In regards to your question:
1. Why have the first 2 x smoke tests failed now when they had previously passed? Is this normal? Can you run them more than once?
The smoketests are running wordcount I believe. You should be able to see the job in the resource manager webui and click on job to get more information as to why it failed.
3. Considering that at one time, ALL of the smoke tests PASSED, can I move on to the next section of my evaluation?
At this point, it would be good to understand why the smoketests are failing first before moving on.