TES is not only about the jumps, though.
The piece is seventy-five minutes long...[l]ong enough for an idea to be developed, but not so long that one starts to measure the number of seats to the exits with desperation if the thing doesn’t work" -- Marina Harss
I think that what they're saying is that at least for part of the TES value, there's a technical panel that is, at least in theory, accountable to them.
Well let's just have a jumping and levels contest then and dispense with music and choreography. It'll make it all much fairer and be sure to be a ratings winner!
To think that fun is simple fun, while earnest things are earnest, proves all too plain that neither one thou truthfully discernest.
Essentially, the minimum scores for the championships are like technical tests that skaters need to have passed to be allowed to enter the championship (or to be considered for entry, if their federations have more qualified skaters than spots available). The test that skaters have to pass to qualify for Worlds is harder than for the other ISU Championships, though not as hard as originally announced.
(And unlike tests the qualifications expire after two years.)
Because of the way it's set up, the minimum score measures only difficulty and execution of the elements.
If it weren't also serving the purpose of keeping the size of the field down to a manageable size, we could have more skaters entered and many of them would be cut after the first phase of competition.
However, the cuts made at the competition are based on placements, which also take into account the program components.
So if there were a qualifying round/qualifying competition that also served as an opportunity to earn the minimum scores (i.e., pass the tests), you might have some skaters who place high enough to advance to the next round largely on the strength of their skating skills and presentation but haven't met the minimum scores, and other skaters who have met the minimum scores but lost to skaters who didn't.
In that sense the process is not completely logically consistent.
I wish there were some way to take into account the Skating Skills as well. But the component score is too subject to judges' personal opinions, or worse.
Plushenko's 3lz is given a range from 0 to -3
Fernandez's 4S & Jobert's CCoSp given a range 1 to 3
Pfeifer's CCSp3 given a range from 0 to 3
Besseghier's 3lz given a range from 1 to -2. The judges aren't even consistent on whether the element deserved a positive or negative grade!
The original minimum scores for championships were set, at least in the SP, around the minimal required technical content. They were set at the most minimal technical test a skater had to pass. Even if that skater did not attempt or had never attempted one or more required elements, like a 3/2 combo, any 3/2 combo, the skater was allowed to compensate by any combination of higher levels on leveled elements, GOE, and the base of the solo triple from steps.
The GP minimums, which include PCS, were created explicitly to create a high bar and ensure a quality standard. Last year, they were nearly impossible to meet if the championships skater earned the lowest TES minimums. Even so, minimums aren't required for all skaters: this year, comeback skaters were expected to meet the standard, based on past results, and the hosts were given a break (unlike last season) because the GP minimm was recommended, but not a rule to be broken.
This year, the minimums were created explicitly to limit the fields to a target number of skaters, give or take a few. The minimums aren't like a technical test in that sense. They don't require that a skater shows a specific skill set to pass, else fail. The Euros/4C's minimums were higher than last year's minimums, but they were still much closer to the minimum required content, at least for the SP, and it's possible to construe them as a technical test, but they were set specifically to limit the fields and lower the costs by eliminating the prelims, and this more-or-less worked, as they didn't raise the singles minimums to narrow the SP field from 36 to 30, for exampke. If the judges say that the fields were too big to judge the SP well -- the given reason for re-introducing quali rounds -- or they decided they didn't want to pay for a dozen extra skaters, then I'd expect the Euros/4C's minimums to be raised next year, if all variables were assessed individually.
Someone here posted the correct analogy, IMO, which is how in swimming, there's a set field, and the qualifying times are set based on the strength of the overall field to limit competition to the right number of spots. If the field is strong, the qualifying times are raised.
I don't think there's any confusion: it's the one place the ISU was quite explicit about its reasoning, and, unlike the GP minimum rules, they didn't allow anyone to break them.
Next year, if the SOV and the rules are the same or changed minimally, the final TES minimums for Worlds and Euros/4C's could change from this years' based on the strenth of the fields.