I didn't know host picks go first but that doesn't change the heart of my point- USFSA knew/strongly suspected Rachael would not get an assignment. They therefore gave her one.
Ashley was also GUARANTEED two spots to begin with from finishing 4th at Worlds as she is now seeded, so they knew for sure Wagner was getting 2.
Of course, Mathman and mskater93 are absolutely correct. I sorta lost what we were arguing about (again).
Wagner and Gao were great! Even though Ashley is not my favorite skater, I was actually holding my breath for her during her skating, and I was very happy for her when she finished her last jump. She beared well for this huge pressure from her country and fans' expectation. And she answered by giving a clean, beautiful performance if it was not very fast. Good for Ashley! Well done! I don't really like her music selection combine with this choreography. It seemed that the music was too fast to skate for her.
Flatt looked REALLY slow and people who were in the arena and reported live verified that she was noticeably slower than the other skaters. This affects SS and the rest of her PCS will fall in line with that (even if that isn't right, that IS what happens - SS is the starting corridor for a skater's score). It looked like she just really couldn't generate any power from the ankle suffering from tendonitis.
Rachael does seem to overachieve relative to her current physical ability. Five triples is pretty good all things considered. But one could argue that is perhaps why the injuries won't let up.
Gosh, I was pretty impressed with Ashley. I only just now got to watch her freeskate .... having trouble finding time to keep up with skating this year. Her upperbody carriage has always been fairly good but seems to have improved (thank you Mr. Nicks) and I did like this choreo for her. I liked that her spin combo at the halfway mark timed the position changes with the music (her last combo spin though ...hmm, no so much). I also liked a lot of the entries into her jumps and thought she looked a bit less like she was muscling into them as ... or am I just imagining things? I dunno, her shoulders looked squarer or something on some of the jumps. Overall she still the same Ashley with her same strengths and weaknesses (she definitely seemed to slow toward the end but hopefully she will gain stamina and sharpness as the season progresses, not lose it) ... but this choreo did a good job overall of showing her off. I'm in the minority on this but I did NOT like Swan Lake for her. I don't know if she will try the harder jumb combos that people are talking about but I say good for her for staying in such great shape and maintaining her skill level at least. And certainly wish her good luck on the harder combos - that would be the bomb.
Oh, and also loved seeing the Charlotte spiral even if she did hold it only briefly.