What a fantastic thread. Thanks to everyone for these insightful comments. I'd just like to throw in my two cents on a couple of points.
First off, I really don't think Marina Zoueva's choreo was that bad this year, although I will say I wasn't partial to any of the SD's her teams came out with. I thought D/W's FD was a total masterpiece, but felt that D/W lack of connection and refinement was what didn't make it work for me, not the choreo itself. Admittedly, V/M's Funny Face was no masterpiece, but when you look at the crop of hideous programs that popped up on the international circuit this season it still looks pretty good.We must also keep in mind that (as far as I understood) the issues with Tessa's legs forced them to modify a lot of their elements, which may have also been a contributing factor. And I didn't mind the Shibs program, but again I feel that the Shibs lack emotional/performance maturity, and that combined with the brother/sister thing makes it more difficult to choose a concept that works for them. I think we need to remember that she creates a large number of programs each season on top of her coaching responsibilities, and that it's impossible to expect every one to turn out to be a masteripiece. At the very least, you can say that her programs are always of good quality, even when they're not her absolute best work.
As for bronze at worlds this year, I felt it should have gone to W/P, but was not terribly surprised (or dissapointed, for that matter) to see it go to P/B. My main issue in all of this was that the difference between the two came down to PCS. If it had been the tech score, I think it would have been easier to swallow. I felt that W/P had better material and skated with more speed and expression, though I will admit that P/B had awesome lifts and probably have slightly better skating quality than the Canadians. Either way, what's done is done. I do feel, though, that W/P might establish themselves solidly as the world #3's as early as next season. They have made huge leaps in technique and performance, and there is nothing to suggest that the won't continue to improve. I think the polka will be extremely well suited for them (Kaitlyn has that sort of infectious enthusiasm that this type of program needs, and Andrew, I believe, has experince with folk dancing off the ice). I worry, though, about them having to follow up Je Suis Malade, which becamse such an iconic program with the fans. I have faith, though. Unlike past dissapointments, loosing the world bronze didn't seem to deflate Kaitlyn. I'm sure they were dissapointed, but they have really improved on their mental toughness, and seem to be cometing with a really fantastic attitude, so I have no doubt they'll come out on fire next season.
As for the I/K vs. B/S debate, I would have to go with I/K, simply because I feel they are better performers, and have more sensitivity towards the music. That being said, I find both teams to have really sloppy technique. Every element looks like a struggle to me. Furthermore, the choices of music and choreography have been horrible, particularly for I/K. I will never understand why their coaches feel it is appropriate to take a young, expressive team with obvious chemistry and weigh them down with heavy, dramatic music and overly angsty choreography. It doesn't show off any of their assets. I really, really hope that they see the light and move seomwhere else for training, or at least get some new choreographers.
As for the judging at Canadian nationals, I fear I might go into a fairly long rant here. It was an absolute joke. Aside for V/M and W/P, who were rightfully in the top two spots, the rest of the cometition was rediculous. I don't know what Skate Canada was trying to pull with Gilles/Poirier, but there was no way they should have even been fourth, let alone on the podium. They skated sloppily, there was tons of space between them, their FD basically consisted of them standing around making silly arm movements (sorry Christopher Dean) and Paul was so much stronger than Piper that it was actually painful to watch him drag her around. Their placement was a total slap in the face to Ralph/Hill, who in spite of some persistent technical issues, improved in leaps and bounds this season and skated the FD of their lives at Nationals. It was an even bigger slap in the face to Paul/Islam. And it's Paul/Islam that I worry will be the ones to suffer if Skate Canada continues to inexplicably hold G/P up. I realise that R/H beat P/I repeatedly this season, but given that they barely squeaked by them at nationals, I honestly don't see them doing this again if P/I come back next season helathy and with a full summer of training under their belts. Thus, I think it'll turn into P/I vs. G/P for that third worlds spot in the forseeable future (along with the third spot to Sochi), and P/I might end up loosing every time regardless of what they put out on the ice. Unfortunately, P/I's entire season was an absolute injury-filled nightmare, and they were horribly underprepared for every competition as a result. And their scores showed it. The problem there is that they created a buzz in 2010/2011, and then fell flat on their faces through no fault of their own trying to live up to it. I truly think these two are completely brilliant, and that they have the potential to be incredible, but they have almost zero competition experience, are virtually unknown outside of the country, and missing out on worlds repeatedly will, I fear, completely derail their career. The only hope here comes from the fact that Skate Canada chose to send them to 4CC even though they didn't earn the spot. That seems to indicate that SC has an idea of which team of the three has the highest scoring/placement potential outide of the country (when healthy, of course). That might also mean that next season, when G/P are actually elidgeable for worlds and 4CC, SC might think twice about holding up a team that would probably get absolutely decimated by an international pannel (unless they make drastic improvements) and let the skating determine the results.