Gold: Savchenko/Szolkowy
Silver: Kavaguti/Smirnov

Why? Here’s the thing – I think it’s the last shot for either of these teams, and for both of them to be injured and withdraw from Euros concurrently is probably the single worst thing about this season. They both have marvellous long programs (slight edge to S/S) and short programs (edge to K/S). Now, I think S/S are good enough to challenge V/T all the way to Sochi, but I expect the politicking for V/T to reach feverish heights (witness Lakernik’s dig at S/S in the interview) and these two will be left behind. It’s a shame because I really think that K/S’s “Claire de Lune” is an all-time list program. They aren’t my favourite team, not by any means, but this program is a marvel. On the other side, I’m beginning to think that S/S are a favourite of mine. A terrific range of programs showcases their ambition and emotional range (nothing more clearly than “Pina”). I want them to land that throw triple axel (though it’s currently really underrated in the system) – few teams have pushed themselves both technically and artistically the way this team has, and that should be applauded.
What next? Hmmm....... S/S are in the Takahashi territory where whatever they do will likely be fascinating and worthy. I’d like K/S to continue exploring how to make those transitions seamless as they’ve done with “Clair de Lune.”

Bronze: Voloszhar/Trankov
Why? I was really excited when I found out they were skating to Black Swan, but they haven’t impressed me with it. But a sky-high triple twist and brazen guts make this team a stellar one to watch anyway.
What next? Respighi, please.

Fourth: Duhamel/Radford
Why: To get fourth would require a skate that is at par or better than Canadian Nationals. Megan’s another one of those who when happy completely lights up the arena. It’s not an interesting long program, but you can see them working hard to improve their PCS (stronger transitions than last season, better match) and their SP is quite nice.
What next: Something big, brassy and vibrant. Maybe some Cy Coleman?

Fifth: Pang/Tong
Why?.... I like them, but I don’t love them. It’s hard to watch these “part-time” skaters – I want them and more of them, but I also don’t want them to be rewarded despite not competing. Additionally, the suspicion that they’re competing because they “have” to bothers me as well.
What next? If they continue competing, I’d like to see tackle something like George Winston.

Sixth: Takahashi/Tran
Why? I like them. There’s a hint of ephemerality surrounding this team, especially since his status vis-a-vis Sochi is unclear-to-negative. So many lovely qualities – genuinely musical footwork, strong choreography, and beautiful positions. I really hope they do well this season.
What next? Land the jumps. Land the jumps. Jumps land the. Land jumps the.

Seventh: Bazarova/Larionov
Why? Eh, I don’t love them , but they do seem like hard workers. Her air position is divine.
What next? I’d like to see her with more muscle mass -

Eighth: Marley/Brubaker
Why? Because they’ve got spunk and flair. Because I really like them.
What next? Win the National title, with Donlan/Speroff second. Trigger a new dynasty/rivalry in American pairs.

Ninth: Dube/Wolfe
Why? There’s been a lot of criticism of Dube for splitting with Davison, even though it’s clear that it was the right decision. I want them to go out there and skate well. I want the third slot, though I don’t consider it essential. I’m just hoping for the best.
What next? Continued growth. Jessica should take acting classes.

Tenth: Sui/Han
Why? Here’s the thing. They do a lot of hard things. They do them with pizzazz and flair. They have and insouciant command of performing. But they do very little of actual quality. They’re exciting and invigorating, but despite that, it’s not what I enjoy.
What next? Refine refine refine refine refine. Also, no junior competitions.