They are talented and I sometimes feel like the criticism that they receive is more about not liking Team Eteri as opposed to her skaters not being legitimately worthy of the placements and attention they receive.
I do wish that they were more interested in developing things like good technique, beautiful lines, holding positions, not rushing through every element, etc. These are valid points. At the same time, something about their approach *is* working to the point where it seems almost set in stone that another Russian lady will win in 2022. I don't think any other country that has top skaters in this sport is as much of a guarantee as Russia is right now.
Mariah's long was easily my favorite moment at Nationals. It is frustrating that she couldn't win with a performance like that but I understand why it couldn't be when I consider all of the factors. As refreshing as it was to watch a performance like Mariah's, I can't pretend that I wasn't just as excited to watch the A squad do their thing at Russian nationals and Euros. They're pushing the sport in ways I wouldn't have predicted five years ago and it makes for compelling viewing.
I disagree that it has to be an either/or thing when it comes to jumps and artistry. At the end of the day I feel like the best example of the full package is rewarded more often than not. I'm not convinced that the rise of Team Eteri is evidence that the sport is moving in a bad direction.
In terms of the whole assembly line aspect--I do wish they could find a balance so that more of a skater's personality could shine through. One gets the impression that the girls have minimal input when it comes to music, dress, choreography, etc. They even look alike in a way in terms of styling. Waist length hair, tiny bodies, pretty faces. It would not surprise me at all if looks were also a factor for Eteri agreeing to take on a student.