Nor does having transitions automatically equate to having good choreography, for simple choreography can also be good choreography, as choreography also takes into account factors such as phrasing and form, the pacing of a program, how and when the technical elements are placed within the music, the general arc and overall vision of the skater's program and movement. And then there's also the fact that neither transitions nor good choreography alone are enough to make a great program that is an experience for the audience: a skater must make his/her choreography their own, to add that personal touch in translating music into movement (i.e. interpretation; performance/execution).
For me, Akiko Suzuki's O long program this season has such qualities in spades even if it lacks transitions: the way the program inexorably builds towards its climax, the choreographic sequence. The remarkable choreographic sequence itself with its exhilarating sense of flight. The placement of the technical elements within the program (note how jumps like the 2A-3T, 3L are landed right with the phrasing of the music even if not directly preceded by transitions, the way the flying camel spin is placed to highlight the shift in mood and music). The pacing of the program. The wonderfully nuanced step sequence. The conceptual theme and music cuts. The attention to detail. The superb connection to the audience and music.
I especially value the lattermost quality, because these days, I often feel cynical about figure skating and am emotionally detached from even many of the programs that I appreciate and like. I suspect this is due to the fact that I like watching figure skating because it uniquely fuses together sport and art into a single whole. However, although the sport part of figure skating is indisputable, the art part more often than not seems displaced in the mad dash towards more transitions, harder jumps, higher levels. But then I melt into a metaphorical puddle every time Akiko Suzuki performs O in that incredible way she does, soaring down the ice with such palpable joy and emotion, and I remember what I love best about figure skating still remains, for what is art but that which has the capacity to move us, to make us feel something that exceeds our immediate experience and thought?
I understand that the performance, the expression, that heady experience the skater creates for the audience--this isn't necessarily what is rewarded in PCS as it is currently structured, which is 2/5ths based on technical merits and tends to emphasize quantity/complexity over quality anyway (plus there is the fact that the judges can't seem to properly distinguish between the different categories of PCS and are easily swayed by jumping prowess). But that is where I think the current scoring system has gone astray, and the sport suffers for it.