The dance event is a very predictable one, especially during the grand prixs when the top three teams are assigned in six different competitions.
NHK is predictable as well with an almost sure gold to Davis/White and a possible challenge between the Shibutanis and Ilinykh/Katsalapov (even if it is pretty sure that the Russians will take the silver).
Davis/White debuted at Skate America, the first of the grand prixs, and still own the season best score.
They do have a brilliant balletic short dance to Giselle and a not so loved free dance to Notre Dame de Paris.
Technically they are always very prepared since the beginning of the season and they showed it this year too (despite some little troubles in their free at Skate America). Anyway, the question is: can they mantein a margin of lead in the second half of the season when Virtue/Moir seem to be slightly stronger?
Meryl and Charlie chose a free dance trying to make up the gap with the Canadians in terms of connection and chemistry between them. They are very excited of their Notre Dame program and said that they finally found that extra thing in their skating (read the interview here) but they actually didn't show it very much in their previous competition. On the other side their free dance has some amazing elements, like the spin and all the lifts, that highlight their musicality and commitment.
Talking about free dance, I felt really uncomfortable with Ilinkh/Katsalapov's. The Russian team has immensly improved from last year and will likely get the silver here but their music choice is not the best of all in my opinion. I really hated how speaking parts and then screams were put above the music. Anyway I have to say that their skating abilities are always beautiful, I just prefered a more classic style for them.
The Shibutanis instead were unfortunately protagonist of a unlucky skating moment. At Cup of Russia, in the middle of their "Memoirs of a Geisha" routine Alex stopped for a leg pain, discussed with coaches and then continued. He was in real pain at the kiss and cry and I wish he recovered in these two weeks. During that hard moment his sister Maia was so sweet and worried about him that that turned into an overcoming thing to me. They placed fourth at Cup of Russia and almost surely won't go to the final but I really love their skating and their new free dance is the best they have ever had.
Gold: Davis/White (USA)
Silver: Ilinykh/Katsalapov (RUS)
Bronze: Shibutani/Shibutani (USA)