SHANGHAI, China -- Canadians Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje are poised for their second consecutive ISU Grand Prix medal.
The ice dancers are second after Friday's short dance program at Cup of China with 65.59 points.
France's Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat led the dance with 69.15, while Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev of Russia stood in third at 64.32.
Toronto's Weaver, and Poje, from Waterloo, Ont., who skated their waltz and polka program to music from "The Sound of Music," won bronze at Skate America two weeks ago.
"There was not a lot of down-time between the two Grand Prixs, so we didn't have a lot of chances to change many things," Poje said. "We tried to focus on the points where we lost a lot. We focused on the polka and on the footwork to try to bring those up for the competition and we are happy with how the short dance went today."
Kirsten Moore-Towers and Dylan Moscovitch of Waterloo, Ont., were third in the pairs short program with 59.12 points. Local favourites Qing Pang and Jian Tong of China took the lead with 68.57, while Yuko Kavaguti and Alexander Smirnov of Russia were second at 63.70.
"We are pretty pleased," said Moore-Towers. "It's our first Grand Prix (this season) and we more or less went clean. We lost a couple of levels which would have put us a little bit higher on the number, but what's done is done."
Julia Lipnitskaia of Russia took the lead after the women's short program in her senior Grand Prix debut.
Last season's world junior champion scored 63.06 points to take a narrow lead over two-time world champion Mao Asada of Japan into Saturday's free skate.
Asada, the silver medallist at the Vancouver Olympics, is close behind Lipnitskaia with 62.89 points, while Mirai Nagasu of the United States is third with 59.76.
Amelie Lacoste of Delson, Que., is sixth.
"I skated very well," said Lacoste, who was seventh at last week's Skate Canada International. "I have very specific goals I want to meet here. I'm much more relaxed and I'm ready to fight until the end."
Daisuke Takahashi, the 2010 world champion and Vancouver bronze medallist , took the short program in men's singles with a lively skate to "Rock 'N Roll Medley," scoring 84.79.
Japanese teammate Tatsuki Machida, who was third at Skate America two weeks ago, was second with 83.48, followed by Sergei Voronov of Russia with 73.58.
Lipnitskaia, considered one of Russia's medal hopefuls for the 2014 Sochi Olympics, won the pre-season Finlandia Trophy last month. The 14-year-old performed confidently in a black outfit with copper and green sequins to "Sabre Dance." She opened with a fine triple Lutz-triple toe loop combination then landed a triple flip and double Axel.
Asada, who has finished a disappointing sixth at the last two world championships, was solid to Gershwin's "I Got Rhythm" in her first competition of the season. Asada chose not to try her patented triple Axel, which gave her trouble last season. She began with a double Axel, followed it with a triple flip-double loop combo and then hit a triple loop.
Nagasu skated to "Downhill Special" and executed all of her jumps, starting with a triple toe loop-triple toe loop combo, but lacked speed in her routine. She has not qualified for the U.S. team for the last two worlds.
Takahashi opened with a quad toe loop but two-footed his landing. He then cleanly hit a triple Lutz-triple toe loop combo and a fine triple Axel. Machida nailed all three of his jumps, but did not attempt a quad.
The Cup of China is the third of the six-event ISU Grand Prix series. The Grand Prix Final will be in Sochi in December.