Very well stated indeed. That's the beauty of figure skating, its all open to interpretation. I actually think the choreography and execution of Rachael's short program are a stroke of genius, but then we are all allowed to have our own opinions.
I disagree about putting her 2A as the first jump. Nope, one always puts one's *best* jump first, and unfortunately Rachael's 2A is small, so not recommended, and therefore appropriately put later on in her program.
For a nice insight into this I highly recommend watching Sarah Hughes's phenomenal 2002 Olympic FS, wherein Scott Hamilton mentions at the very beginning how Sarah set the tone with her fabulous opening 2A. Btw, Sarah's very best jump was her 2A, it was SUPERB! Ah, memories of one of my all-time favorite skaters ever...
By putting that jump in the beginning, it allows her to build to something better (the combination) and then lets her use the solo Triple later on and keep the excitement of the program going. The end result is that you forget about the inadequacy of the 2A because it was all the way at the beginning of the program and used as something naturally woven into the choreography rather than a "TA DA!" move.
^Well, but Blades, that would argue against the way human memory works, with the primacy and recency effects. We tend to remember what came first, what came last, and the middle gets buried somewhat. So I kinda see what you mean but it could be a big mistake to show your relative worst element first -- rather than forgetting it in the rush of great elements the judges might be set to not see the remaining elements as all that wonderful either.
It's not an easy call, how to structure a program, for sure.
What comes first are the opening choreographic movements and I'm definitely a big believer in how important those are with regards to drawing the audience in. The quick back spiral Rachael does is a nice way to start the program. I don't think it's necessary with this music to start off with a bang, with regards to the first jump. It's pretty much never a bad thing for your first jump element to be explosive, but since Rachael simply doesn't have a strong 2Axel, I do think it would be most effective to put it out there first and build forward. This music continually grows to inspiring climaxes and the 2Axel later in the program is kind of wasted IMO.
US Ladies SP from TV. Rachael did fine. Her jumps have even got better. Unfortunately, she does not have the ability to contort her body which is requisite and very popular with fans and judges alike.
Alissa was fine but very calculating. Don't get me wrong. I love those spins, but her interpretation is standard for that music.