|Greetings from the Critique Club!
First impression: Gave this a 7 during voting and glad I did so.
Artistic: I like the bright poppy colours and the use of pattern in the bg to reflect the stripes on the candy cane. For such a close macro it worked very well! However I do agree with the open-mouth comments, it's difficult to make an open-mouth shot look good. Something fine but very white like rice powder might have worked to take down the skin tones a little and ad to the red/white effect.
Technical: Lighting good, composition quite good, though you might have wanted to fade out that little bit of glare on the cane, I feel it looks a little flat with it there. You can get away with a lot in Advanced. Even just a few passes with the burning tool may have helped, or a diffuser over your light source.
Overall: Hey, a top 15 finish! I think that speaks for itself, and you got a fave too. Keep up the good work!
Feel free to PM me,