Ice is really slippery when it comes to pairs. However, the top places should come down, as they often do, to a competition between the Russian & Chinese teams. The team with the strongest record is without doubt Yu & Jin CHN, who are the reigning Jr. World silver medallists. Their teammates, Li & Jiang, are strong contenders for the bronze. My guess is that one of the three Russian teams, Tudvaseva & Lisiev or Vigalova & Zakroev or Fedorova & Miroshkin, will earn the silver. Tudvaseva & Lisiev have the most experience, but they were behind Blackmer & Simpson USA at the JGPF last year, and only one spot ahead of them at Jr. Worlds. Simpson & Blackmer are an elegant team, but have been a bit lacking in difficulty in their programs.
One thing that can't be overlooked: The required death spiral in the Short Program is the Back Inside. Many of the teams at the last event had problems getting any credit for this element at all. Many of those that received credit, only earned the lowest level. The team that executes this skill well will have a real advantage on the rest of the pack.
Xiaoyu Yu & Yang Jin CHN
SP Violin Concerto
LP Die Fledermaus by Johann Strauss
Xiaoyu is 16 and Yang is 18.
They train with their coaches : Bo Luan & Weibin Cai at Harbin. Their choreographer is Marina Zueva.
Their personal best score is 167.48, achieved at last year's World Junior Championships, where they finished second. They are Chinese Senior bonze medallists from the 2012 Chinese Winter Games.
Their Exhibition skate from Junior Worlds:
Their LP at the 2012 Chinese National Winter Games
Maria Vigalova & / Egor Zakroev RUS
They have no ISU bio, and this is their international debut.
They are from Perm, and finished fourth in last year's Russian Junior National Championships with a total score of 144.54.
They competed last year on both the Russian Cup for Juniors and for Seniors. They won the third leg of the Junior cup over Davankova & Deputat. They finished fifth in their other junior event.
They finished 2nd in one of the Senior events, and seventh in the other.
Here's their SP from Russian Junior Nationals
Here is a video of them training a quad twist on the floor
Tatiana Tudvaseva & Sergei Lisiev RUS
They have not updated their programs on their ISU biography. Tatiana is 15 and Sergei is 19.
Their coaches & choreographers are Ludmila Kalinina & Alexei Menshikov. They train in Perm and Saransk.
Their personal best score is 137.90 at the Junior Grand Prix Final, where they finished sixth.
They finished fifth at Russian Junior Nationals
Their LP from the Junior Grand Prix Final
Lina Fedorova & Maxim Miroshkin RUS
They have never filed a fully filled out ISU bio.
Lina is 14; Maxim is 18.
Their personal best score was 134.88 at JGP Austria last year, where they finished fifth. They won the silver medal at the Youth Olympics last year in juniors.
They won the NRW Trophy in 2011 in Junior Pairs. with a score of 137.41. They did not compete at Russian Junior Nationals last year.
Their SP from NRW Trophy:
Meiyi Li & Bo Jiang CHN
SP Fantastic African Dance
LP Boundless (from "Big World")
Meiyi is 14, and Bo is 20.
Their coach is: Yanwei Sha, and their choreographeis : Jie Pan
Their best personal total score is 138.92, which they achieved at JGP Austria last season, where they finished fourth.
They finished ninth at Junior Worlds last year, and fifth at the Chinese National Championships in Seniors.
Their SP from the Chinese Winter Games 2012
Britney Simpson & Matthew Blackmer USA
SP The Mask of Zorro (soundtrack) by James Horner
LP Excerpts from Henry V by Patrick Doyle
Britney & Matthew train with Dalilah Sappenfield in Colorado Springs. Sappenfield is both their coach & their choreographer. Britney is 16, and Matthew is 20.
Their international personal best was 146.35 at the Junior grand Prix Final, where they won the bronze medal.
They are the American national silver medallists in Juniors, but did not have a good outing at Junior Worlds last year, where they only finished tenth.
Simpson and Blackmer won the free skate at Skate Detroit this summer with a score of 84.24 and won the short program with a score of 46.71. (Total score 130.95)
Here is their really good SP from the Junior Grand Prix Final last year:
Eliza Smyth & Jordan Dodds AUS
SP Umbrellas of Cherbourg by Michael Legrand
LP Prince Igor by Alexander Borodin
Eliza is 14, and Jordan is 18.
They train with their coach: Margaret Nicholls in Brisbane. Their choreographers are Margaret Nicholl & , Dalilah Sappenfield.
Lake Placid was their JGP debut, where they scored 64.93.
They won primary pairs in Australia in the 2009/2010 season.
Their LP at Lake Placid:
Anjelika Ilieva & Pavel Savinov BUL
SP Nothing Else Matters by Metallica
LP Van Helsing (soundtrack) by Alan Silvestri, David Bifano
They train in Sofia with Coach: Stoian Kazakov. Their choreographer is Ina Lutai.
Anjelika is 16, and Pavel is 20.
This is a relatively new team. Pavel competed in singles through the 2010-2011 season.
They placed sixth at the 2011 Golden Spin of Zagreb.
There are no videos of them as a couple. However, here's Pavel skating his SP in 2011 at the Bavarian Open in Oberstdorf.
Brittany Jones & Ian Beharry CAN
SP Bombay Dreams by A. L. Webber Music
LP Winter and Summer from Four Seasons by A. Vivaldi
Brittary is 16 and Ian is 20.
This is new pairing, coached by Kristy Sargent Wirtz in Kitchener-Waterloo. Their choreographe is: Matk Pillay.
Brittany & Ian finished in third place in the short program at Skate Detroit with a score of 41.17, and in seventh place in the Long Program with a score of 70.61.
They fared better at Indy Challenge, winning the short program with a score of 44.88 and placing secon in the long with a score of 81.41.
I did not find any videos of them.
Natasha Purich & Sebastian Arcieri CAN
SP They Cant Take That Awy From Me by Percy Faith
LP Mack and Mable OvertureThis is a new pairing. Natasha is 17 and Sebastian is 18. They train in Montreal with coaches Richard Gauthier & Bruno Marcotte. Their choreographer is Julie Marcotte.
They finished third at the Quebec summer competition with a score of 31.05 in the short program and second in the long program with a score of 67.34.
These videos were found by shutterbug.
They are from Championnats québécois d'été 2012.
Hayleigh Bell & Alistair Sylvester CAN
SP Charleston by Cecil Mack
LP Fantasie Impromptu by F. Chopin
Hayleigh is 16 and Alastair is 17.
They are coached by Lee Barkell and their choreographer is Kelly Johnson in Barrie, Ontario.
They scored their personal best of 126.73 at the 2012 World Junior Championships, where they finished twelth.
They finished eighth in the short program, with a score of 35.45 and sixth in the long program with a score of 70.92 at Skate Detroit this summer.
Their Junior Worlds LP
Julia Lavrentieva & Yuri Rudyk UKR
SP Sherlock Holmes a Game of Shadows (soundtrack) by Hans Zimmer
LP The Last Samurai (soundtrack) by Hans Zimmer
Julia is 15, while Yuri is 20.
Their coach is Dmitri Shkidchenko. Their choreographer is Maria Tumanovskaia
They scored their personal best of 110.03 at the World Junior Championships, where they placed 14th.
They are the reigning Ukrainian Senior Champions
This team just completed in Lake Placid, where they finished 13th.
Their LP from Lake Placid JGP
Jessica Calalang & Zack Sidhu USA
SP Night Train by Alvino Rey
LP The Artist (soundtrack) by Ludovic Bource
Zack is 20, and Jessica is 17.
Their coaches are Todd Sand, Jenni Meno, Christine Binder,& John Nicks. Their current Choreographers are : Cindy Stuart & Renee Roca.
They obtained their personal best international score of 139.02 at Tallinn JGP last year, where they won the bronze medal.
They were fourth in Juniors in the US last year, and so did not qualify for junior worlds.
Jessica & Zack finished in second place in the short program at Skate Detroit with a score of 41.71 and in fifth in the long program score of 73.53.
Here is their LP from JGP Tallinn
Brianna De La Mora & Taylor Wilson USA
SP Kalinka by Ival Larionov performed by Andre Rieu and Orchestra
LP Transformers (soundtrack) by Steve Jablonsky; Batman (soundtrack) by Hans Zimmer
Taylor is 20 and Brianna is 13.
Their coaches are Val Prudsky & Elena Prudsky. Their choreographers are : Elena Prudsky and Oksana Chernyuk.
They placed eighth in Juniors at US Nationals last year. This is their international debut.
They placed third in both junior events at Indy Challenge this summer, scoring 41.74 in the short program, and 79.87 in the long program.
The only videos I could find of them were from two years ago (their novice free skate)