Under the current competition format, it is unclear to me why we need to have a short program in addition to a free skate. Sure, the short program rules mandate skaters to perform certain jumps, and for senior/junior men and junior ladies they are now required to perform triple jumps in the short program, because fewer rotations will result in no credit. However, the types of technical elements required in the short program are no different from those "recommended" for a "well-balanced" free skate. Who's going to leave out anything from the "well-balanced" element list unless they absolutely cannot do it? Free skate is not really free, and the short programs simply have fewer jumps and fewer spins.
What I'm wondering is why we need two separate programs/performances to judge and rank the excellence among skaters. What is in the short program that is not in the free skate? If the answer is nothing, then having two programs is essentially redundant and serves no other purpose of selling more tickets, it seems to me.
If we are set to require each skater to perform two programs, and figure skating has no shortage of variety of skills and qualities worth evaluating, why not break it up and require very much different skills in two programs? For an extreme example, why not have one program in which he does jumps but no step sequences and the other step sequences and spins but no jumps? Then add up the total. Or maybe evaluate technical proficiency in one program and creativity in the other. Or have 4 jumping passes, all combo jumps, in one program and 4 jumping pass, all single jumps, in the other. Breaking them up would at least give skaters more time to show off skills not on the "well-balanced" element list. I don't know. I'm just making it up randomly. But you get the idea.
I think it makes no sense that we get two programs that are very very similar and measure almost exactly the same thing (the only difference they really measure is stamina). Nowadays the short program is just half of a free skate.