Daleman’s SP saved the ladies SP. Of course, Medvedeva was her usual, reliable self, but Daleman brought energy, amazing quality jumps and some much needed personality and spark to what was overall a disappointing event considering all the talented ladies who competed in Paris.
Sigrid: I’m not saying this because I’m 150% biased, but Adam Rippon’s free, hands down. Not only it was a clean program but it was also a very beautiful and delicate interpretation of the music. People around me were almost holding their breath, maybe not cheering a lot during the program, but giving a well-deserved standing ovation at the end, and that’s not an easy thing to get in Paris when you’re not French! Adam skated the best he has ever done, with a clean quad included at 27, and I can only applaud him for working hard, improving exponentially, and showing people that age is just a number.
Cup of China
Amber: I would say Maia & Alex Shibutani’s free dance. They are just so lovely to watch and they did 4380975 twizzles over the course of that program and I’m not complaining about it one bit.
Joseph: Cumulatively, the Shibs had the best pair of performances. Great short dance (underscored in my opinion), and a fabulous free dance that will only get better as the season progresses. The single best performance would be Chan’s long (even with the fall). The quality of his SKATING is just so superior.
Keira: I’m going to have to go with Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje in the free dance. There is something so incredibly beautiful about this program, and I think it’s an excellent vehicle for them. It’s very sensual and soft while also being very passionate and intense, and they pulled it off very, very well!
Mandy: Elena Radionova’s back, she’s bad, and she’s not gonna take it anymore! Her performances this weekend were fresh and full of spark and personality – no mean feat when your free is Nessun Dorma, that warhorse-iest of warhorses. Honorable mention to Boyangman (does whatever a Boyang can) for his short, during which both of us were having the time of our lives.
Meghan: No one here really had the perfect event, but I’d give it to Patrick Chan’s free skate. Winning this event was big for him, and his skating in the free was beautiful. Honorable mention to Peng/Jin’s short program. This fun program seems to fit them perfectly and they looked so happy and relaxed.
Erin: I am surprising myself a little bit by saying this, but I have to go with Tessa and Scott- both programs, really, but particularly the short dance. As a hardcore Meryl and Charlie fan (I started a Facebook fan group for them back in ’07 and burst into tears when they won the Olympics, my love runs deep), I have struggled a bit with how to feel about Tessa and Scott’s comeback because while I have always respected their talent and enjoyed their skating, I’m not used to rooting for them. But they turned out two really strong performances here and won fair and square. That Prince short dance really is a showstopper. I’d also love to give a shoutout to Satoko Miyahara, who has one of my favorite free skates this season and skated it so beautifully here.
Grace: Virtue/Moir’s SD. This program has many subtleties and I think it is the most successful in hip hop this season. Midline step sequences are my favorite element in ice dance and Virtue/Moir always have one of the best. Plus they hit that accent on the final lift just perfectly!
Ioana: For me it’s Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir’s SD. First of all, I’ve always been a huge Prince fan and it’s really hard to replicate the magic he created; he was one of a kind. But watching Virtue & Moir’s performance felt like watching one of Prince’s music videos, the feeling was totally there. There was a fine mixture of his signature movements and Virtue & Moir’s own personalities. And when the program broke into the haunting guitar riffs and high notes of Prince’s voice, I gave them a standing ovation in front of my TV – and probably looked like a weirdo doing it.
Sharon: Anna Pogorilaya. She delivered very strong performances in both segments. It is incredible how consistent and self-assured she skates now. (Plus, seeing her smiling, looking so happy in the Kiss & Cry, made me teary-eyed.) She is now my favorite Russian lady.
Will: Tessa and Scott’s SD. New WR I know I know but I really love this SD. Its construction kept me entertained and engaged, and her movements, in particular, are always crisp and characteristic of the music to which they skate, an asset of theirs (hers, lbr) that I’m happy to see hasn’t escaped them since Sochi. Their FD is contemporary and lyrical without ~trying~ which I appreciate, but their SD is the stand out program for me.
Grand Prix Final
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!
Camden: I would have to say Tarasova/Morozov. They were the only team or person that was consistent throughout both the short and the free. I guess you could say the same about Tessa and Scott, but their free dance is kinda boring so they didn’t stand out to me. If we’re talking about just one skate, then I would say Nathan’s and Satoko’s free skates. Just. Wow.
Francy: If we look at short and free combined, I have to go with Virtue/Moir: the SD was killer! To win their first GPF title in their comeback season, in France of all places, was quite the accomplishment. Honorable mention to Miyahara, Queen of consistency, and her exquisite free skate: everything she does has a purpose in that program. She didn’t put a foot wrong in practice either. Shoma was the highlight in the men FS; the screaming loca lady redeemed an otherwise tragic event.
Victor: Satoko Miyahara or Nathan Chen
Ximena: Tessa and Scott, both in the FD and the SD. They were simply untouchable by the other teams and even by other disciplines performance-wise. Their SD is one of my favorites of this season.
Junior Grand Prix Final
Clara: I am going to be completely biased and say that Junhwan Cha (KOR) stole the show for me. My being complete Team Korea garbage aside, I felt like he was the only skater who actually listened to his music and didn’t bore me. Though, I have to credit Alla Loboda and Pavel Drozd (RUS) for their entertaining opening poses and bows.
Di: Anastasiia Gubanova’s free skate was my favorite performance of the JGPF. She’s such a lovely, polished and musical skater for her age, just a joy to watch. I prefer the choreo for her short program, but props to her for coming back from a no-combo SP with a clean FS that broke the junior world record (well, at least for the next six minutes). Her reaction at the end says it all. (And shoutout to Jun Hwan Cha’s free skate; he’s also a lovely skater with a lovely free who managed to pull up after mistakes in the short program.)
Elisa: Anastasiia Gubanova, absolutely. Her free skate was just flawless. Her jumps aren’t actually that great (a fighter like Elena Radionova), but her expression, musicality, movements were stunning. She was one of the most beautiful Juliets I have ever seen (plus extra kudos for using the most recent Romeo and Juliet soundtrack and not the Craig Armstrong one). She really is a queen on the ice, and she’s just 14.
Mandy: Junhwan Cha’s A Chorus Line short delighted me – he’s such a Theater Teen With So Many Feelings (as I’m sure many of you reading are/were) and I really like that Brian Orser is helping him lean in to it. He strikes a great balance between graceful and fun. I can’t wait to see what’s next for him.
Patrick: By far my favorite performance of the event was Anastasiia Gubanova. Even though she chose a warhorse, I found the quality of her skating, her musicality, and expression to be refreshing in a field that was…somewhat lacking in these qualities. Thanks for not being boring af, Anastasiia!
Sarah: Dmitri Aliev’s short program. He’s almost always great in the short (and almost always a bit of a mess in the free skate), but he outdid himself this time. His jumps looked effortless, and they have an “out of nowhere” quality that not many skaters can accomplish even at the senior level. His edges and body lines are unusually polished for such a young skater, and he already has a distinct personal style. Several skaters his age made it to the senior GPF, and they’re way ahead of him in terms of jumps. But watching him side by side with Nathan Chen and Shoma Uno made Aliev’s artistry and fundamental skating skills look that much more impressive.
Banana: Kanako Murakami hasn’t done this well in so, so long. I’m not crying, you’re crying. (That’s a lie, I am 100% crying.)
Bea: Takahito Mura’s short program. That was his best performance in a long time, and I’m happy he managed to beat heavy favorite Shoma Uno, at least for one program.
Heidi: Our Undisputed Tiny Queen of Space Satoko Miyahara has one of the most interesting free skate choreographies this season, but here it was her short program that I found the most impressive. She was as lovely and consistent as ever, and even though the program could do with a bit more emotional depth and dynamism – this probably comes down to the choice of music – I think it suits her fantastically. Such a joy to watch.
Ioana: This year’s Japanese Nationals had an incredible ladies event with so many promising, talented skaters. Satoko Miyahara skated the best SP of the season so far; she skated with joy and freedom and she jumped her 3-3 combination with ease. Wakaba Higuchi continues to impress me with her maturity, skating skills and jumps and Marin Honda looks like she’s been born to perform. Although not technically perfect, Mao Asada’s programs are masterpieces, and so are her step sequences. Kanako Murakami’s FS was magic.
MJ: KANAKO! Her free skate, in particular. Seeing my favorite struggle for the last two and a half seasons has been really rough, and going from two 10th-place finishes on the GP to her first clean free skate in YEARS was the most satisfying. Considering many, including myself, have been surmising on whether she will be retiring soon, that was a beautiful swan song should she choose to go out on that note.
Spiccine: Probably Yuna. Her season began in a really tough way, and so her Nats with a 17th SP, but she didn’t give up hope and did a great performance with the highest TES among all ladies’ FPs!
J.j.: Maxim Kovtun: reaction, for Maxim Kovtun’s free skate. A True performance. Honorably mentioning Tatiana Tarasova for Maxim Kovtun’s short program. She was truly shaken.
Kara: Definitely Evgenia Mevedeva. When you can throw in an extra jump at the end that doesn’t even count for funsies, you know you’ve done a great job.
Matthew: Evgenia Medvedeva. She’s already a very divisive skater, and not everyone is going to embrace her excessive miming and Tanoed triple jumps, but I adore her. She never gives anything less than her best and she has total belief in herself, her choreography, and her skating. She deserves a better choreographer than Averbukh, but for the time being completely commits to the themes he wants her to portray. The ad-libbed triple-triple-triple was worth it just to hear Tarasova’s commentary.
Nori: Evgenia Medvedeva. Evgenia’s freakish consistency is…well, freakish. She’s undefeated for over a year now so she’s gotta know people are gunning for her. It doesn’t seem to matter though. She was steady and calm in both programs.
Ryan: I would have to say without a doubt and of course Evgenia Medvedeva. She’s a wonder on ice. Both her programs were just perfect. She had a flippin’ triple-triple-triple combo, that sums up her competition. He FS is just so full of emotion and she just pulls you in. You can’t look away. I have to give honorable mention to that little 14 year old Alina Zagitova.. She outscored Medvedeva in her technical scores in the FS and ended up with a silver medal!
TJ: Alexandra Stepanova and Ivan Bukin’s FD. There’s a lot that I love about this program. Every last detail is oozing with tango, and they have beautiful elements that go perfectly with the music.
Cassandra: I’m gonna be biased, Patrick Chan’s free. It wasn’t perfect but it was still clean and beautifully skated. The program itself is absolutely gorgeous, the choreography and music is amazing. I especially enjoy the music. It never fails to give me goosebumps.
Justine: There were quite a few very strong perfromances. The level of skating in Canada is extremely high right now. Patrick Chan FS – the program is still boring but I love that Eric composed the music and when skated well it’s magical. Kaetlyn & Gabby SP – way to push each other and skate clean, now please do this at Worlds so Alaine can go to the Olympics too. Tessa & Scott – everything they do is sublime. Weaver & Poje FD – possibly the first time I watched it this season and I was blown away. Duhamel & Radford SP – with a couple little changes this was the strongest they’ve skated all season.
Ryan: There were many amazing skates in this event but I’m actually going to go with Nicolas Nadeau FS. What a fantastic entertaining program. Man did he sell that Elvis number. Please watch it if you haven’t. Love his huge jumps. The kid landed a quad loop! (2 ft i think) but still…He was a bit gassed at the end of his program but thats’ attributed to missing the entire GP season with injury, didn’t even train for a month and a half. So to come back with this was just awesome to see.
Sharon: Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir. They were spectacular in both segments. Well matched skating-wise, good connection and interpretation, beautiful lifts. They are still the ones to beat.
Taryn: Patrick Chan had the best skate. He is exquisite. Virtue/Moir were unsurprisingly perfect. Duhamel/Radford rocked. However, I will give the best overall performance (choreography and presentation) to Nicolas Nadeau’s Elvis program. It was fun, he skated it well, and the crowd was so excited for a man to skate well and enjoy himself! I don’t know how it translated on the TV but he single-handedly brought energy to the stadium.
Bronwyn: I think everyone’s going to say Nathan or Karen, and so I’ll go with Maia and Alex Shibutani’s short dance. I don’t know dance, being real, but it seems to be the perfect blend of hip hop and the Midnight Blues without being too awkward (and actually looks like hip hop!). I love the low key shade of “We’re gonna skate to one song and one song only!” too.
Emily: Obviously, Nathan Chen was the star of the entire event. But I’ll give the performance of the event to Jimmy Ma and his Slim Shady SP. The only way I had ever envisioned Eminem on ice would have been a dance team using “Lose Yourself” in this seasons SD. Thank you Jimmy for thinking outside the box, way, WAY outside the box.
Hannah: #SLAYTHAN FREAKING CHEN. LIKE HOW. WHY. 5. QUADS. What is life? I’m still breathing heavily. Wow. Honorable mention to Ashley Swagner, the winner in my heart (although she’s always the winner in my heart…I’m weird). She was stunning, beautiful and solid. She managed to make me cry 3 times in the span of 2 hours. How.
Joseph: Is there really any question?! Nathan Chen’s short and long programs will be remembered forever as the moment(s) that US Men’s figure skating finally, “caught up.” Crazy as it may sound (considering the ridiculousness that was his five quad free skate), I actually preferred his short program as it showed an improved quality and style. This kid’s going places… 🙂
Lauren: The strongest performance of the event was clearly Nathan Chen and his 55 point margin of victory. There is simply not much to say that hasn’t been said. The 5 quad free skate is an instant legendary Nationals moment that commentators will still be talking about in 2047. One added bonus was that from my seat in the arena, I could see the media section and Phil Hersh’s increasing delight with each landed quad– it was almost like watching the end of The Grinch when his heart starts to double and triple in size. Honorable mentions to the Parsons in junior ice dance and Chock and Bates, who looked the best they have all season over both programs.
Aiden: James/Cipres FS. Having been at Skate America and seeing both of their programs at the beginning of the season, it was apparent the potential both of their programs had. The sheer disappointment (especially Cipres) after Skate America made the exuberance of their successful, medal-winning performance even more special. It truly felt like everyone was happy for them.
Carla: Savchenko/Massot’s FS. Their program didn’t convince me at the GP events, but they’ve nailed it at Euros and right now I think it’s one of the best pairs FS I’ve ever seen. I actually got goose bumps. Their twist is still the best in the world and their lifts are impressive. If they can include the thrown triple axel, they will be unbeatable at Worlds. Oh, and that final pose is simply gorgeous.
Francy: The mysterious caller who phoned the Tech panel to review the SD scores hours after the event. It’s no Euro ice dance without drama. Kostner’s SP because she’s the only one who could meaningfully skate to a program of percussion only. All hail Regina Carolina, 10 times on the podium at Europeans (the first time, Med was 7 and Pogo 8). Also DramatikJorik and BabyBlondeLambiel were bright lights in a messy men competition.
Heidi: Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Massot’s free skate was quite amazing. They’re such a quality team, the program was beautiful, and that triple twist never fails to amaze me.
Judit: Carolina Kostner’s short program, which had very difficult music. In my opinion, it is only Carolina who can skate a to this music.
Keira: Vanessa James and Morgan Cipres, easily. Their free skate to “The Sound of Silence” gives me chills every time I watch it, and to see it performed as well as it was here was a real treat.
Amber: The best performance award goes to Mirai Nagasu’s free skate because the winner actually does take it all… well bronze but that’s practically gold so Mirai is the queen of 4cc. Why isn’t she on the world team again?
Clara: I am going to be biased here and say that my twin sister Mai Mihara had the best performance here. (She looks like I did when I was her age. I’m not kidding). Jokes aside, she was tagged as a dark horse coming into the event, but surprised everyone by winning the whole thing with two solid skates. As for the men, I might go with Nathan Chen. He is the newest member of the 100-point SP and the 200-point FS clubs… There was no doubt he deserved to win the men’s event.
Elisa: I’m gonna go with Mai Mihara and her lovely Cinderella free skate. Who would have thought that the third (or fourth?) Japanese lady would win 4CC with two flawless performances and would be awarded by Yuna Kim? I wouldn’t have. Totally unexpected, maybe also a little lucky. Her style is quite simple but elegant. She still needs some time to be “the full package,” but she’s on her way. Also, shoutout to Sui/Han and their free skate, I was in tears.
Emily W: Hands-down, no contest, shut-it-down, Sui/Han’s Free Skate. I have not cried this much since Mirai’s SP at Worlds last year. A poignant music choice, beautiful choreography, and wonderful execution (minus the one fall but honestly who even noticed that). This program makes me super emotional in the best way possible. I can’t wait to drown in my own tears when they skate it clean at Helsinki en route to their first world title.
Justyna: My pick for the performance of the event is Sui and Han SP. I somehow managed to skip the previews of their new material and that was the first time I watched it and liked Lori Nichols choreography. They both are so good skaters that they bring pairs to the new level and this program is my everything. Also Mirai Nagasu made a magical moment with her FS.
Victor: I thought that for the men’s event, Yuzuru Hanyu had the best performance, both for the short and long program. He is the skater who has the whole package. In his short, he popped his 4s into a 2s, but that didn’t stop him from performing. In the past, I didn’t really like Yuzuru’s short program, but when he did it here, I thought that it was great. His long program, without the pop, was a masterpiece. The way he connects with the music and still manages to pull of the jump is an art is self.
World Junior Championships
Bea: No doubt, Vincent Zhou! (And this is probably my biases talking, but oh well.) This is the best free skate I’ve seen from him, and I’m so happy he landed all his jumps. That victory was indisputable, and I’m so proud of him. [Video below starts at Zhou’s free skate]
J.j.: Marin Honda’s free skate was wow. Barely anything out of place, her movement an extension of the music, superior skating, and pleasing to the eye, wow.
Mara: I’d have to say Vincent Zhou in the free skate. He was completely clean across the board and, correct me if I’m wrong, became the first junior to land a quad lutz in competition. I know his PCS could use some work, but the judges didn’t really gift him extra points, as his PCS were only 6th in the field. I really enjoyed his performance, though, and it seemed that the audience did as well.
Ryan: This event definitely had some fantastic performances, but the one that stands out for me the most would be Marin Honda’s FS. I know she didn’t win, but it was very well-balanced and she owned it. I think it was the more complete program between her and the Russian [Alina Zagitova]. Don’t get me wrong, Alina was amazing without a doubt, but I just feel Marin’s program was a bit more spaced out.
TJ: Vincent Zhou’s free skate was definitely the program to remember from this event. All of his jumps look so solid and confident, even the quad lutz. Also, his love for skating shows in his performance. This will definitely put him in the conversation going into the Olympics.
Amanda: I’m torn between two unexpectedly excellent SPs. Javier Fernandez proved why you should never count him out at Worlds. But the surprise that had me yelling gleefully at the TV was Hubbell/Donohue’s SD. Who’d have thought that the season’s most ill-advised music cuts would transform into something that put a nationally third-ranked team in medal position? Forget about that THING that happened in the free – this is how I want to remember Worlds for them.
Erin: I’m going to choose two. First, Papadakis and Cizeron’s free dance. Especially after watching them seem so off at the beginning of the season, likely a result of having to compete in Virtue and Moir’s shadow, it was wonderful to see them skate with such freedom again, and it was the best they’ve performed this program all season. I know they get a lot of criticism for doing similar programs year after year, but in my opinion no other top team could skate their programs with the same ethereal quality. Secondly, Yuzuru Hanyu’s freeskate. Just, wow. When he is on, he is ON. Even though it was literally 4am, he grabbed my attention.
Margaret: There were some amazing performances, but if I had to choose just one, then I’ll go with Jason Brown’s short. It’s just a gorgeous program, and I’m thrilled that he deservedly earned such a high score without attempting a quad, proving that quality can still compete with quantity.
Sam: There was some remarkable skating here, but I have to go with Papadakis and Cizeron’s Free Dance. So emotional and rich with nuance and the plain skating skills are just heaven. Ever since NHK I think they’ve been struggling to find their way, but absolutely met the moment here. Honorable Mention to Misha Ge! So many tears for the free skate.
Sean: As far as both programs of any skater/couple, no one was perfect throughout the competition. But there are several excellent single performances. My choice is a virtual tie between Gabriella / Guillaume’s free dance and Tessa / Scott’s short dance. Gabriella and Guillaume showed perfection again in their contemporary routine. They were 100% devoted and technically impeccable. Tessa and Scott gave their best version of the wonderfully-choreographed Prince program. They were extremely sharp and easily stood out from all couples that day.
Tiffany: I feel like everyone is probably going to (deservedly) Yuzuru’s long program, but we’ve seen him skate perfect, record-busting performances before. So I’m going to tip my hat to Javi’s short program. I cannot remember the last time he skated a crispy, clean SP, and on that day, he skated like a 3-time world champion.
World Team Trophy
Banana: I don’t know if this counts but um, Go-chan. Kidding. KANAKO WITH HER EXHIBITION? 😥 It’s just so meaningful and so very her; I’ll really miss her so much.
Grace: The overall complete package for me was Weaver & Poje’s FD. I love love love their opening stationary lift, Kaitlyn’s dress is simply exquisite, and they have some beautiful musical moments in the program. This was definitely the best they had performed it all season.
Meghan: For me, it was James and Cipres in the short and the free. They had a disappointing Worlds but they killed it here with two clean skates! Kudos to them for bringing some modern music to the pairs field and for being the most attractive team in the history of ever. Sprinkle that salt, Morgan!
Noelle: Medvedeva was of course great, but I’m going with Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje, especially in the free dance. The judges tried so hard to squeeze them out this year but they came back so strong and I couldn’t be happier for them.
Roshni: I would have to give that to James/Cipres. Both their short and free skates were phenomenal, and I was so happy for them. Other than the throw 4S, it was almost perfect, and I hope they are able to keep the momentum going next season.
What were your favorite performances of the 2016-2017 season? Leave us a comment to let us know, then sign up to judge a future event!