Looks like a second North American GPF title, but who gets it?
Bourne & Kraatz are the only North American dance team to have won the GPF in the 2001/2002 season. Now with Virtue/Moir, Belbin/Agosto, and Davis/White as the 3 top dance teams on the GP this fall, it seems another North American title is in the works.
Of the 3, which team do you think will come out on top? I'm hoping Belbin/Agosto. I love their OD and FD this season. However, I think the judging so far is favoring Virtue/Moir.
What do you guys think?
Virtue and Moir. If they skate clean, I think their FD could be unbeatable this year.
Rooting for the divas with Kwanford
Go, Meryl & Charlie!
I think it will either be B/A or V/M, preferably V/M. I know that D/W are leading going in, but I think that they got a bump up because DomShabs weren't there. There is no way they would have two golds if they (D/S) had been there. My dream podium however, would be:
Yeah...not going to happen...:sheesh:
I really don't know.
Davis/White have had the huge scores, and both their programs are already polished to such a degree that I can imagine them skating them extremely well. Additionally, they've had the most time from their last GP event to the GP Final to bring up those levels on the step sequences. On the other hand, were those scores realistic? I mean, we definitely see the inflation of the top contenders across the board in the GP, but D/W undeniably had the easiest line-ups (though to be fair to them, both B/A and V/M didn't have to face DelSchos like the initial line-ups suggested). But I keep going back to last year's worlds. After the OD, I fully expected to see them on the podium in place of V/M. It would make sense: they had a lot more time to polish their program, V/M had a disappointing OD (weird how their senior ODs never really rise to the occasion like their FDs do), and things sorta looked like they'd be going that way. None of the top contenders were really flawless, and DelShos weren't even there. But V/M skated about as well as they could have given the circumstances and just eked out the bronze over D/W. I don't know if that was a statement (the judges going "no, we're not gonna have two American teams on the podium"), luck of the draw (imagine if there'd been an American judge instead of a Canadian one. Likely, 1-2 and 3-4 switch places), or just one groups honest reflection of the evening.
Virtue/Moir are obviously judges favourites. The Olympics are in their home country, they're great skaters, they've got the program, etc. They haven't had two perfect presentations of their programs yet, but their OD is probably their best ever (though I'm partial to "Dark Eyes" myself). They're certainly setting themselves up very well.
Belbin/Agosto are the ones I'd be more concerned about. The results at last year's worlds confirm that despite D/W's victory at Nationals, B/A remain the de facto number one. But they're just not getting the scores this season. Now, it's not like they're getting bad scores. And you can certainly make arguments that D/W had the benefit of weak competition and V/M had hometown support.... but so did B/A at Skate America. The dumping of K/N continued, Z/Z zooming high with their free dance, no DelShos... so why aren't they getting the scores. It's not a level thing - they're levels have been higher than V/M and they're the only team who got a level for step sequence (the Non-Midline in the OD, and the Circular in the OD at CoC, though both were level three at Skate America). They're just not earning the GOE. Now this isn't that out of place - V/M have routinely outpointed them on the TES and D/W have done well there as well. But after the improvements we saw immediately under Linichuk, I'm a little surprised to see them consistently below the Shpilband teams in this department. And now that both teams are threatening/breaking fifty points in PCS.....
I've heard speculation on other boards (not based on rumours even, just conjecture) that surmises that it might be in B/A's best interest to skip the GPF. If they lose to D/W there, they lose traction as the number one team and make it that much harder for USFSA to figure out whom to support. I don't know how much weight to place in that, but it doesn't seem completely unreasonable.
So right now, I'd go with Virtue and Moir. They have the advantages of the other top two teams without the internal competition.
This is only IMHO.
"On paper" I don't think that V&M are unbeatable. By that I mean that they are very talented and many would probably consider them the top team (in the absence of DomShabs and DelShoes) in terms of overall skating ability and skill but with B&A's improvements and their two excellent programs (especially the FD) I would have them and V&M battling to decide the gold in the FD. For the record B&A and V&M are two of my favorite teams so I'm not trying to put down V&M.
That said going strictly by what message the judges seem to be sending, I think V&M will win the GPF with B&A and D&W fighting for silver and bronze.
I hesitate to comment any further (in fact I deleted part of my post but put it back) but again only going by how I rank the teams in terms of skill, program content and probably my own bias regarding which programs I like best, if B&A can skate full out without the hesitation I noticed at CoC and Skate America I still feel that they are the top U.S. team.
And again I realize the judges on the surface seem to be sending a different signal. Sometimes I wonder if the judging is what it is to make things seem more competitive; people have complained about there being no change in the standings. Last season D&W drew even closer to B&A than they had ever been before and I think they could have won the national title even if Ben hadn't injured his back. This year I just feel (again only my opinion and I'm sure others feel different) that B&A should be able to solidify their position as the top U.S. team. Watching the three NA teams, IMHO watching V&M and even B&A this season they come across differently than D&W.
What I would like would be:
I wouldn't be heartbroken though if 1 and 2 flip flopped depending on the skating in Japan. Since people are being blunt then I hope I can be as well without people getting too upset but I would be disappointed if D&W beat either of those two teams. I do like D&W but aside from their OD being a standout artistically, content wise I don't think their programs are better than those of V&M or B&A. Especially the FD. What might help them though is the lack of a CD event.
Wicked Yankee Girl
When placing the 3 top teams at the GPF, you have to take into account that the CD is not skated there, and the CD is the weakest part of D&W's events, typically leaving them 2 points or more behind B&A and a little less below V&M at Worlds.
OTOH, this year, D&W have what is for me the standout OD of the season, and they have skated it well at both their events. And V&M have had problems with their OD at both their events. B&A skated theirs well (they are great OD skaters, generally), but didn't theyget the PCS, possibly because the judges (like me) really can't tell the difference between Moldovian folk and Russian or Ukrainian folk, and they have seen all too much of it.
It would not surprise me if B&A went into the FD with D&W ahead of B&A , the question being by how much, and with V&M in third.
If D&W win the OD , and I still expect them to lose the FD to V&M. B&A will have to rely on the others making mistakes while making none themselves to win.
The nagging question for B&A is, "What happened to their PCS vs. the two Shpilband teams??"
I'm not making any predictions, and just hope all 3 teams skate their best.
It's not clear that any of these teams are really benefited by going to the GPF., since they are so close.