MILAN (AFP) - France's Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron suffered no embarrassing costume slip this time as they put themselves on course for a third world title achieving a world record score in the short programme at the world figure skating championships on Friday (March 23).
With the new record of 83.73 points, the 2015 and 2016 world champions led Americans Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue (80.42) and Canadians Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje (78.31).
The French lost their world title last year to Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir and finished second again behind the Canadians in the Pyeongchang Olympic Games after a "nightmare" wardrobe malfunction when Papadakis's costume became unclipped during the short programme, exposing a breast.
"I went back to Montreal. I fixed a couple of things on my dress to make sure it wouldn't be able to come apart in any way ... and it didn't!" said Papadakis.
"It's true that after the movement which unclipped by dress at the Olympics, I said to myself: 'Ouf, it's good, my dress is still on!'. I had a little half-second thought about it."
To a fast-moving Samba-Rhumba-Samba routine, they bettered the previous best short programme score of 83.67 achieved by Virtue and Moir at the Olympics.
The Canadians are not defending their world title this week.
The Canadian-based French dancers will look to seal gold in Saturday's free dance final to Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata.
"We're even more careful than we were before," said their coach Romain Haguenauer of the dress mishap.
"It's not the focus of our concerns but we're going to make sure it doesn't happen again." Haguenauer said that apart from red faces on the night the incident was now behind them.
"We had a good laugh about it. Gabriella isn't in the slightest way traumatised. If I hadn't reminded her a week ago (to take care of her dress), I'm not sure she would even have done it...," he added.
US champions Hubbell and Donohue, targeting their first world podium after finishing fourth at the Olympics, also posted a career best score, as did Weaver and Poje - former world medallists - who finished seventh in South Korea.
"We're finally hitting our peak and we feel like it's really coming together at the moment," said 27-year-old Hubbell.
The championships continues on Friday with the women's free skating final.
Fifteen-year-old Russian prodigy Alina Zagitova will bid to add the women's world title to her Olympic gold.
She placed second in the short programme just 0.76 behind 31-year-old Italian Carolina Kostner who is looking to end her 14-year world career on a high with a second world title after winning in 2012.