After two events, 16 pairs have competed, and there's been one elimination, and a couple of new contenders. Two sets of top fours:
NHK Trophy Top Four:
1. Qing Pang & Jian Tong-It says, everything, I think that Fantasy Figure Skating isn't including them in in the Cup of China pools; they know *everyone* would pick them.
2. Vera Bazarova & Yuri Larionov-Need to win Trophée Eric Bombard to seal it, where they're not likely to beat Savchenko & Szolkowy. But two silvers is more likely than not to do it, and when their biggest competition is Nicole Della Monica and Yannick Kocon? They should be fine.
3. Narumi Takahashi & Mervin Tran-Would need to win Rostelecom Cup to seal it, where they aren't going to beat Kavaguti & Smirnov. Silver would make it how the chips fall, and they've got a good chance; their biggest competition is Evora & Ladwig, or maybe Lawrence & Swiegers, and they've shown the ability to beat them.
4. Caitlin Yankowskas & John Couglin-Would need to win Cup of China, and they're not going to beat Pang & Tong. Even to win silver, they'll have a hard time against I&M, Sui & Han, and even Della Monica & Kocon, Evora & Ladwig, or Dong & Wu.
Skate Canada Top Four:
1. Lubov Iliushechkina & Nodari Maisuradze-Need only medal at Cup of China, where good skating leaves them behind Pang & Tong, but in all likelihood with silver. But they actually aren't always reliable, to the point they could drop down a little. But even in 4th they're left with a chance, so they'd have to go below three of Sui & Han, Della Monica & Kocon, Evora & Ladwig, or Dong & Wu, which would mean really bad skating. More likely than not they're through.
2. Kirsten Moore-Towers & Dylan Moscovitch-To seal it, need to win Skate America, which isn't going to happen against Savchenko & Szolkowy. So for silver, they're up against Denney & Barrett, Castelli & Shapnir, and Sui & Han. I think one of those could beat them, but it's less likely two will, so that's bronze, and they've still got a chance.
3. Paige Lawrence & Rudi Swiegers-Not going to beat Kavaguti & Smirnov at Rostelecom Cup either, and the chances aren't the highest for silver, but far from non-existent...
4. Marissa Castelli & Simon Shapnir-For any chance they'd need to win Skate America, which isn't happening, and they won't be the favorites for silver either.
Knocked out, but still a factor:
Caydee Denney & Jeremy Barrett-5th at NHK, good chance of mixing it up at Skate America
Contenders yet to skate:
Aliona Savchenko & Robin Szolkowy
Yuko Kavaguti & Alexander Smirnov
Weijing Sui & Cong Han