First off, I like Laura. Love the Finns in general. They bring such a much-needed presence of sophistication that so few bring. My greatest fear is that skating is all Canadians, Americans, Russians, Chinese and Japanese. Need more power countries!
Ease up, Andora. I wasn't saying Watt and Lepisto were comparable at the relative stages in their careers, but did have some peculiar similarities that would have possibly made them comparable had Watt evolved to her fullest potential. But, I'm sure I'll even be seeing the scarf in the summer...
I went back and watched more of her performances, and have decided that her SS are better than I first thought. My issue with her SS is her stroke efficiency; lots of frenetic short strokes used to attain the pretty good speed she does have. Also her phrasing is not that great. While she does deploy most edges, which is great, she does not use deep curves much if at all but rather shallow quick edges which are difficult in their own right but a little too one dimensional.
This frenetic activity with her feet translates into her choreo. She speeds through it all and doesn't let her movements breathe. I'd drop her in both PE and IN, especially since her rushing of her moves disconnects her from the music. Also I can do without the subtle arm flapping that happens as she tries to power with her feet. Makes me feel like she's trying to take flight. Needs a quieter upper body. Nice speed, but looks really junior to me from the neck down.
The last little habit she has is to tilt her head down and to the side over one shoulder or the other, particularly when she lands jumps. Really distracting. I want to grab her head and center it over her body. I can't pin that one on any PCS score so I guess I'll have to just get over it.
Net net, none of these things are reasons to drop her too far in the standings but to me are enough to say she shouldn't be winning world medals with 3 triples.
I think Jessica is also good for the other competitors. IMHO, what Canadian women often lack is polish. The top couple might have it (Joannie, Cynthia, Amelie, Myriam) but after that you see a lot of ladies who have not made the last step to looking like an international competitor. I'm not talking about actual looks (although I shudder at some of the hair, make up, and costumes - or lack thereof) but performance polish that separates out the good from the elite. Jessica has loads of polish. Having her compete at Challenge really shows the lack of polish is some of the others. If they can learn from that it can only help them down the line.
"You can get so much of good thing, you can linger too long in your dreams, say good-bye to the oldies but goodies, 'cause the good ole days weren't always good, and tomorrow isn't as bad as it seems" Billy Joel (as quoted by BigBadBob)
I wasn't surprised by her placement. Watching her in the arena, she's immediately identifiable as the elite-level skater in this field.