Rejoicing in the land of Kwan
It's always dangerous to try to predict what will happen at these events b/c the ice is slippery and you never know what might happen.
Under the assumption that all of the ladies skate cleanly, here's what I'd predict.
Gold: No one in this group can match up with Mao Asada going toe-to-toe when she's firing on all cylinders. Her technical content and her artistry make her nigh untouchable when she skates cleanly. If she nails all of her jumps (including the 3As) she'll be too hard to catch. Clean jumps leave a better impression which means her PCS would see a hike, and add that to her gorgeous appearance on the ice and the strength of her programs this year (in particular her "Libestraum" masterpiece) and you've got a world champion, no doubt.
Silver: IMO, this would be a close call between Carolina Kostner and Ashley Wagner. I'd say given the technical content, I'd give the edge to Ashley. Like Carolina, she's got two solid and well-received programs this year; unlike Carolina, she's got a tougher technical load and that could give her the edge she'd need to get past Carolina's PCS. Ashley's proven she's a contender this year and if she can hit that 3-3 in her SP and go clean in the LP the judges will definitely reward her.
Bronze: Carolina has found a way to make watered down content pay off in a big way and I'm not even mad at her. Her programs are some of my favorite this year and when she skates cleanly she's amazing. I think she'd probably earn the highest or within a point of the highest PCS, but she'd probably have the lowest technical content. Her jumps (when clean) are gorgeous and her spins are sufficient but not as hard or good as Mao's or Ashley's.
4th: I'd pick Akiko Suzuki for 4th. Her programs are fabulous (as always) and she's finally getting the respect she deserves from the judges. If she nails that 3-3 she'll put herself very close to the podium...but not quite there. I'd love to see her on the podium but (assuming everyone is skating well) I'd say 4th is her best placement.
5th: I'd put Kanako as a close 5th. Her SP is wonderfully choreographed and she skates it with maturity and passion as well as speed and power. With her massive 3-3 and other jumps, I think she'd narrowly edge Alissa for 5th...in a perfect world.
6th: I pick Alissa for 6th if she skates cleanly and that might be shocking to some. Alissa is gorgeous to watch but when you compare her jump content, speed, power and the strength of her programs to Akiko or Kanako, she doesn't match up IMO. She outshines them only in spins and appearance on the ice, but in terms of transitions, speed, power, difficulty and choreography (specifically in the LP)...she can't compete. In my perfect world, her dull LP and cautious skating wouldn't be held up over Akiko or Kanako.
So those are my predictions assuming everyone was perfect...but we know that won't be the case. I do hope to see Mao turn in a good performance but I'm thinking she might end up 2nd. Carolina's been on a roll this year so she's actually my pick for gold...but if Ashley can have a repeat performance of 4CC I wouldn't be shocked if she placed 2nd or even 1st, especially if Mao and Carolina have issues. I'd like to see Akiko and Kanako have strong skates and, depending on their content and how others skate, they can shake up the podium. I really hope Alissa can shake off her last few performances and skate decently but I'm pretty doubtful about her making the podium. Of course you have to factor in the Russians and a few others as well so it's going to be interesting to see how this one shakes out.
Regardless, I just want to see some good skating...