Finland: other disciplines?

Surprise! This time I’m actually writing about something other than pairs! Here are my hot takes on the ladies, men, and dance at the Grand Prix of Helsinki.


Hanul Kim’s SP kidnapped my heart the minute the music started. It’s gutsy to skate to “River Flows in You” because Medvedeva won a world title with it, but she made it BEAUTIFUL! Usually I’m not a fan of girls with tiny jumps, but I enjoyed her performances. She reminds me a lot of Satoko Miyahara.

I don’t understand why Daria Panenkova gets such low scores. Yes, it’s her puberty year and her jumps are a little shaky, but 26 for PCS in the SP is mind-boggling! The FS had its problems, but she still deserves better scores than that! (Lowest PCS in the entire event, really?). Just because she left Tutberidze doesn’t mean she should get thrown to the bottom of the pile. You go rant about the medalists; for me, it’s all about Daria Panenkova.

Emmi Peltonen looked like a Hollywood actress on the red carpet, and her SP was breathtaking for me. Beautiful, beautiful programs; a shame about the jumps in the FS, because she has such a lovely quality to her skating.

I also love Angela Wang’s SP! I never imagined anyone skating to “Praying” by Kesha, but IT’S GOOD. And her dress is very Wenjing Sui chic. (I might just have to forgive her for skating to “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” last year!). The FS was messy but I think (hope) it’ll look much better at NHK. What I love about this girl is her versatility – she can skate powerful, dramatic stuff like Kesha, then turn around and do a tender program to “Send in the Clowns”. Lots of potential.

Usually I roll my eyes at Phantom of the Opera programs. But I applaud Viveca Lindfors for choosing a less-used piece and overall avoiding that “another Phantom program” look. And she wins my award for best SP dress. I have a soft spot for anyone who skates to Les Mis – although I don’t think a penniless French prostitute in the 1800s would be wearing a stunning red dress and gloves! I really could get behind this girl…except I’m still not quite over how she threw shade at Emmi Peltonen around Euros last year.

I haven’t always been a Rika Hongo fan, but my heart goes out to her. The tech panel butchered her jumps with underrotations. As for the SP…great idea, cute costume, but the music is a little too weird for me. In the FS I was shocked – who is this beautiful goddess in such an amazing teal dress and perfect makeup? Sadly, aforementioned goddess still struggled with jumps, but overall, I’m proud of her for continuing, and maybe she can pull off a Tuktamysheva-style comeback.

Yuna Shiraiwa is adorable, but I don’t quite get the SP. The FS is much, much better. I know everyone on Twitter was moaning and groaning because she was underscored, but I still am not 100% loving her skating this year, I don’t know why. Maybe the programs just don’t connect with me.

Loena, Loena, my queen! “A Celine program is an automatic stan”, my best friend says. And she’s right. 5th place here is a huge step up for her – I really think this girl is going places! My only complaint: if you’re going to skate to a power ballad like “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now”, why wear a pink ballerina dress? Beautiful dress, beautiful program, beautiful lady, but all together it doesn’t quite click for me. I want to see her in a dark plum, black, or even teal costume. But I ain’t complaining.

I’ve never been a crazy Alina stan, but I screamed when she popped her combo. I’ve heard so many people complaining about the music cuts and I have to say, it’s not as bad as I thought. There’s just a few too many pieces for a 2:50 program, as if Alina couldn’t decide which song to skate to and asked the music man (Daniil Gleikhengauz is the man to blame) to put all the pieces into one program. When I heard her FS was going to be Carmen, I got excited because she has such a flirty superstar factor in her galas. But alas, it’s all gone the minute she starts her competitive program. She has the star power for it; whyyyyyyy didn’t they give her some more interesting choreography? (Although I admit, I’m very picky about my Carmens).

Seeing Kaori Sakamoto cry after the SP was almost enough to make me stop watching this cursed event. But I was brave and decided to watch the FS, and I am so glad I did. She blew the roof off the building! I’m just so happy for her and I’m crossing my fingers she can still get into the Grand Prix Final.

I know I’m going to get hate for this, but I’ll say it anyways: Stanislava Konstantinova isn’t bad. Maybe it’s because she’s never been coached by Eteri, but I like how she doesn’t look like “just another baby Russian”. Her FS dress is so stunning I want to watch the program again just so I can look at it. As for the scores…Yes, she was overscored. Yes, those underrotations should’ve been called. Yes, that’s the judges’ job to catch those things and deduct points. But THAT IS NOT HER FAULT! She has caught that Sotnikova Syndrome – when a skater is crucified for what the judges do. What’s funny-not-funny about it is that people would be totally fine with this if she was Japanese or American or anything other than Russian. Even your faves like Yuzuru Hanyu or Savchenko/Massot have gotten away with an iffy jump or two in their careers. We don’t need to get rid of Stanislava Konstantinova. We need to get rid of technical panels who don’t call jumps correctly.


Yuzuru’s programs looked great. He’s not watering down the content whatsoever, and that attempted 4T+3A sequence is crazy. I’m glad he’s not going for the quad axel yet – it’s not worth the risk, and I prefer a Yuzuru on the ice instead of a Yuzuru lying in a hospital bed because he got too ambitious with his quads. There’s one little thing that kind of bothers me about his packaging though. (I’m already bracing myself for an army of Hanyu fans breaking into my house and burning me at the stake for this). Why do all his costumes look the same? Yes, they’re very beautiful, but it feels like he’s been skating the same program for years. I’m pretty sure I’m the only one complaining, but it’s just my honest confession.

All together now: MICHAL BREZINA IS A GRAND PRIX FINALIST. I love this new edgy packaging – can’t go wrong with Queen and AC/DC! Who would’ve thought that this guy who consistently breaks our hearts with messy skates would actually be the first man into the Grand Prix Final this year? Unreal.

Junhwan Cha is such a cutie. I’m going to be bold here: he has everything it takes to be a World medalist VERY soon. Once I was able to clear away my associations with Bradie Tennell last season, I started enjoying his Cinderella SP. But the costume definitely needs more sparkles! He is playing a prince; he deserves more than just a black shirt! His Romeo and Juliet FS got so many mixed reviews and I can honestly say: I’m in between. It’s not bad, it’s not amazing. It has some nice moments and it’ll do the trick for his first season as a senior.

I’m partial to Mikhail Kolyada’s SP because it’s Duhamel/Radford’s 2014-15 music, and he skates it SO WELL. Unfortunately, the god of jumps was not watching over him at this event. Then, because he wants to make me love him even more, HE’S DOING CARMEN. I never thought I could love a male Carmen program (I’m picky about my Carmens, remember?), but this one passes the test for me. If I could just get a little more fierceness out of him, I think this could be one of my favorite men’s programs this year.

Boyang Jin’s SP is AMAZING! I cannot believe this is the same guy who had no skating skills a few years ago. He truly comes alive out there on the ice now. The FS was sloppy today so I can’t really tell if I like the program or not, but I think he’ll clean it up soon.

I know I’m supposed to root for Andrei Lazukin because he’s Liza Tuktamysheva’s boyfriend and The Empress will have me beheaded if she ever finds this blog post – which she probably will. He’s a good skater but his programs didn’t work for me at all.

Alexei Krasnozhon’s SP is beautiful! I know there was a big fuss because it was originally written as a girl-power song and he chose a dance cover by a male singer that didn’t have the same meaning, but the skating itself was great! I’m all for strong women running the world, but not every program has to be a feminist movement. That said, he had an excellent debut here. He didn’t attempt any quads, but after that injury at Junior Worlds, I can completely understand that. Take it slow. I would really like him to improve his basic skating skills though.

When I die, I want you to engrave “I loved Alexei Bychenko’s SP step sequence” on my tombstone, okay?


Confession: I know nothing about ice dance and probably never will, so this part will be unfortunately short.

Guignard/Fabbri’s tango was my favorite rhythm dance (I still can’t believe it’s not called the Short Dance anymore. What’s happening to this beautiful sport?). A shame about the fall in the FD. Also, let’s show some support for a green skating dress, they’re so rare!

I like that Stepanova/Bukin are a little offbeat. The sit spin twizzles are amazing. But why on earth would she wear this gray dress for tango? His costume is perfect though. In the FD…hot dang! A huge improvement from that wonky Liebestraum from last year. I’m not in love with this couple yet, but if it comes down to Papadakis/Cizeron, Hubbell/Donohue, and Stepanova/Bukin for the world title, you can bet your life I’m gonna wave my Russian flag and scream like TAT.


And that’s it for my review! All opinions are mine and mine only. Until next time, happy skating, and may the odds be ever in your favor.

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