10. Mao Asada "Scheherazade" Choreo. by Tatiana Tarasova
This program showed that Mao was back in contention for medals again. It had been a while since I had enjoyed a Mao Asada short program with horrors such as "Agony Tango" being born from the imagination of Tatiana Tarasova, but she finally managed to get something right. What I really love in this program is how the transitions are difficult but are woven seamlessly into the choreography and are light, which in turn adds a lightness to the element it's leading into, the flip-loop combination in particular. Yes it does border on over-doing the whole arabian theme but I think its just about within the realms of following a theme whilst still being tasteful. Over-all this program is light and airy and is very good in terms of playing to the audience.
9. Ashley Wagner "Pollock" soundtrack Choreo. by Phillip Mills
Considering this was indisputably Ashley's breakout year it's only appropriate she has a good short program to go with it. Whilst this isn't as good as her stunning "Once upon a time in America" program, it is very good for many reasons. The main thing I like about this program is that it is full of moments where she hits a beat in the music, there are TONS of those moments and some being very difficult such as near the two near the end of the step sequence. I also enjoy how the elements are placed to emphasis nuances of the music. All in all this program is structured to fit the music as well as it can, and in my books anyway its a success.
8. Ksenia Makarova "Maria and the Violin's String" Choreo. by Ilia Averbukh
This was without a doubt one of the prettiest programs of the season, unfortunately it was also one of Ksenia's worst years. In this program I feel Ksenia showed more emotion then she had ever before, the skating at the start was very light with some pretty good transitions. As it progressed you did get the feeling of a story being told which is rare enough let alone under COP. I felt this was a great vehicle for her to show that she is just as capable of emoting as the top skaters, she listened to the music and you can see that throughout the entire program which is a very difficult thing to do.
7. Elene Gedevanishvili "Tango Jalousie" Choreo. by David Wilson
Elene knocked me on my ass in so many ways with this performance one being the way she skated it; like she was queen bitch and that the gold was hers to lose. Secondly the triple lutz-triple toe which was excellent and the single axel which was less then excellent. Lastly there was how much the choreography gripped me. Firstly the way it flirts with the audience through the whole thing without being to obvious about it is great, I also love how the step sequence could get the levels and at the same time flow and breathe and remain in character with the music. Lastly I liked how it incorporated relatively simple moves to interpret the music perfectly for example the bunny hop into a drag at the end which, with a little bit of arm movement, looked absolutely fantastic and sophisticated.
6. Adelina Sotnikova "Bolero" Choreo. by Tatiana Tarasova
Most people didn't like this program but I thought it had a lot of admirable qualities. One of these being its timing of the elements, the triple flip in particular being very well placed. I also enjoyed how complicated the transitions were and how, somehow, they related to the music perfectly without all that much arm movement, its incredible how she brought her own flavour to this piece. It was a very unique piece of choreography and it seems like she's developing her own style, which is good considering she'll need it to compete with the seniors.
5. Haruka Imai "Song Without Words" Choreo. by Yuka Sato
What an improvement! I mean last year she was nothing special really, this year she's graceful, fluid, she has great skating skills and her spins (flying camel in particular). The music is portrayed very, very well in this music using great phrasing and, my favourite, a gorgeous step sequence. This program ebbs and flows and displays the qualities Haruka gained training with Yuka and Jason perfectly. Now if they had just done something about that long program of hers.
4. Li Zijun "The Carousel" Choreo. by Jiang Hailan
All I have to say is "Wow" I mean how many skaters are there that are this well rounded and how many of them are juniors? This program is fun and energetic, and she pulls it off incredibly well. Firstly the playful choreography is done really well without looking like a Rachael Flatt program. Also the step sequence actually has a good bit of power in it. She is probably the only junior that comes to mind instantly when I try to think of a skater with good choreography, skating skills, interpretation, transitions as well as having all the technical goods. The judges will wake up and give her the marks she deserves eventually.
3. Risa Shoji "Swingin' for the Fences" Choreo. by Kenji Miyamoto
This program is very dynamic just like Risa. The first half of this program reminds me of Daisuke Takahashi's Blues for Klook program; languid yet sharp, and just like Blues for Klook you can't take your eyes off her. I thought that the transition in music after the combination spin is actually quite impressive as unlike in most programs where the choreographer uses the spin itself as the "End move" for that section of the music, Risa actually finishes the spin then strikes the ending pose for that section. The music then transforms into a very lively number with a very sassy, fun choreography that embodies the music very well, and at this point she just attacks everything in the program without seeming flaily. At this point there is a very nice spread eagle where she places her hand on her hips, then shrugs her shoulders in perfect timing with the music into a double axel which adds a very brilliant touch to the program. The elements are placed very well with the music and are spread out from each other and the timing throughout is flawless. I love the transition into the layback spin. The step sequence is just amazing to watch, it's fast, difficult, interprets the music and has so many moments where she has to hit the beats its ridiculous. The icing on the cake is that it all looks absolutely effortless and Risa's speed and attack seal the deal. This program works on so many levels it's not funny and as a program it slaughters like 90% of the programs the senior ladies had this year.
2. Carolina Kostner "Allegretto" Choreo. by Lori Nichol
How on earth did Lori create this and Mirai Nagasu's "Spartacus"program in the same year? I loved this program, in particular it's self assured flirtatious manner which mixed shockingly well with Carolina's quirky personality. I don't think listening to this music by itself could you see it as flirty and honestly, a little nutty. She brings her own very unique interpretation to this music, which a breath of fresh air considering the amount of very direct translations from the music to the program *cough* Rachael and Alena *cough*. My favourite part of this program being the transition coming out of the double axel with the playful backwards toe steps. The step sequence (WHEN SHE DOESN'T FALL!!!) is very different and eccentric, which suits the music perfectly. In all this program is very different to her recent programs, which is exactly what she needed considering the horrors that last few seasons had for her. I love the program, the way she performed it and it's one of my favourite programs she has ever done.
1. Akiko Suzuki "Hungarian Rhapsody" Choreo. by Anjelika Krylova
Akiko is known for having superb quality, but I think everyone agrees that not only is this one of her best, but its also the only one to come close to receiving the credit it deserves. I love the strong, dark opening to the program with that bad-ass expression she has on her face. The flying camel that goes with the change of the tone of the music is superb and is followed by an incredible choreographed step sequence, which she sells like there's no tomorrow. This section is followed by a pretty difficult entrance into the double axel( not enough for a extra G.O.E point but enough for more transition marks) and a combination spin as well placed as the flying camel spin. After this comes one of the best step sequences of this scoring system which has the same tone as the start of the program. The fact that she gets the audience clapping better then any other skater in her category around is a testament to her ability to sell this program. I absolutely love how many times she changes the mood and tone of the program which is always a pleasure to see when it's done as well as this. This was without a doubt my favourite short program of the year, and it's also the one that helped her finally get recognised by the judges as, currently, one of the best performers in ladies figure skating.