Thanks to Sayana_mnk for the vids (I watched them late last night)
Until I saw the videos I thought Donlan/Speroff did bad (like had a few falls), but I was pleasantly surprised to find out not just them but everybody had a pretty good skate, it was just close is all between Donlan/Speroff, Leng/LeDuc, Denney/Frazier, and Davis/Brubaker. Zhang/Bartholomay were way ahead, which surprised me a bit to tell the truth, as I thought their skate was just okay, especially their PCS (he in particular really needs to stretch his body and point his toes, her too; watch Rockne Brubaker, he could teach Bartholomay a thing or two, jmho). BUT, I must say they maximize every single point, whether it be having the most difficult lift (i.e. reverse lasso lift) or doing a throw 3F instead of the easier throw 3S, and landing their sbs jumps of course, including going for two sbs 2As right in a row (though he singled his first one). To me this is the reason why they were so far ahead, including their PCS, which was influenced by their consistency on the jumps.
Davis/Brubaker are a new team, but gaining every competition, so I wouldn't be surprised if they eventually take over Zhang/Bartholomay by the time Nationals gets here. Reason: Rockne is a better all around skater than Bartholomay. Their female partners are neck & neck. Lol to be honest both of these pairs remind me of each other. I get them confused until they start skating. They have the same strengths as well (i.e. jumps), but now with the new & improved ballerino Rockne, I give him & Davis the edge. BUT, they need to up their difficulty to overtake Zhang/Bartholomay, and judging by Rockne's latest interview he knows that, and they're getting there little by little. Coming in here second to Z/B proves that.
Leng/LeDuc, Donlan/Speroff, and Kayne/O'Shea are all running neck & neck, their strength is the PCS, whomever lands the jumps will come out ahead of the others. That's the only difference imho. In order to distinguish themselves from the pack one of them must stand out with more innovative choreography, thee most difficult lifts, the highest split 3twist, things like that.
And then of course there's the spoiler, young upstarts Denney/Frazier, whom is just as good as her sister Caydee. *sigh* Watch out, thy name is consistency when it comes to the jumps...
One last note, it's good to see Donlan/Speroff were 3:3 in their throw jumps (Yeah). I can't remember the last time I saw them do so. And even more surprising was Gretchen not falling on her butt in their sbs jumps (she was really fighting; hand down & extra turn is all). It was Andrew that singled his 2A). Miracles never cease.