The Estonian broadcaster ETV has disqualified one of the chosen finalists, Set me as a seal, for their preselection Eurolaul 2004 due to one of the authors being a foreigner.
The song was disqualified because of it being co-authored by a foreigner. Even though the name of the other writer was also on the sent papers it wasn't noticed before and was revealed after Bard Eirik Hallesby Norheim who was thought to be the sole author of the song asked ETV whether the backing vocals could be Norwegian. He is an Estonian-rooted Norwegian who has been living in Estonia for some years. After receiving the possible disqualifying decision, the co-author Jo Hegle Sjaeflot agreed to give up the rights for the song but legally it was not possible.
As Juhan Paadam, the organiser of the final, said then it was just a misunderstanding not an attempt to cheat. It lead to replacing Set me as a seal with another entry Have you ever by Karel Kattai (music), Urmeli Niit (lyrics) and performed by Rebecca Kontus which achieved the 11th position in the jury selection.
This year only Estonians or Estonian citizens in the sense of the income law could participate in the preselection. Due to this 5 songs were disqualified in the beginning out of the total 92 songs. So the top ten songs were selected from the remaining 87 ones.
The Estonian national final is to be held on 5 February 2005. The finalists will be presented on 29 January in a preview show. The winner will represent Estonia at the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest in Kiev.