The juvenile qualifying rounds used not to be seeded at all, probably on the theory that most juveniles were brand new qualifying competitions and/or were likely to have improved significantly since the previous year. Just in the last year or two they have started seeding juveniles the same as higher levels -- only those who advanced to Nationals or sectionals or regional final round the year before. Because juvenile is the lowest qualifying level, there's no additional provision for seeding those who had advanced at the next lower level the previous year.
So that still leaves the majority of the juvenile entries -- those who didn't compete the year before (e.g., perhaps were still prejuvenile) and those who were cut in the qual round -- subject to a random draw.
On the other hand, the problem with using scores alone is that the officials will not be the same on each of the panels, so one panel might tend to score higher or lower than another, and then all the skaters in a group with a tougher panel would be just as disadvantaged as skaters in a group with a deeper field, just for a different reason.
No matter what method is used for making cuts, the luck of the draw (either in group assignments or in officials assigned to each group) will have a significant effect.
And of those who did advance last year and chose to stay juvenile and therefore will be seeded, there's no way to take into account who made massive improvements in the interim vs. who had a major growth spurt and is now struggling with elements that were easy last year.
One method I've seen adopted at some club competitions is to take the top X skaters from each group and then also to take anyone whose score was higher than that of the lowest-scored skater who advanced by placment. That would mitigate some of the effects mentioned above. But it would also mean that when the groups do turn out to be well balanced the total number advancing would be exactly X times number of groups, whereas if the groups end up being very unbalanced the total could be more than twice that many. Which makes it impossible to plan an efficient schedule in advance.
Thanks for the explanation, Gkelly!
And thanks, Wordsworthgirl, for the details about why Liza looks so good. I was pleased by her performance, but I had no way of knowing whether that reaction was based on some superficial or even irrelevant element. It did seem to my uneducated eyes that her jumps had substance, timing, and spaciousness, so I'm glad to know I wasn't just being influenced by my admiration for her parents.
gkelly, thank you for explaining what's going on in details. IF just each panels of judges could make an effort to try to unify the numbers (as they used to do under 6.0 system at the starting of each group), Olympia's suggestion to choose the top qualifiers by scores will probably work. Of course it causes more work for the organizers but...
It would be a lot trickier to get each separate panel to unify numbers for the different skaters in their different qual rounds. They're not looking at the same thing.
Do you take a standardized average juvenile skater that every judge in the country has to watch on video and be told "This is 2.5 for Skating Skills, 3.0 for Performance/Execution," etc.? But what about when the first skater in their qual round is better than the reference video at some aspects of Skating Skills and worse at others? Then it will still be up to each judge to decide whether they still want to give 2.5 or to go higher or lower. And so forth.
I think that over time the standards become somewhat more consistent between judges within the same region, and eventually across the country, as judges see the same kinds of skating over and over and start to develop consensus about how much things are worth. But you still have individuals making decisions based on their own perceptions and their own prior experience, which are never going to be identical. PCS will still always be decided by human judgment.
If you only made the cut based on TES, it would be more standardized and less subject to human opinion. But then you could end up with the cut being made purely on which elements were successfully attempted, and not on the overall quality of skating and performance.
And there will still be some variations in TES ranges between different panels with different officials:
Even GOEs, with more objective criteria for the negative GOEs and a narrower total range of possible numbers to assign, will never be completely mechanical. As long as quality is being measured, there will be some differences of opinion.
And some technical panels are stricter about the gray areas than others.
All of which goes to prove that no matter what we do or what rules we make or revise (I use the word "we" loosely!), skating is never going to be a sport that can be judged precisely. And that's not necessarily a bad thing. One of the things that makes skating so exciting to watch is that it's not standard issue. It isn't move 3B followed by move 7R. So the frustrations of judging are ultimately worth it.
Instead of the top 4 in a group qualifying, the top 3 per group automatically qualify. Then, the remaining available spots are given to those skaters that have the highest points total that did not finish in the top 3. This would ensure a well balanced total number advancing, the top skaters would make it to the finals, and some of the effects of having stronger/weakers groups would still be mitigated.
At some club competitions. Not at regionals. Might be worth considering.
Regarding Daria Grinkova - she had a public facebook for a time, while she was still in college, that seemed like a typical facebook with the exception that she accepted fans as friends. She'd post videos of herself with her cousin who was the daughter of Sergei's sister Natalia, photos with friends, at high school and college, in Russia, in California, in Boston, and including of her phoenix tatoo (on her upper back/shoulder) to honor her father. The photos were unmistakeably her and she used Grinkova as a last name. She seemed typical to me, high energy. It was her choice to make her facebook public and accept fans, and if she's not doing that now, good for her. I think it's up to her to be as private or public as she wants, and change her mind.
That sounds reassuring. I hope everything's been all right with her all along, but if there were any problems for awhile, I hope they have been resolved.
Why would she have fans? It seems a bit intrusive to me for skating fans to Facebook stalk the children of skating stars.