I actually think that the top two in ice dance deserved their placements. P/C are the class of the field, whatever you think of their style. S/K IMO have an incredibly strong tango RD, very difficult and really showing off their skating skills. That midline step sequence is something else. The FD is rather traditional, but it flows well and they've performed it well all season.
From my point of view, H/D are rather lucky to be on that podium. That FD has been an unholy mess all season, and it didn't really improve here at Worlds either. Plus, I just think it's always a terrible idea for ice dancers to do R+J. It worked once for Anissina and Peizerat, that's about it.
They might have been in more trouble if the field behind them didn't have their own weaknesses. StepBukin, I hate that music in the FD, but that's my personal hang-up LOL. I think what's really hurting them is that she's one of the weaker skaters in the top ten at the moment. Their programs are designed to hide that to some degree, but at a certain point she'll have to improve. Sinitsina has improved a lot, perhaps it's possible for Stepanova as well? Because, as I see it, in the age of P/C and their smooth skating the international judges have decided to go with S/K as Russian number one because of their superior skating skills. The Russian fed was ready to go with S/B until it became clear in the GP that the international panels prefer S/K.
WeaPo, they've been around so long I think the judges often just see them as stagnating. C/B have done well to go to Montreal and I love their FD, would have had them higher as well. But they are turning around the trajectory and have to convince judges that they're no longer in a downward spiral. It's starting to work, but will take time. G/P have a lovely FD that IMO they haven't skated as well at Worlds as they could have and they also just don't seem quite as good as the pairs in front of them to me? Like, it seems obvious that there's a leap in quality starting with Chock/Bates and that group includes C/B, W/P, S/B, H/D and S/K, while anyone below sixth place is weaker. P/C are on their own.
In general, though: Ice dance needs to get away from all this soft, soft, pastel skating. It works for P/C, let them do it. IMO it actually hurts pairs like H/D who are also stuck in that mode even though they would be much better suited for something more powerful.