Nobex Partners with Smooth Jazz and More for Radio App

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Ever since the demise of Live365, I’ve been hoping to develop an app similar to what our former broadcast partner put together for its broadcasters. Well, I have some exciting news!

After putting the launch off for six months, I’m proud to announce that the Smooth Jazz and More Radio App is live!

This is a partnership with Nobex, the industry’s leading radio app developer. What I’m really excited about is the return of the thumbs up/thumbs down option for listeners. This will allow me to track the music they like and hate.

Right now, the app is only available for iPhone users. However, we are in the process of making the app available for Android and Blackberry users. We hope to have if published in the next few weeks. I encourage my former broadcasters to check out the app and give me some feedback.

Download the app here!

 

Posted in app, Apple IPhone, Apple iTunes Store, Internet Radio, Internet Radio Station, Radio, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Live365 Returns to Broadcasting, Our Status of Returning is Undecided

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Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, our pioneering internet broadcast provider has returned.  Live365 made its return to internet broadcasting this week, nearly a year after the company was forced to shut down due to rising royalty costs for recorded music.  The company was purchased in bankruptcy court by a young entrepreneur with previous experience running web streaming.

The website provided visitors a message proclaiming, “We’re Back”.  There are no stations currently being broadcast as of this post, however potential broadcasters are able to start their own internet radio stations.

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Live365’s website proclaims they are back in business. 

The new cost structure isn’t cheap. The three-tier package has starting broadcasters paying $59 dollars a month for 25GB storage.  Listeners and bandwidths are unlimited. However, the maximum total listening hours (TLH) are 1500 in the US. Other packages are $99 and $199 per month. The good news is that music licensing is covered and there is the potential for monetizing the station’s audiences.

Smooth Jazz and More began broadcasting with Live365 in 2000.  We enjoyed many years of service with the company.  However the prices being proposed doesn’t make it an option to return at the current time.  That may change pending the outcome of any legal issues with Radionomy.

 

 

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Smooth’s Podium Picks – Grand Prix Final 2016

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The final Grand Prix event of the season takes place in the beautiful city of Marseilles, France. The top 6 skaters in each division will skate for bragging rights going into national competitions. Up to now, the top skaters haven’t met up in competition until now, making this weekend all the more exciting.

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Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu has his work cut out if he is to defend his Grand Prix Championship. (Photo – Japan Sports)

Men – Reigning World Champion Javier Fernandez of Spain and three-time World Champion Canadian Patrick Chan lead the charge, finishing 1st in each of their respective competitions. lead the Grand Prix standings with two victories on the circuit. Fernandez achieved a seasons best of 292.98 points at Rostelecom Cup while Chan has 279.72 points from Cup of China. Last year’s champ, Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan has struggled this GP season, but was able to finish with a strong showing at NHK Trophy. It will be a tough go for him, if he is to defend his crown. Japan’s Shoma Uno is back to the Final after winning Skate America and a 2nd place finish at Rostelecom Cup. Americans Nathan Chen and Adam Rippon each qualified for their first Final (senior level) and are looking to improve moving into nationals next month.

Smooth’s Pick

1. Javier Fernandez (ESP)
2. Patrick Chan (CAN)
3. Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN)

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Can Russia’s Anna Pogorilaya break through and beat teammate, Evgenia Medvedeva? (Photo – Marisha-amber)

Ladies – Russian ladies have dominated the Grand Prix circuit and are in a good position to sweep the podium this weekend. They have four skaters representing the country this weekend. Reigning World and ISU Grand Prix Final Champion Evgenia Medvedeva tops the Ladies standings and comes in with a seasons best of 221.54 points from Trophee de France to Marseille. She’s still undefeated since last year’s Russian Nationals. Anna Pogorilaya returns to the Final after missing out last season. She dominated the competitions, winning Rostelecom Cup and NHK Trophy. Elena Radionova will compete in her fourth consecutive Final, after winning Cup of China and a 2nd place finish at Rostelecom Cup. World Junior silver medalist Maria Sotskova had a successful senior GP debut, qualifying for the Final with 2nd and 3rd place showings this season. The two skaters looking to break the Russian log jam are very worthy of winning. Kaetlyn Osmond became the first Canadian to make the GP Final since Joannie Rochette. Two 2nd place finishes gives her a fighting chance. Japan’s Satoko Miyahara qualified among a tough field and finished 2nd in last year’s Grand Prix Final.

Smooth’s Pick

1. Evgenia Medvedeva (RUS)
2. Anna Pogorilaya (RUS)
3. Elena Radionova (RUS)

Figure Skating: Skate Canada International

Despite skating in only two competitions, China’s Xiaoyu Yu and Hao Zhang made it to the Grand Prix Final.

Pairs – Two-time reigning World Champions Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford of Canada had a rough go of it this Grand Prix season. But they hung tough and were able to lead in Pairs. Their main competition are from two Chinese teams.
Xiaoyu Yu and Hao Zhang had a successful GP season, despite teaming up in two competitions together. Cheng Peng and Yang Jin return to the Final after switching partners in between them. They have two 2nd place finishes this season. Canadians Julianne Seguin and Charlie Bilodeau return to the GP Final after winning Skate America. Russia’s Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov reached their first Grand Prix Final with 2nd and 3rd place finishes. One team not performing this weekend are Germany’s Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Massot, who withdrew due to injury. They’ll be replaced by Russia’s Natalia Zabiiako and Alexander Enbert, who had a 2nd place finish in Moscow and a 4th place finish at Trophee de France in Paris.

Smooth’s Pick

1. Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford (CAN)
2. Xiaoyu Yu and Hao Zhang (CHN)
3. Cheng Peng and Yang Jin (CHN)

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Americans Madison Chock and Evan Bates look to get back to the podium, despite long odds.

Ice Dance –

The most anticipated Ice Dance event since the 2014 Olympics features the return of Canadians Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir. After a two year break, they picked up right where they started, winning Skate Canada and NHK Trophy. Two-time World Champions Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France have their work cut out for them. They missed last year’s final due to injury, but are back, winning Trophee de France and finishing 2nd to Virtue and Moir in Sapporo. Americans Maia and Alex Shibutani continue their upward trajectory in Ice Dance, winning Skate America and Cup of China. Russia’s Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev have proven to be a tough out for a podium slot and will contend after a win this GP season (Rostelecom Cup). Americans have an outside chance of a podium sweep, but highly unlikely. Madison Chock and Evan Bates have fallen off slightly, but still have come in 2nd in four consecutive Grand Prix competions. Madison Hubell and Zachary Donohue have come on strong this season, also finishing 2nd in two GP events. They finished 6th in last year Final.

Smooth’s Pick

1. Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir (CAN)
2. Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron (FRA)
3. Maia and Alex Shibutani (USA)

And here are our picks for the Junior Grand Prix Gold Medalists this weekend.

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Men – Alexander Samarin (RUS)

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Ladies – Polina Tsurskaya (RUS)

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Pairs – Anastasia Mishina and Vladislav Mirozoev (RUS)

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Ice Dance – Lorraine McNamara and Quinn Carpenter (USA)

Posted in Figure Skating, Figures skating, Grand Prix, Grand Prix Final, Ice Skating, International Skating Union, Skating, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Smooth’s Podium Picks – NHK Trophy 2016

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This weekend marks the 6th and final competition of the Grand Prix season. The stage is set for Tokyo, where over 40 skaters will participate in the remaining slots for the Grand Prix Final.

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Will Israel’s Alexei Bychenko make history with his country’s first ever Grand Prix final berth?

Men

Analysis – Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu leads the field in his home competition. He came up short against Canada’s Patrick Chan at Skate Canada last month. He’ll look to get a rematch with a win this weekend in Tokyo. His main competition will come from American Jason Brown, who finished 2nd at Skate America and Israel’s Alexei Bychenko, who is gunning to give the country its first ever Grand Prix Final entry. He finished 3rd at Rostelecom Cup earlier this week. Former Junior GP Final winner Nathan Chen is also in the mix with a 4th finish at Trophee de France in Paris two weeks ago.

Skaters to Watch – Japan has two other entries this week. Keiji Tanaka has a 7th place finish at Rostelecom Cup in Moscow. Ryuju Hino is making his senior GP debut this weekend. He finished 8th at Japan Nationals this year. Other contenders are Canadians Nam Nguyen (6th at Skate America) and Elladj Balde (6th at Rostelecom Cup).

Smooth’s Pick
1. Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN)
2. Alexi Bychenko (ISR)
3. Jason Brown (USA)

Satoko Miyahara of Japan performs during the ladies free skating program at the Skate America figure skating competition in Milwaukee

Japan’s Satoko Miyahara looks to breakup a possible Russian 1-2 finish.

Ladies

Analysis – Russian ladies could go 1-2 in event, guaranteeing at least 3 spots in the Grand Prix final. Anna Pogorilaya is the odd on favorite to make the top of the podium. She has a 1st place finish at Rostelecom Cup. Maria Sotsokova made the most of her senior debut, placing 2nd at Trophee de France. Japan has a chance to stop that from happening with two elite skaters. Satoko Miyahara finished 3rd in a tough field at Skate Canada. Wakaba Higuchi also had a strong senior debut at Trophee de France, finishing 3rd.

Skaters to Watch – The rest of the field is capable of making the podium this weekend. Kazakhstan’s Elizabet Tursynbaeva has a 5th place finish at Rostelecom Cup. Canadian Alaine Chartrand has plenty of international experience (5th at Skate Canada) and can make a run for the top three spots. Americans have two shots of making the podium this weekend. Mirai Nagasu has placed at NHK Trophy previously, finishing 3rd. She has a 9th place finish at Skate Canada last month. Karen Chen finished 7th at Cup of China last weekend.

Smooth’s Pick
1. Satoko Miyahara (JPN)
2. Anna Pogorilaya (RUS)
3. Wakaba Higuchi (JPN)

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Canadians Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford look to clinch a berth into nthe Grand Prix Final.

Pairs

Analysis – Only 7 teams will participate this weekend. Canadians Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Manaro were a last minute withdrawal due to injury. Teammates Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford will participate and look to punch their ticket to Marseilles next month. They won Skate Canada last month. The other two spots will be up for grabs. China’s Cheng Peng and Yang Jin finished 2nd at Cup of China last weekend in only their 2nd senior GP event. Teammates Xuehan and Lei Wang finished in 4th in the same event. Austria’s Miriam Ziegler and Severin Kiefer have the close edge. They finished 6th at Trophee du France.

Skaters to Watch – The other three teams are looking for valuable international experience for future competitions. Germany’s Mari Vartmann and Ruben Blommaert finished 7th at Cup of China last weekend. Americans Tarah Kayne and Danny O’Shea have a 6th place finish at Skate America. Japan’s Sumire Suto and Francis Boudreau Audet will be making their senior GP debuts this weekend.

Smooth’s Pick
1. Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford (CAN)
2. Cheng Peng and Yang Jin (CHN)
3. Xuehan and Lei Wang (CHN)

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France’s Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron look to defend against a returning champion.

Ice Dance

Analysis – The highlight of this weekend’s competition will be the battle of the previous world champions with the current world champions. France’s Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron proved to the world why they’re the top team in the world with Gold at Trophee du France. Canadians Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir never missed a step after a one year layoff to win Skate Canada. Italy’s former world champions Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte have proven to be worthy of top podium contention, finishing 4th at Skate Canada. Russia’s Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov are on their heels with a 4th place finish at last week’s Cup of China.

Skaters to Watch – Japan’s Kana Muramoto and Chris Reed is one of two teams skating this weekend. The current Japan national champions have an 8th place finish at Skate America. The other, Emi Hira and Marien De La Asuncion are making their season debut this weekend. Their best finish was 8th twice at NHK Trophy in 2014 and 2015. Americans have Anastasia Cannuscio and Colin McManus (7th at Cup of China) & Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker (6th at Skate Canada) looking to contend this weekend.

Smooth’s Pick
1. Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron (FRA)
2. Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir (FRA)
3. Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte (ITA)

Posted in Figure Skating, Figures skating, Ice Skating, International Skating Union, Skating, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Smooth’s Podium Picks – Cup of China 2016

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The Grand Prix circut heads east with a weekend of skating in Bejing, China. Five of six competitions will be in the books by the end of this weekend and we’ll have a clearer picture of who will be in the Grand Prix Final next month.

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Can China’s Boyang Jin recover from a tough skate at the beginning of the season?

Men

Analysis: Canadian Patrick Chan continues to shine this season, having won at Skate Canada and now on the verge of another Grand Prix Final berth. A win this weekend will clinch it. He faces a couple of strong hometown favorites. China’s Boyang Jin is having a disappointing GP season thus far, having placed 5th at Skate America. A win might move him up the standings. Teammate Han Yan won this competition in 2013, but has struggled to regain his stature (10th at Skate Canada). Russia’s Maxim Kotvun won Cup of China in 2014 and is a threat to medal this weekend.

Skaters to Watch: There are a few skaters that missed the podium in their previous competitions and could squeeze in this weekend. American Max Aaron placed 5th at Rostelecom Cup two weeks ago. Michal Brezina of the Czech Republic had a 4th place finish at Skate Canada. Russia’s Sergei Voronov also finished 4th at Skate America in October. China’s Runqi Liu makes his debut in senior competition.

Smooth’s Pick
1. Patrick Chan (CAN)
2. Boyang Jin (CHN)
3. Maxim Kotvun (RUS)

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China’s Zijun Li looks to make the podium this weekend.

Ladies

Analysis: Eight skaters have a chance to top the podium this week in a highly competitive division. At the top of the list is American Ashley Wagner, who surprised everyone and won Skate America in October. She’ll have two Russian skaters to fend off for the top spot. Elena Radionova finished 2nd Rostelecom Cup two weeks ago. Teammate Liza Tuktamysheva just missed the podium at Skate Canada, but is a real threat to medal this weekend. China’s Zijun Li is the top local skater that could medal this weekend. She finished in 4th place at

Skaters to Watch: American Courtney Hicks has picked up some valuable international experience, and it has paid off with a 3rd place finish at Rostelecom Cup two weeks ago. She has an outside chance at the GP Final with a win this weekend. Canadian Kaetlyn Osmond faces her biggest challenge of the season, as she also guns for a place in the GP Final with her 2nd place finish at Skate Canada. Japan’s Mai Mihara surprised the judges in her first senior GP event at Skate America, finishing 3rd. Teammate Rika Hongo is also a contender, but had a tough GP debut with a 6th place finish at Skate Canada.

Smooth’s Pick
1. Ashley Wagner (USA)
2. Elena Radionova (RUS)
3. Mai Mihara (JPN)

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Russia’s Yuko Kavaguti and Alexander Smirnov hope to break up a Chinese sweep at the podium.

Pairs

Analysis: Only eight pairs teams compete this weekend, three from China. At the top of the list is Xiaoyu Yu and Hao Zhang, who made their debut as a team and took 2nd at Skate Canada. A win could put them in the Grand Prix Final. Xuehan and Lei Wang have two 4th place finishes at Cup of China and could medal this weekend. The other team, Cheng Peng and Yang Jin are making their senior debuts this weekend. Of the teams that could break a possible sweep are Russia’s Yuko Kavaguti and Alexander Smirnov, who have won this competition in 2015. Their season got off to a rough start with a 5th place finish at Skate Canada.

Skaters to Watch: The other four teams are looking to improve their world rankings and possibly squeeze into a podium slot. Canada’s Lubov Iliushechkina and Dylan Moscovitch started their season with a strong performance at Skate Canada, finishing 3rd. Italy’s Nicole Della Monica and Matteo Guarise finished 6th at Skate Canada. Mari Vartmann and Ruben Blommaert finished 6th in China last year and are making their GP season debut this weekend. Jessica Pfund and Joshua Santillan have only one GP competition under their belt, an 8th place finish at last year’s Skate America.

Smooth’s Pick
1. Xiaoyu Yu and Hao Zhang (CHN)
2. Yuko Kavaguti and Alexander Smirnov (RUS)
3. Xuehan and Lei Wang (CHN)

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Canadians Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje looks to get back their winnings ways this weekend in Bejing.

Ice Dance

Analysis: This could be a real treat, with two of the three top teams competing this weekend. Maia and Alex Shibutani are still flying high after continuing their winning ways, placing 1st at Skate America. A win this weekend will punch their ticket to the GP Final. Canadians Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje stand in their way of perfection. They lost for the first time in Grand Prix competition since 2013 with a 3rd place finish at Skate Canada. Russia’s Alexandra Stepanova and Ivan Bukin are currently ranked 10th by the ISU, but a 5th place finish at Skate Canada threatens to put them out of the top 10. Teammates Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov make their season debuts this weekend and are a strong contender to medal. They have 2nd and 3rd place finishes at last year’s Grand Prix competitions. (Skate America and Rostelecom Cup).

Skaters to Watch: Two teams could make a move up the ISU standings this weekend. Americans Anastasia Cannuscio and Colin McManus are prepping for a run at US Nationals and a good performance this weekend could benefit them with the judges in their season debut. Canada’s Alexandra Paul and Mitchell Islam could fall victims to the numbers game at Nationals, but a strong showing will also help them at Canadian Nationals. They have an 8th place finish at Skate Canada last month. China has three teams participating, two of which, lacking international experience. Their best chance to medal is with Shiyue Wand and Xinyu Liu, but they have a 9th place finish at Skate Canada this season and finished 6th twice in this event.

Smooth’s Pick
1. Maia and Alex Shibutani (USA)
2. Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje (CAN)
3. Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov (RUS)

Posted in bejing, China, Figure Skating, Figures skating, Ice Skating, International Skating Union, Skating, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Smooth’s Podium Picks – Trophée de France 2016

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Photo by Michael James

The Grand Prix series continues with the Trophée de France. Last season, the competition held in Bordeaux was cancelled midway due to a terrorist attack that killed over 200 people in Paris. The competition was moved to the capital city this year. A number of withdrawals were made, most notably was Penny Coomes and Nicholas Buckland of Great Britain in September due to injury.

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American Adam Rippon looks to make the podium against some big time skaters

Men

Analysis: World Champion Javier Fernandez of Spain looks to get an automatic birth to the GP Final next month. He came back to skate clean in the free program to win at last weekend’s Rostelecom Cup in Moscow. His main competition will be from Denis Ten of Kazakhstan, who makes his GP debut this weekend. Ten had to withdraw from Skate America last month due to injury. American Adam Rippon also figures into the podium discussion. He’s coming off a 3rd place finish at Skate America. The other skater who looks to grab a spot is Japan’s Takahito Mura. He’s coming off a disappointing 8th place finish at Skate Canada.

Skaters to Watch: Uzbekistan’s Misha Ge finished 6th at Skate Canada and is currently ranked 17th in the ISU standings. Nathan Chen of Canada makes his GP senior debut at this event. He was undefeated in Junior GP competitions last season and won Finlandia Trophy in early September. France’s Chafik Besseghier is the lone entrant this weekend for the country and was 8th at Skate America last month. Belgium’s Jorik Hendrickx enters as a last minute replacement.

Smooth’s Pick
1. Javier Fernandez (ESP)
2. Nathan Chen (CAN)
3. Denis Ten (KAZ)

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American Gracie Gold looks to break into the podium field.

Ladies

Analysis: Russia’s Evgenia Medvedeva can also punch her ticket to the GP Final this weekend. She took gold at Skate Canada last month. American Gracie Gold could stop her win streak, having finished 5th in a competitive field. Japan’s Mao Asada also looks to improve on her programs after finishing 6th at Skate America. Russia’s Maria Sotskova may be the skater to watch this weekend. She’s skating in her first senior grand prix event, and finished 5th at Russian Nationals last year.

Skaters to Watch: Japan and Russia has chances to sweep the podium, although it’s an outside chance. Former World Silver medalist Alena Leonova has skated in the Grand Prix Final before, but hasn’t placed in a GP event since 2012. Yuka Nagai finished 11th at Skate America last year and Wakaba Higuchi will skate in her first senior GP competition. France’s Maé-Bérénice Méité is one of two skaters hoping to make the podium this weekend.

Smooth’s Pick
1. Evgenia Medvedeva (RUS)
2. Maria Sotskova (RUS)
3. Gracie Gold (USA)

Vanessa James, Morgan Cipres

Can France’s Vanessa James and Morgan Cipres win it for the hometown crowd?

Pairs

Analysis: Only six teams skating this weekend. At the top of the list are home favorites, Vanessa James and Morgan Ciprès, who are currently 7th in the ISU World standings and finished 4th at Skate America last month. Germany’s Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Massot won last weekend’s Rostelecom Cup and look to make it two in a row and an automatic bid to the final. Two Russian teams look to make the podium. Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov took 3rd at Skate America last month and Natalja Zabijako and Alexander Enbert took second last week in Moscow.

Skaters to Watch: The other two teams will look to improve their standings and have an outside chance to make the podium. Americans Marissa Castelli and Mervin Tran finished 7th at Skate America. Austria’s Miriam Ziegler and Severin Kiefer make their GP season debut this weekend. They finished 8th at last year’s competition in Bordeaux.

Smooth’s Pick
1. Vanessa James and Morgan Ciprès (FRA)
2. Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Massot (GER)
3. Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov (RUS)

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France’s Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron make their season debut this weekend.  

Ice Dance

Analysis: The home crowd will be buzzing, as two-time world champs Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron make their long awaited return to the Grand Prix series. The couple missed the first half of the season, as Papadakis was recovering from an injury. The favorites will have to fight off two North American teams. Canada’s Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier picked up bronze and have been consistent the last two years. Americans Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue are looking for their second straight trip to the final after finishing 2nd at Skate America. Russians Elena Ilinykh and Ruslan Zhiganshin finished 5th at last month’s Skate America.

Skaters to Watch: Israel’s Isabella Tobias and Ilia Tkachenko will attempt to win the first podium spot in Ice Dance. They were 6th in Chicago at Skate America. Two teams from France make their senior debut this weekend. Lorenza Alessandrini & Pierre Souquet and Marie-Jade Lauriault & Romain Le Gac will look to surprise the judges.

Smooth’s Pick
1. Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron (FRA)
2. Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier (CAN)
3. Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue (USA

Posted in Figure Skating, Figures skating, Ice Skating, International Skating Union, Skating, Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Smooth’s Podium Picks – Rostelecom Cup 2016

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The Grand Prix series makes its first appearance in Europe, as the stage is set in Moscow.  70 skaters look to take the top of the podium at this weekend’s competition.  American Paula Edmunds was scheduled to skate this weekend but withdrew due to health concerns early last month.

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Spain’s Javier Fernandez looks for a “three-peat” in Moscow this weekend!

Men’s

Analysis: Two time World Champion Javier Fernandez makes his season debut this weekend. He took last year’s Rostelecom Cup and looks to become a three-time champ in this event. His main competitor will be Japan’s Shoma Uno, who is coming off a win at Skate America 2 weeks ago. This could be a World championship preview next April. American Max Aaron began his season with two non-GP events to clean up his programs for the season, finishing 3rd in each competition. Alexei Bychenko of Israel looks to get a top 5 finish this weekend after winning the non-GP Mentor Nestle Torun Cup. His best Grand Prix finish was 7th at Cup of China in 2014.

Skaters to watch: Russia has three skaters competing in their home tournament. The most accomplished is Mikhail Kolyada, who finished 5th at last year’s Rostelecom Cup. Gordei Gorshkov and Artur Dmitriev will be making their senior debut this weekend. Other contenders are Canada’s Elladj Balde, Latvia’s Deniss Vasiljevs and France’s Chafik Besseghier.

Smooth’s Pick
1. Javier Fernandez (ESP)
2. Shoma Uno (JPN)
3. Max Aaron (USA)

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American Courtney Hicks looks to unlock the Russian logjam at the podium.

Ladies

Analysis: 12 skaters take the ice with a possible Russian sweep in mind. The leader in the field is Elena Radionova, who was the only skater to defeat Evgenia Medvedeva’s last year in this event. She’s finished on the podium in the last six GP events. Anna Pogorilaya finished 2nd in 2014 at this event. She started the season 3rd at Finlandia Trophy. Despite two successful Grand Prix seasons, Julia Lipniskaya has struggled to get out of Russian nationals. She started her season with a win at Cup of Tyrol and a 2nd place finish at Ondrej Nepela Memorial. The one skater that could break the logjam on the podium is Elizabet Tursynbaeva of Kazakhstan. She’s been making headway in international competitions, including a 4th place finish at last year’s Skate America.

Skaters to watch: Courtney Hicks is the lone American lady skating this weekend in Moscow. She’s has plenty of experience in Grand Prix competition (best finish 2nd at NHK Trophy 2015) and will be a contender for the podium. Italy’s Roberta Rodeghiero comes off a tough performance at Skate America two weeks ago and will try to refine her programs this weekend. Other contenders are Japan’s Kanako Murakami, Nicole Rajicova of Slovakia and Angelina Kuchvalska of Latvia.

Smooth’s Pick
1. Anna Pogorilaya (RUS)
2. Elena Radionova (RUS)
3. Elizabet Tursynbaeva (KAZ)

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Canadians Julianne Seguin and Charlie Bilodeau look to make it two in a row in Pairs.

Pairs

Analysis: Canadians Julianne Seguin & Charlie Bilodeau surprised many with their 1st place finish at Skate America two weeks ago. They look to make it two in a row, but they’ll have a harder task this weekend with the entrance of Germany’s Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Massot. They made their debut at nationals (1st place) and have been on a tear ever since, finishing 3rd at Worlds. This will be their first GP event. The third spot is up for grabs. Italy’s Valentina Marchei and Ondrej Hotarek could make a splash, but the team has struggled in GP competition and dealt with injuries. They finished 6th in Moscow last season. Russia’s Kristina Astakhova and Alexei Rogonov has three GP competitions under their belt. They’ve managed two 5th place finishes. This will be their first GP in Moscow.

Skaters to watch: Russia enters three teams in the tournament, one of them are making their senior debut this weekend. Alisa Efimova and Alexander Korovin have only one other international competition, the Hellmut Seibt Memorial in Vienna, where they finished 2nd. The other entry, Natalia Zabiiako and Alexander Enbert finished 5th at last year’s Rostelecom Cup. Other contenders are Camille Ruest and Andrew Wolfe & Goda Butkute and Nikita Ermolaev of Lithuania.

Smooth’s Pick
1. Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Massot (GER)
2. Julianne Seguin & Charlie Bilodeau (CAN)
3. Kristina Astakhova and Alexei Rogonov (RUS)

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Canadians Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje make their season debuts in a tough competition this weekend.

Ice Dance

Analysis: This weekend’s competition should be the showcase event, with three main contenders for the World’s in action. Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje make their Grand Prix debut. They were undefeated all of last year until their slip up at Worlds, where they finished 5th. They’re slight favorites in front of rivals Madison Chock and Evan Bates, who just put in a 2nd place finish at Skate Canada last weekend. The Americans will also have to worry about home favorites, Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev. The Russian team finished 3rd at Skate America and a win this weekend will punch their way to the Grand Prix Final. One team with an outside chance at the podium is Laurence Fournier Beaudry and Nikolaj Sorensen. They’ve climbed up the ladder in the ISU standings (currently 10th) and finished 7th at Skate Canada last weekend.

Skaters to watch: Keep your eye on a couple of Russian teams making their debut this weekend. Sofia Evdokimova and Egor Bazin have been in junior competition since 2011 and they finally make their senior debut this weekend. An Australian and a Britain come together to skate for Russia in Tiffany Zahorski and Jonathan Guerriero. They have two third place finishes in non-GP competitions. Also contending are Alisa Agafonova and Alper Ucar of Turkey & Charlene Guignard and Marco Fabbri of Italy.

Smooth’s Pick
1. Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje (CAN)
2. Madison Chock and Evan Bates (USA)
3. Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev (RUS)

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