It's the six women who won the six Grand Prix events this season. And it's probably the most unpredictable event at this year's Grand Prix Final - not because the women are inconsistent, but because they are all just so good. And frankly, if Elizaveta Tuktamysheva didn't get off to her slow start on the Grand Prix, she would've been the seventh qualifier and we would've had the dreamiest of the dreamiest lineups. That said, these six are going to give you everything they got.
And make no mistake, every single skater in this field can win it this week. So as you go down this list and want to tell me that you think [insert skater name] is going to win, well, I'll just say that I agree with you. Here's my preview and the best of the best this season.
Rocker Predictions: 2015 Grand Prix Final
Full schedule #GPFBarcelona
GOLD Elena Radionova RUS - It was a shaky earlier in the season. Elena Radionova - silver here last year - came to the realization that it was possible for her to fall in competition. And for someone who had been so consistent for so long, it was probably tough to come to terms with. For her, this is the puberty season (literally) - she's growing, her center of balance is changing, and she has to make adjustments, which means inconsistency. But she got it all back together at Rostelecom Cup, and judging by the reactions she had after both programs, she really saw those performances as redemption. Radionova has the fire, and she has two programs that are worthy of her jumps this year. The maturity is there, the jumps are back, and it's time for to win that first Grand Prix Final.
SILVER Evgenia Medvedeva RUS - She's the latest superstar to make her presence known in the ladies skating world. Evgenia Medvedeva moved from junior to senior this season seamlessly - not only because of the jumps, but also because of the way she skates. Her sense of music and artistry at this point of her career is above that of any of the other ladies here at the same point in their respective careers. She's been scoring upper 130s in her free skate, which is enough to beat basically anyone. It will certainly be interesting to see how she stacks up on the components against the best of the best. But I get the feeling that her first Grand Prix Final will bring her a podium finish.
BRONZE Gracie Gold USA - There was an asterisk, of course, when Gracie Gold won the short at Bompard but the competition was subsequently cut off. But it was after one of the best short programs of her career. Gold looks strong and ready, more so this season than she ever has. My one big question mark for her is always the edge on that triple flip, which could ding her base value by a few points. And in a field like this, it's those few points that could make the difference. She's now got it in her short program, which is a bit like playing Russian roulette. She's done two triple flips this season in competition - both called clean (one at Bompard and one at Skate America). My take on the Bompard flip is that it should've at least been called "!" (unclear edge), but of course, it always depends on the angle of the technical panel's camera.
4. Mao Asada JPN - When she returned to competition earlier this season at Japan Open, it just looked like she was going to barrel through this season and win everything and anything. And even though her triple axel looks like it's back to full force already, the rest of her elements are still a little suspect. The lutz, as much as she's made improvements there, is always at least an unclear edge. Her triple flip-triple loop has not been fully-rotated by any stretch. That said, what she needs to do to keep herself in contention - even with a mistake or two - is to not pop jumps. It'll be crucial this week.
5. Ashley Wagner USA - Ok, so which Ashley Wagner are we going to see this week? It's been Jekyll and Hyde on the Grand Prix. She was outright sensational at Skate Canada when she won there - confident, technically superb, and looking like she was at the top of her game. And then you got NHK - unsure of herself, unsettled, and just generally seeming like she was without much direction. Of the six skaters here, she's got the most complete set of programs - which is to say that she's got the most complete set of programs of anyone this season. But her chances of taking a fourth Grand Prix medal in a row will depend heavily on how she rebounds from her disappointing performances in Nagano.
6. Satoko Miyahara JPN - Fresh off her NHK win two weeks ago, Satoko Miyahara has been steady and solid this season. Of the six the week, she's the one with the most to make up in the components department. She's had a history of not scoring nearly as well outside Japan as she does in Japan, and so competing in Barcelona, and against five others who you can directly compare her to, is a disadvantage for her. But it might very well be that steadiness that brings her onto the podium this week.