Finally watched the program on CBC and am wondering about all the hand-wringing and outcry. I agree that Mao should not have won but I can see why the judges like her and justify to themselves to work it out that she would win overall. I love Akiko -- her style and spunk are truly endearing. Her program is also unique and very interesting but I find she is rough around the edges and I don't like her jump entrances. Mao is more of a pretty-pretty skater and seems to fit more with what the judges are traditionally looking for. I don't know. There is a sense of refinement there and her moves feel more complete. As Kurt mentioned in the commentary that the judges are more concerned with the program content in the LP than the technical. This may have just been cover to preserve the sport but evidence seems to suggest that that's what the judges are looking for.
Saying that, I do think the system is broken and some re-emphasis needs to be put back onto the jumps. I hate to see the top ladies dropping the lutz and flip. Programs without them seem so lame no matter how many 3T-3Ts or 2A-3Ts you do.
If the current system remains as it is, the sport really is in need of a skater who can do both the technical content and have the skating skills the judges like to reward. I don't think all the results are due to back-room politicking but the judges do have prejudices and favourites. I don't know. I feel like the Men and Ice Dance have started to embrace COP and I am really enjoying those divisions. Pairs and Ladies still seem to be finding their way.