But for some acts, it's just part of what can be an extended tour promoting their song around Europe. This year saw Nicky Byrne and Barei both show up at the Ukrainian final, Dalal and Deen sang 'Ljubav je' during the Montenegrin presentation show, and Nina Kraljić gave the first live performance of her entry 'Lighthouse' on Serbian breakfast TV.
In this article, we'll take a look at the history of the Promo Tour, and examine just how useful it can be.
Up until 2000, promo tours were effectively forbidden, as the rules stated the song was not allowed be promoted outside of the home country until after the contest. Once this outdated rule was removed, several countries immediately took advantage, sending their acts flying around the continent, appearing on TV shows and showing off their entries to the people of Europe - with mixed success.
Fabrizio Faniello gained great benefit from his promo tour in 2001
Early on, there did seem to be some benefits to jetting off. One example I distinctly remember was Fabrizio Faniello in 2001, who appeared on Danish TV shortly before the final in Copenhagen. And lo and behold, on the night he scored 12 points from the Danish televote - his only maximum score of the evening.
The next year, several countries followed Malta's example. Cypriot boyband One visited a number of TV stations and held a swathe of live performances, including a well-targeted gig in a North London shopping centre filled with local Greeks (and me) and an appearance on an ITV daytime show. They came sixth on the night, including three points from the UK. Slightly more pointedly, a number of acts visited Malta, including Macedonia's Karolina. She eventually scored five points from the Mediterranean island, who just happened to have a 50/50 voting system that year. I wouldn't want to insinuate anything, but sometimes these trips can just as much about who you meet before you perform as who you impress on screen.
Treble, who toured all 42 competing countries
Let's fast forward now to 2006 and the infamous Amambanda promo tour. Dutch girl group Treble pledged to visit and perform in every one of the 42 competing countries, and this they did, though hampered slightly by the fact that they weren't always able to find a TV show that would have them. They busked on the streets of London. And come the big night, the result of all of that effort? 38 points, 21st place and an early trip home (though they did get a point off Iceland after being ridiculed by Silvia Night). They were probably ready for their own beds after that travelling anyway.
In 2012, the two biggest examples of the promo tour came from France and Switzerland. It seemed like you could barely switch on a national final without Sinplus or Anggun (or both) turning up to mime along to their entries, and they were far from the only ones. But come the contest itself, Sinplus bowed out in the semi-final, whereas Anggun gained a grand total of nul points from the televote.
And maybe delegations have learned from this. Since 2012, there's been far fewer acts trailing their entry around myriad national finals. Is the reward not worth the effort? Or is it simply that with many entries being chosen close to the deadline, there's no time to fit in a promo tour?
Jade Ewen performs "It's My Time" at the Russian national final
On the other hand, some would argue that it's not all about impressing the local television audience. For a novice artist in particular, there's some real benefit to be gained by sending them to perform their song again and again on any TV show that will have them. Jade Ewen certainly benefited from this in 2009, growing in confidence as the season went on, culminating in a strong, charismatic performance in Moscow that netted her a 5th place. But it doesn't always work that way. Performing in a TV studio is very different to facing a 20,000 strong cheering crowd, as we saw when Sinplus just appeared tiny and lost on the huge stage in Baku, and it's far harder to find cameras and take control in an arena.
If appearing on national finals and TV shows are no great help in scoring votes in the contest, events like the London Preview Party, Riga Pre-Party and Eurovision in Concert in Amsterdam are even less useful. The acts are performing to a limited audience of people, nearly all of whom have already heard the songs and formed their opinions on them. The stage is nothing like performing at Eurovision, so there's not even any useful experience to be gained, and the mainstream media don't care, unless you count CNN showing up to grill Sabina Babayeva on the misdeeds of her country. But as we've already seen this year with Hovi and Sanja, they are a whole lot of fun, and give the artists a chance to perform without the pressure of competition and let them revel in the adoration of fans, if only for a few brief hours. And of course, there are those contacts to be made...
The performances at the Eurovision Pre-Party in Riga 2015
So, does a promo tour really work? We don't think so. It had some success initially, but recent years have shown that the impact on the final voting is pretty much minimal. There are some benefits to a carefully targeted campaign, aimed at diaspora or other friendly countries, and it can give an artist vital experience in singing their song live on TV, but it's by no means the magic formula to scoring points on the big night.
But who cares, really. Hovi's having fun, and so are we. Hop over to the wonderful ESCKaz to watch videos of the show from Amsterdam.