Dai needs only to skate to music he feels and to the best of his ability. If he skates clean and still does not get the color medal that he deserves, it is not because he is doing anything wrong. The performances he skates are his legacy and those are what illustrate his greatness. Daisuke's Blues for Klook is a masterpiece.
He needs to skate for Canada and change his name to Patrick Chan. Otherwise he has no chance. Not because he woudn't have the skills, but because the judges are only humans and have their favourites. And that's sad!
"Once you've skated together long enough, and you're really good friends, you can close your eyes, put your hand out and she's right there." Joe Dolkiewicz, 2011 US Novice Pairs Bronze Medalist
As I mentioned in the Worlds FS thread, Hanyu picked up more GOE points than Takahashi in the long program (13 to 8). Unfortunately, his 3 loop usually gets 0 to negative GOE (as it did in Nice), and the judges have been calling his 3 flip a lip on occasion as well.
I would like to think that if he cleans up some of his elements (better, longer landing edges as well), he will get higher component scores (one can only hope).
Interestingly Blues for Klook has been used in programs for close to 20 years, so while not overused, it's still been used in skating (and gymnastics) programs to an extent.
He performed it brilliantly but it was not the program I fell in love with.
I guess the question is whether Takahashi's goal is to outpoint Chan (and Hanyu) at all costs, or go down trying, or to skate the best possible programs that he is capable of skating and to take whatever medals that might earn him.
With the first approach, I think losing big is more likely than winning big, which is why I'd rather see the latter.
I feel it comes down to jumps. Period.
Chans jumps tend to carry over the ice farther while Takahashi's jumps have an "straight up and down" technique.
Chan has a bit more speed into, but more importantly OUT OF his jumps: better running edge.
Also think that Chan has shown a fairly consistent quad for 2 years now and Takahashi seems to be still working his consistency back. That plays in the judges minds...
I am not a Chan fan btw- I do hope and believe that Takahashi will defeat him soon...
Chan has such amazing glide over the ice that it's like catnip to judges. That's extremely hard to compete with, and it's also hard to acquire. With that in mind, I think the only way Takahashi can successfully compete with Chan is to continue to play to his own strengths (charisma, characterization and exciting choreography) while skating clean programs that include a clean quad in the short and a clean quad and quad-triple in the long. Only a clean Takahashi with the same technical content as Chan can beat Chan, who typically makes a mistake or two. The fact that Takahashi is finally landing quads again this year is very encouraging.
I also agree that Takahashi needs to work on holding his jump landings in his programs, especially in the second half when he's a little tired. It won't be easy, but it will be a lot easier than acquiring Patrick's incredible glide.