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Thread: Are Qualifying Rounds Really Necessary????

  1. #1
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    Are Qualifying Rounds Really Necessary????

    I don't think so. Ever since it was put in place for Worlds and the GPF, I've always disagreed with it. Ok so the purpose was supposed to narrow the field and give the lesser known skaters more of a "fair" chance with an opportunity (although a very slim one) to place, but I think the negatives far outweigh the positives. One major reasoning for me alone is because it takes up too much toll on the skaters, already having to skate a SP and a LP but another LP in the process? But do you think the Qualifying Rounds are of merit? Or do you think such as myself that the ISU should do away with it completely? And is the ISU planning to do away with it anytime soon? I hope so.

  2. #2
    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    I think every eligible skater from a country should be able to skate in a Worlds or Olympics.

    That being said, I question the rationale for having QRs. I believe the purpose of the QRs are to ease the judging so that they can concentrate on the those skaters who do well in the qualifiers and eliminate those who do not. How many are considered to be eliminated is the problem. For some reason it was decided that if you reached the top 30 you could go on to the next stage of the competition. That means 5 groups of 6 skaters. You know the rest. The result is three or four skaters are eliminated; and 18 skaters haven't got a prayer in heaven to get on the podium. And without a doubt, 6 more would need a miracle.

    In my opinion, and it is just my opinion, I would eliminate the QRs, and I would let everyone skate the SP. From there one can either eliminate the ones who do not have a prayer in heaven of reaching the podium or letting them all skate for the sake of going to all that trouble of travelling to the cite of the competitions.

    As a live spectator I would love to see ALL skate their LP programs. As a sportsman, I think only the top 12 should make the final LP and maybe some others who have enough sub-total CoP points to possibly make the podium.

    It is a sport first, and should be treated as a sport. Contestants are eliminate in other sports - no reason why they shouldn't be in figure skating.

    As far as TV spectating, well, what can any of us do, except complain.

    Joe

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joesitz
    I think every eligible skater from a country should be able to skate in a Worlds or Olympics.

    As a live spectator I would love to see ALL skate their LP programs. As a sportsman, I think only the top 12 should make the final LP and maybe some others who have enough sub-total CoP points to possibly make the podium.
    I think there's a way to accomplish both, well within the bounds of sport: instead of having LP qualification rounds, for singles and, there could be LP/FD consolation rounds. The skaters who did not come in top 10 or 12 in the SP or CD+OD, or be within a certain number of points for the cut-off -- i.e., if 11-15th were within 2 points of 10th place, that would be called a wash would skate in the consolation rounds. The schedule could look like this:

    Monday:
    morning: Dance CD-all
    evening: Men's SP-all

    Tuesday:
    afternoon: Men's LP Consolations
    evening: Pairs SP-all

    Wednesday:
    afternoon: Dance OD-all
    evening: Men's LP Finals

    Thursday:
    afternoon: Ladies SP-all
    evening: Pairs LP

    Friday:
    morning: Dance FD Consolation*
    evening: Dance FD Finals

    Saturday:
    morning or afternoon: Ladies LP Consolation*
    late afternoon or evening: Ladies LP Finals

    *If the same judges would be wiped out doing two groups in one day, then separate panels could be used for the consolation rounds, or the two competitions could be switched. (That would make it very expensive for the non-finalist dance teams, who could be competing over six days instead of four, but it would mix it up a bit for the series passholders. On the other hand, a Ladies' or Men's Consolation round on a weekend might bring in more people than a Dance FD Consolation.)

    Likewise, Ladies and Men's could be switched, like they were in Malmo in 2003.

    There wouldn't be a need to change the calculation that determines the number of skaters each country qualifies, because the final placement remains.

    The three downsides I see to this are:

    a. The relatively small number of people who can come to the qualis during the day to get their only affordable glimpse of the top competitors would not see them in the consolation rounds, and the number of individual tickets to the consolation rounds would go down and might plummet. (Although, given the number of people who got their qualis/CD tickets from tour group people who punted the CD's and qualis, I'm not sure how many individual tickets to these events that they really sell. And the tour groups, who get all of the good tickets, are locked into series tickets, or they don't get any) However, if they set up a large screen to broadcast the feed from the finals, and limited it to the people who'd purchased individual tickets to consolation, not those with series tickets, they might sell more tickets to the consolation rounds, and the attendees would get the audio and video from the arena, without yakking commentary.

    b. Although I saw lots of eliminated competitors in the stands for a couple of days after their event, this would make it more expensive for the dance teams, because their events would be over five days for the finalists and possibly six days, if the consolation FD was held on the last day.

    It would, though, make it less expensive for the Men, because they'd go from competing over four days to competing over three days, and both the Men's and Ladies' finalists, would have a rest day between SP and LP; now the rest day is between qualis and SP.

    It might make it more expensive for the pairs if they had to travel over the weekend, because they'd compete Tuesday-Thursday, instead of Monday-Wednesday.

    c. There might be fewer qualifying competitors in the consolation rounds than in the qualification rounds, because some skaters might give up and go home, particularly if there was no possibility of earning an extra spot for their country. This would make it easier on the judges, but that might also drop the number of attendees. I'm not sure what's worse: skating to empty stands, or watching people leave in droves when the rank holds no top skaters.

  4. #4
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    hockeyfan, either you have way too much time on your hands or I vote that we start a petition to get you on the executive board of the USFSA. That is both a creative and practical solution. Not to mention it would keep the rotation of the judges going and give them more international experience. You could probably cull out poor judges based on the comparative way that they score. If a judge is consistantly missing marks that other judges are catching, or ommiting marks on purpose, having a larger comparative pool to "judge the judge" would be a great improvement. I truely believe (IMHO) that you can reshuffle and reschedual all you want, but until you take care of overseeing the judges, results are always going to be skewed.

  5. #5
    SkateFan4Life
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    I think the qualifying rounds are totally ridiculous and should be abolished. With the abolishment of school figures, free skating is the name of the game. Why put the skaters through having to skate their long programs twice - and with all of the skaters, the scheduling is so disjointed that sometimes the skaters are obliged to COMPETE at 11:00 p.m. or even later. Utter nonsense!!

    IMHO, the World Championships should be be a showcase for the best in the world, plain and simple. While it's nice to give all ISU member countries at least one entry into Worlds, if that particular country's entry can't even land a triple jump, what in the world is he or she doing competing at the Worlds?
    The Worlds are not the place to send junior or even lower-level skaters so that they gain some "experience". There are plenty of other competitions - Grand Prix events and lesser events for these skaters to compete while leaving the Worlds open only for the top skaters in the World.

    Frankly, the "top" singles list for both men and women probably comprises a short list of 24 skaters. That's enough for the judges and schedulers to manage, I should think. Let all of these "top" skaters compete - short program and long program, and that's it.

    I would include the Olympics in this idea, but the Olympics has a grand tradition of giving everyone the opportunity to compete, regardless of skill.

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    The QR also has a another purpose that has not been mentioned, which is to put the skaters in warm-up groups according to their "quality". This is very important and it makes the judges' task easier (this goes mainly for men and ladies). I remember last Euros there was no QR in the ladies and the SP starting order was a mess. There were a few skaters who we could say suffered from skating so early. That said, I think this could be easily solved by using the ISU ranking system or some other way to rank the skaters and form the warm-up groups without making them skate a third program that they don't really have to (and that they generally don't want to). Or in an alternative way, if there has to be a cut on the number of skaters, let the top ranked skip it and have the competition among the ones who want to qualify.

    Hockeyfan, I find your suggestion interesting but I think that's complicating too much something that really isn't that complicated, not to mention that it would be equivalent to have two different competitions - Worlds A (for the best) and Worlds B (for the less ranked). The purpose of Worlds is to bring the athletes all together competing in the same event. There are skaters who can finish 15th or lower that are as skilled or have as good programs as the top 5. Bad days happen to all and a skater can make mistakes in all jumps in the SP (which is crucial, yes) but still excell at spins or have other strengths. I cannot imagine last season's Worlds only with 10 or 12 men skating the LP, for example, it was just that good. They may all not have the same level nor it is possible, but they all work hard to be there and if they can land triple jumps, oh they definitely are among the best in the World. Can you land a triple jump? I sure can't.

    My own proposal would be allow all skaters who qualified to Worlds (and Europeans) skate the SP. The warm-up groups would be formed according to a ranking system (could be ISU's with some modifications - a ranking system at any case) and set a limit (24? 30?) to the LP. It would be easier to handle by the organization, less tiring for the skaters and they all would have a chance to participate and compete in the same field.

  7. #7
    SkateFan4Life
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    Quote Originally Posted by RIskatingfan
    .

    My own proposal would be allow all skaters who qualified to Worlds (and Europeans) skate the SP.
    OK - but how would these skaters be "qualified"? I stand by my opinion that it is totally ridiculous to send skaters to Worlds who are junior or lesser-level skaters. Frankly, it's embarrassing to see these skaters display their obvious lack of technical and artistic skills. I apologize if this sounds snobby, because I am in no way critizing the skaters themselves. I certainly do want them to have every opportunity to develop their skills and compete at appropriate-level competitions. They should be encouraged to develop their skills as much as possible. However, if a male skater obviously cannot land a single triple jump, he is not a senior-level skater, and he does not belong at Worlds.

    IMHO, of course!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkateFan4Life
    OK - but how would these skaters be "qualified"?
    The same way they are now. Doesn't each federation have the right to send a number of skaters? This is how you develop sport in the first place, by giving equal opportunities to the athletes. A federation can send a skater. If he's good, he'll have a good participation and who knows, can earn a spot to a fellow countryman. If he's not good enough, he won't participate in the rest of the competition and nobody loses anything with this anyway. What difference does it make having more 5 or 6 skaters competing anyway?

    And I very much disagree with you on the aspect that the skaters who don't qualify for the SP don't have high technical or artistic skills. Have you ever watched a QR? If you haven't, you'll be surprised to know that many of these skaters are indeed very interesting and can land triple jumps. The competition is just too tight and not everybody can go. Yon Garcia was one the highlights of many people who attended Worlds in Dortmund and he didn't qualify for the SP. Patrick Meier is also a very interesting skater, a terrific spinner and he didn't qualify for the SP. You say they should be encouraged to develop their skills... well, having them interact and be on the same ice as World champions is a way to encourage them AND to give them experience. I'm not saying "let's send all skaters to Worlds to encourage them", but since you mentioned that aspect...

    I see nothing embarrassing about this and I would say they feel quite proud of trying heir best in front of such a large audience. I understand you may not find it enjoyable to watch them and prefer to watch the top 10, for example. But this is not only made for the viewers. You can do like many people do: not watch the first warm-up groups and watch only the last ones. The skaters, OTOH, are there to compete, give their best and who knows what may happen. Kristoffer Berntsson who barely made it to the LP at Worlds was 6th in the Europeans after the SP, a month before, after skating a brilliant program. It's sport. Skating is already decreasing in popularity. If we start making Worlds an elite of the elite of the elite... how many skaters will be left? We're not exactly talking about tennis and even there everyone can try to play in a Grand Slam.

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    All the suggestions are wonderful.

    I don't see a need for qualifying either. You go through the whole year with just a SP and LP then have to change it for Worlds and Europeans. With COP they can have a qualifying score that the skaters have to beat throughout the year to qualify for worlds. This way you don't have skaters who can only do 1 triple in there and you can use any competition as a qualifying score. They do this in track. Only runners who beat a certain time can make it into the olympics. Every country has a chance to make it to worlds but only if they qualify. For the ones who have more you limit it to the number/country method they have now. I'd like 3 per country but you may end up with only a few countries but they'll have to see. Of course if there isn't 30 skaters qualifed then you do less or lower the qualifying standard. That may take some time to figure out. Then you do a seeding based on a skater's highest COP score throughout the year. The top 30 skaters go to Worlds. Any ISU sanctioned competition will qualify. Then based on that seeding you do the draw. Top 6 in 1 warmup, next 6 in the 2nd one, etc.

    You will have skaters working hard to get the highest score they can. The countries will have some leeway in choosing skaters If they have more than the alloted amount of skaters/country that are top 30 they can choose which ones to send. It doesn't have to be the ones with the highest scores.
    Last edited by LBC; 10-03-2004 at 06:50 PM.

  10. #10
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    Since the demise of figures there has to be some sort of "measuring rod" for the judges to compare skaters. I guess this is when the Qualifying Round was born. When the figure portion of the competition existed there was no such animal known as the "QR" only figures, Short program and long program. As with ice dance - there are preliminary dances or set pattern dances the dancers all have to perform before making it to the Original Dance or short and final long program. The judges have to watch couple after couple perform the same dance!!!! However, it helps them see the strengths and weaknesses of each ice dancer. I suppose this is the purpose of the Qualifying Round. My only problem with this aspect of the free disicipline is the skaters performing their same long program in the qualifying round as their free skate. I think they should do an entirely different program or even show variations of jumps and spins set forth by the judges. Surely this way the judges could spot strengths and weaknesses of each individual skater and mark them accordingly. Other than that, I say, bring back figures!!!!

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by RIskatingfan
    The QR also has a another purpose that has not been mentioned, which is to put the skaters in warm-up groups according to their "quality".
    It's actually to put the skaters in groups for the SP according to their quality.

    Quote Originally Posted by RIskatingfan
    Hockeyfan, I find your suggestion interesting but I think that's complicating too much something that really isn't that complicated, not to mention that it would be equivalent to have two different competitions - Worlds A (for the best) and Worlds B (for the less ranked).
    I'm not sure a. Why there is anything more complicated in using the SP results to set the finals vs. using the quali results to set the SP results and, with few exceptions, set the LP results via the group placement from the SP. and b. why this means two separate competitions: through the SP results ("semifinals"), you either qualify for the LP or you qualify for the consolation rounds.

    Quote Originally Posted by RIskatingfan
    The purpose of Worlds is to bring the athletes all together competing in the same event.
    They would all be competing in the same event, just like the pairs skaters do. They would just start with the SP instead of the quali rounds.

    Quote Originally Posted by RIskatingfan
    There are skaters who can finish 15th or lower that are as skilled or have as good programs as the top 5. Bad days happen to all and a skater can make mistakes in all jumps in the SP (which is crucial, yes) but still excell at spins or have other strengths.
    In most sports, what you do that day is what matters: you either qualify for the final round or you don't. Why should figure skating compensate for a particularly bad performance in the SP? It doesn't compensate for a particularly bad performance in the qualis.

    Quote Originally Posted by RIskatingfan
    I cannot imagine last season's Worlds only with 10 or 12 men skating the LP, for example, it was just that good. They may all not have the same level nor it is possible, but they all work hard to be there and if they can land triple jumps, oh they definitely are among the best in the World. Can you land a triple jump? I sure can't.
    Every skater who was in the top 24 in singles, Men and Ladies, landed at least one triple jump. What I can do or what you can do should not dictate who makes it to the finals of the sport's top competition. I disagree with you about Worlds Men's results from last year. The top 10-12 from the SP were:

    1. Plushenko
    2. Joubert
    3. Lindemann
    4. Weir
    5. Weiss
    6. Lambiel
    7. Zhang
    8. Griazev
    9. Klimkin
    10. Dambier
    11. Takahashi
    12. Li, C.

    I beg to differ that van der Perren, 14th in the SP, was as good as Klimkin-Li, C. in the SP, or that they were anywhere close to the top 6, with the exception of Lambiel (6), who was held up based on his quali score, in my opinion. If Sandhu had been judged fairly for how good his spins and footwork were, he might have been top 12, or, using CoP, he might have been close enough to qualify by being within 2 points of Li.

    But if he was judged fairly and he didn't qualify by placement or being with a certain number of points of the cut-off skater, why should he be in the finals? Plenty of top athletes in track and field or swimming at Athens failed to make the finals, including the World Record holder in women's high jump. Draghila had a bad day, and she didn't move on. All other athletes work all year for the championships, and in sports like gymnastics and aquatics, they work hard for two years.

    Again, I don't know why figure skating should be different than other sports, or why singles and Dance should be different than Pairs, who start with the SP. Shen/Zhao had to take their lumps with their SP results; why shouldn't Lambiel or Sokolova?

    Quote Originally Posted by RIskatingfan
    My own proposal would be allow all skaters who qualified to Worlds (and Europeans) skate the SP.
    How does this differ from what I've suggested?

    Quote Originally Posted by RIskatingfan
    The warm-up groups would be formed according to a ranking system (could be ISU's with some modifications - a ranking system at any case) and set a limit (24? 30?) to the LP.
    In theory under CoP this wouldn't be needed. The question is whether grouping the skaters by rank would make the judges score automatically by rank -- i.e., raise the scores as the groups go along, instead of judging what's in front of them by the criteria. It seems to me that making the judges meet the criteria should be the most import thing the ISU does. However, since judges are human and subject to the limits of judgement, the tops seeds could be distributed randomly among the starting groups for SP's, like in tennis.

    The Olympics have no qualification rounds for singles. If the most important competition in the sport has no qualis or pre-seeded why should the World Championships?

  12. #12
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    Hypothetically, if the SP is used as an elimination process as well as what it is intended to be, then the cut off mark on who should skate the LP comes into being. What number should that cut off be? Choices:

    1. Everyone skates the LP regardless of how hopeless it is for getting a medal. no cut off necessary.

    2. The cut off mark would only allow those skaters who have a mathematical chance of making the top 6. or top 12. ( a decision has to be made )

    Once the choice is made, the LP programs are set. In choice no. l where all the skaters skate their LPs, the judges will have a monumental job of not being fatigued. Under CoP there really is no reason for judges to compare skaters (as in 6.0 system), and I believe those GoE scores will be going wild. No need to put the top tier skaters in one group of 6. The CoP scores are valid for all, so what difference does it make which grouping should a skater be in.

    In choice no. 2, where 12 is the magic number to skate the LP. Again, the CoP is valid for all in whatever order one skates. Here the judges will not be fatigued in the judging. But the fans will be upset if a top tier skater's total SP scores puts him in 13th place. For live spectators this is annoying; for TV spectators, one would not see the top tier skater anyway.

    Most round robin sports see the 'best' fall by the wayside because the aim is to produce a winner. I don't see why figure skting should be different.

    Joe
    Last edited by Joesitz; 10-04-2004 at 06:43 AM.

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    qualifying round...

    I'm of two minds about the qualifying round. I disagree with many of the posters who've suggested that somehow the number of skaters who compete their long programs should be whittled down even more. I understand that the qualifying rounds were initiated in order to 1. make the number of skaters manageable, and 2. make it easier for the judges under the old judging system where they were required to place skaters, deciding who beat who.

    The second reason should be taken care of by COP as judges are no longer required to place skaters along a continuum, but are supposed to judge a performance against its own maximum value. Therefore, no longer are judges trying to recall if skater 22 of the night actually skated better than skater 5 of the night. Making it less of a disadvantage for skaters to draw early etc.

    There are no qualifying skates in pairs and dance because the number of competitors is small enough already and I think these disciplines aren't marred by the absence of another round. If it's necessary to cut down the number of singles skaters I say sure, go for a qualifying round, but wash out the scores at the end of it and start from scratch for the short and long for those who are still in the competition. I find that often the rather arbitrary set-up of the qualifying round groups puts some skaters higher than they deserve due to a weaker group, and some skaters at a disadvantage for the entire competition because they found themselves in a really strong group. I think it's equally important to get the placements right from third to seventh as it is to award the top spot, and qualifying rounds can and have done really funky things to these placements.

    While other sports may also operate on this principle (strong group, weak group - luck of the draw, deal with it), I don't think that's a compelling argument to say skating should follow suit. You know the story of the lemmings. I don't think that helps to really reward the best skaters. I think these are trained enough athletes that they should be able to handle three performances in week, but if one is designated qualifying it should be just that, qualifying and nothing more. Scores should come from the SP and LP, period. If they want the third skate to count, they should require it to be something different from the two other portions of competition.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by rain
    . While other sports may also operate on this principle (strong group, weak group - luck of the draw, deal with it), I don't think that's a compelling argument to say skating should follow suit. You know the story of the lemmings. I don't think that helps to really reward the best skaters. I think these are trained enough athletes that they should be able to handle three performances in week, but if one is designated qualifying it should be just that, qualifying and nothing more. Scores should come from the SP and LP, period. If they want the third skate to count, they should require it to be something different from the two other portions of competition.
    I'm not sure what you mean by " not rewarding the best skaters". Isn't that part of the definition of SPORT? If it doesn't matter how skaters are evaluated as to "strong" and "weak" then we can eliminate the judging all together and just have an annual convention where 3 skaters from every country can participate and skate their routines without any expectation of reward.

    Figure Skating, at present, has a very questionable reputation as to whether it is or is not a SPORT. I think the CoP will help rid us of that reputation, at least to some exent.

    There are losers in all sports and more often than not, the favorites can fall behind the wayside. If we coddle all the skaters and not worry about who was the 'best that night' and we are overly concerend about the skater who places 17th, then we are, imo, having exhibitions, and we should stop calling figure skating a SPORT. Let's give everyone a medal.

    I'm all for everyone skating at least once. If an elimination process is necessary, so be it. After the last 'test' I expect a winner, a runner-up and a show prize. The rest of the field should be placed properly and that will happen, at least, in theory. No one is objecting to this.

    The problem in the discussion is about the elimination process. I would say let everyone skate. If it is a burden on the judges, that will have to be worked out. Your suggestion to have a 'different' kind of skate for elimination is good.

    As it is, a random selection of 30 skaters as the cut off point, for me, is stupid. To go through all the skaters in the QR to eliminate 4 or 5 has no mreit whatsoever..

    Joe

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    Quote Originally Posted by rain
    ...............The second reason should be taken care of by COP as judges are no longer required to place skaters along a continuum, but are supposed to judge a performance against its own maximum value. Therefore, no longer are judges trying to recall if skater 22 of the night actually skated better than skater 5 of the night. Making it less of a disadvantage for skaters to draw early etc.

    There are no qualifying skates in pairs and dance because the number of competitors is small enough already and I think these disciplines aren't marred by the absence of another round. ............Scores should come from the SP and LP, period. If they want the third skate to count, they should require it to be something different from the two other portions of competition.
    I agree with most of this. However, there ARE QR's in dance. There is no QR in pairs. Also in the Olympics there is no QR for men or ladies singles. There is a talk of eliminating the QR in ice dance. So it does not make sense to have a QR in the world championships. IMO all the skaters that qualify should be allowed to skate the SP. The top 24 can make it into the LP. The COP will at least eliminate the need to compare - for example- skater#1 with skater #24. The SP skating order has not been an issue in the Olympics. The cream always rose to the top. For example, Maria B. was the first to skate in t he 98 Oly's and she was in 3rd place at the end of the SP's. B&S were the 3rd to skate in the 2002 SP and they were in 1st place after the SP.

    One might say that the real problem is not with the 'cream' but with the large number of skaters that could place in the lower half or lower one third. It is hard to compare and eliminate a fraction of them. There is some truth in it, but I don't believe it takes a 4 or 4.5 minute program to rank these skaters. It seems particularly ridiculous to make the skaters skate the same LP twice. OTOH one may argue that it gives all the skaters skate the LP they have worked on. It is a nice consolation, but is it worth the effort? I would venture to guess that the not so great skaters like that opportunity but for those expected to make it to the top it is nothing more than a practice round. Unfortunately the final results may depend on the QR, as it did for Suguri last year. The SP has all the required elements, which should make it easy to give points and determine who goes to the next round.

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