Mmm. While I wasn't overly excited about their win - it was a given outcome - and I'm not thrilled by their FD... it's different than last year's FD (which is one of my top five favorite FDs of all time).
I don't understand how people ignored the quality of the skating and focused on the inflated scores at the Nationals. The Shibs are superb in the quality of skating, the quiet blades is incomparable to the loud scratching blades from H/D or poor technique of Chock who hardly used her lower part of body when skated. The Shibs disadvantage is the lack of versatility, they need a better program and perhaps new coach. Among the top 5 US females, Chock prob. the worst in technique and skill, however, she is the best in theatrical aspect. Igor was superb in hiding his student's weakness and show off her strength. I won't write off any of the top 5 based on only this Nationals result. Except D/W, the other four teams are quite comparable, each have their weakness and strength.
Esp. for those who aspire to become first-time Olympians in Sochi, their placement would not be the only source of gratification at the Games.
I imagine that the Shibutanis, Weaver/Poje, and others are motivated too by the off-ice opportunities to represent their respective countries in the Opening and Closing Ceremonies; to meet athletes from other sports; etc.
[Do not want to count the chickens before they hatch: the Shibutanis have yet to qualify for the Olympic team. But if they do (fingers crossed) ... as soon as Sochi ice dance has concluded, no doubt that they will make the most of the entire Olympic experience. The result (I hope): The Best #ShibSibs Video Ever. ]
I recall that Charlie White, a huge hockey fan, was in awe of all the hockey stars at the 2010 Olympics. Perhaps the Shibs are also hockey fans.
At the very least, @AlexShibutani's tweets have clearly indicated that he is an avid fan of the Bruins.
I really do not want to jinx the Shibutanis by taking anything for granted.
But as they continue to raise the bar higher and higher for their videos, I do believe they will seize any opportunities to include athletes from as many sports and as many countries as possible.
Heck, even if (heaven forfend) they are not competing in Sochi for whatever reason, the USOC should obtain credentials for them as part of its official media team.
I found the US pairs a bit disappointing but alot of wonderful dance couples. I have to agree i thought the Shibs would place 2nd, they are so smooth and have such quality. Also thought Hubbell/Donohue would have placed ahead of Chock/Bates in the Freedance but cannot compare the short dance as didn't see them. D/W were wonderful but overscored.
I finally got to watch the free dance last night. Meryl & Charlie were wonderful as usual. Their free dance this season is like the perfect synthesis of emotion & athleticism in dance. It's even more athletic and technically impressive than last year's FD, and still wonderfully passionate and rather thrilling to watch. I really hope they will reclaim the gold at Worlds this year. I think the key for them is what Tracy Wilson mentioned--finding and amplifying those softer, more tender moments in the music. Meryl & Charlie always dazzle with their technical brilliance, but adding that layer of intimacy could put them over the top (I hope).
As to the other teams . . . Aside from Meryl & Charlie, my favorites were Madison Hubbell & Zach Donohue. I just love their flamenco program. It has such drama, such intensity. I thought they skated it really, really well; definitely their best performance so far this season. I'm sad they didn't make the podium and the World team. Reviewing the protocols, it appears they lost GOE points on the lifts versus C/B and S/S. Also both step sequences were Level 3, while the other two teams each got Level 4 for one sequence. I will assume the tech specialists/judges got this right. However, I feel they could have been rewarded more highly in PCS, esp. in the P, C, and I marks. Also in T. I think the choreography of the program is gorgeous, and there are a ton of transitions and very few crossovers. I just find them immensely enjoyable to watch. I hope they won't be too discouraged by this setback.
Lynn & Logan were pleasant to watch. But the Adele program is just too typical and too lightweight, especially judged against their close competitors' programs. To break through, they need to be much more innovative & daring, IMO.
The Shibutanis definitely performed the Geisha free dance very well. As with H/D, it was easily their best performance of the season. However, ultimately I find this FD just boring and uninspiring. It's all very lovely, but it doesn't go beyond that. It doesn't say anything. I have been always been such a fan of Maia & Alex, but I feel like they need to make some pretty big changes. Something isn't working. The programs this season aren't good, they haven't really been skating well, and they're losing so much ground in placements/reputation. I don't know what is wrong. Obviously they need better programs, but I think it's more than that. The difficulty in finding programs that work for them is perhaps pointing to some more fundamental issue. I have to admit, in the past I never thought their sibling relationship was a problem. But now I'm beginning to wonder a bit. Either way, I feel sad, because I do like them a lot, and they're so talented.
The placement I can't understand is Chock & Bates. Yes, they scored well on the lifts and step sequences, and I'll assume that is correct. But to me, the basic skating and choreography of this program was not that impressive, and I'm just very surprised they won the silver. I felt like there were a lot of crossovers and two-foot skating in the program. Artistically it was okay, but nothing outstanding, and it just didn't seem as difficult or challenging as H/D's flamenco routine, for example. To me, C/B lacked both the smoothness of the Shibs and Lynn/Logan and the interest and passion of H/D. I'm really not too happy about them winning silver.
I think the usfsa wanted Igor to have a team as close to the top as possible.