16. Maia Shibutani/Alex Shibutani USA
2016 Grand Prix Final short dance
When hip-hop was announced as one of the themes for last season's short dance, skating observers were wondering what kinds of programs (and potential atrocities) were going to materialize. And true to anything that has been untested, there were some duds. But there were also some super shining moments.
Perhaps the truest interpretation of that theme was from Maia Shibutani/Alex Shibutani. Their Frank Sinatra-Jay Z mashup seamlessly interwove blues and hip-hop, and they went great lengths to really translate hip-hop movements and attitude to ice dance. And while they delivered this program well all season, my favorite was absolutely at the Grand Prix Final.
They really took control of this program here, and in turn, the judges rewarded them and put them above Gabriella Papadakis/Guillaume Cizeron in this segment. It was not only a minor upset, but it was also an indication that they weren't necessarily just playing for the bronze.
I still don't know why Alex Shibutani's jacket didn't have some brightly colored lining, but you know ... details. But hey Shibs - thank you, thank you, thank you. You're far too kind.