We don't have a final score from this event but at least we have the SP results to talk about...
Gracie Gold (USA): 73.32 (1st): It took the better part of 3 years to happen but Gracie has won me over. I've always admired her athleticism and her ability to make everything look so effortless; however, my enjoyment of her was always stunted by her inability to combine her amazing jumps with a lively performance. Well, she finally managed to do that here. Gracie's jumps were solid (+1.40 on the 3Lz-3T and even the 3F (which still looked lipped to me) earned +GOE) and the spins were great too. The thing that grabbed me the most was the fire, attitude and confidence she brought to the rest of the program, especially after her final jump. She totally blew me (and the judges) away. She gave face and stared the judges down...flirted with them even! Where the hell has this Gracie been? I like her! Gracie earned the highest SP total of the season and jumped out to a 7+ point lead.
Gracie doesn't usually hold up well under pressure but, even if she had a mini meltdown, I feel like she had gold locked. Elizaveta was the main person I expected to come back strongly in the FS but she was too far behind. My best guess is Gracie would have come out on top here.
Julia Lipnitskaya (RUS): 65.63 (2nd): It was great to finally see Julia looking like she actually wanted to be skating. I'm still not the biggest fan of this Elvis medley SP but she gave a much better overall performance here than she has so far this year. Kudos for whoever got rid of the rainbows on acid dress. The new one is sparkly and understated which works really well with the program much better than the in-your-face color overload dress. The jumps were better here: the 3T-3T was very nice (+1.30) and though the 3F was still rather iffy and the landing was wonky, she stayed upright and landed it on one foot. During the step sequence Julia let herself go a little bit. She gave more energy and even smiled a little...it was nice to see. She scored a season's best and was about 7 points behind going into the FS.
Julia has struggled mightily in the FS for the past two seasons, so I honestly don't know what she'd have done in the FS. We've seen her have rough skates and we've seen her have complete meltdowns. I'd like to think she's trending upwards after her stronger SP but there's really no way to tell.
Roberta Rodeghiero (ITA): 58.81 (3rd): Roberta was a surprise top 3 finish after the SP. She did what too many others were unable to do during this segment of the competition: skate cleanly. Roberta opened her "Pretty Woman" SP with a nice 3T-3T (+1.20) and followed it up with a solid 3F. I don't find there to be anything unusually remarkable about Roberta's skating but she was very pleasant to watch and I appreciate that she brought her A-game to this competition on a night where most people did not.
Given Roberta's lack of experience, I do think there's a good chance she'd have slipped some in the standings in the FS. However, if the ISU rules to let the SP standings count for this competition, Roberta may end up with a bronze medal for this event.
As for the rest...
Kanako Murakami (JPN; 58.30, 4th): Kanako had her usual troubles here: an under-rotation on her combo (3T-3T(<)) and, once again, that damn 2A was singled which resulted in zero points. Even though her jumps don't seem to be working as well as they did in the past, I really like this SP for her. My guess is she'd have held up enough to get another top 5 finish here. At this point, I think that's all we can really ask for.
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva (RUS; 56.21, 5th): WTF is up with that dress Liza T? It's a piss-poor choice of costuming; the flesh tone fabric makes it look like her left ta-ta is hanging out. Whoever told her that was a good choice needs to be kicked in the throat. In addition to the bad outfit, Liza is just suffering through some bad skating overall. She went for the 3A, under-rotated it and fell. She then flubbed her 3Lz again and had a turnout on the landing of her 3T-3T again. As I've said before, when Liza T's jumps go south there is not much else for her to fall back on. Her spins are just okay, the choreography is kinda crappy...the success of her skating hinges on her landing her jumps and she's having some trouble with that this season, particularly in the SP.
I do feel as though Liza would have done enough in the FS to pull herself up to the podium but, similar to Skate Canada, the deficit was too much. These SP holes she keeps digging herself into are too big to get out of (13 points down to Ashley at SC, 17 points down to Gracie here). I think she'd have ended up with silver or possibly bronze if Julia had a strong skate...but, barring some meltdown of epic proportions from Gracie, gold was out of reach for Liza T. If these standings hold for the overall placements, Liza just missed the Final...
I suppose we'll figure out in the coming days how the ISU plans to handle the outcome of this event. Personally, I feel as though the SP standings should count as the overall placements. It does suck for those who had a rough time in the SP...but they had the same opportunity everyone else had. The only results we have are those from the SP. Those should stand.
This week is Rostelecom Cup (aka Cup of Russia) which takes place in Moscow, Russia from November 20-22. This event marks the return to the Grand Prix for Olympic champion Adelina Sotnikova (RUS). However, her homecoming is likely to be spoiled by her Russian teammates Evgenia Medvedeva and Elena Radionova. We'll also see Rika Hongo (JPN), Polina Edmunds (USA), Yuka Nagai (JPN), Alaine Chartrand (CAN), Joshi Helgesson (SWE), Riona Kato (JPN), Roberta Rodeghiero (ITA), Hannah Miller (USA) and Dasa Grm (SLO).
Poll time: Who will win gold at Rostelecom Cup? Make sure to vote!
My prayers are with Paris and with all of those who lost their lives in these attacks.