The rules are that each competitor on day one gets 15 minutes each in front of the orchestra to make an impression (that goes up to 30 minutes on day two). But there’s no question of just choosing their favourite moments to rehearse. Having introduced a candidate to the orchestra, jury chairman Lennox Mackenzie (he’s usually one of the orchestra’s first violins and holds the post of orchestra chairman) tells them what he wants them to rehearse – no warning or hint given, the conductor must simply get on with it.
After that, it’s up to the individual candidate what they do, rehearse in detail or just let the orchestra play. That is, until Mackenzie is up off his feet again telling them to move on to something else. Or indeed, ever apologetic, putting up a hand to signal that the precious 15 minutes are up. Too late now, it’s in the lap of the gods. Nothing for it now but to wait, and hope whoever comes next makes a mess of it.