The Estonian broadcaster, ETV, has announced new rules for the Estonian Eurovision Song Contest entry selection Eurolaul 2006. Public voting will be replaced by a professional international jury again and there are also changes in the selection of the finalists.
The past two years Estonia has chosen their representative for the Eurovision Song Contest via a televote but so far this has failed to achieve a good result for the small Baltic republic. In 2004 with Neiokõsõ's Tii and in 2005 with Suntribe's Let's get loud Estonia didn't make it to the final of the Contest.
This has lead to changes in the selection process. This year the system of selecting the song by an international professional jury is introduced again as it has brought the country success in the past when it was used between 1996 and 2003.
As usual, 10 songs are chosen to take part in the national final. In 2006, a change has taken place in that area as well. If before all 10 songs were chosen by a local jury to take part in the final then in 2006 6 songs will be chosen by the local jury but 4 songs have been asked to be written directly by local successful Eurovision composers. These names have also been published, being Priit Pajusaar (composer of Kaelakee hääl (1996), Diamond of night (1999) and Tii in 2003 which all represented Estonia at the Eurovision Song Contest), Ivar Must (composer of one of the first Estonian Eurovision entries Nagu merelaine (1994) and the only Estonian winning song, Everybody in 2001), Alar Kotkas (Once in a lifetime in 2000 and Runaway in 2002) and Mikk Targo.
Although most of the selection process is changed, still foreign composers are not allowed to take part. However, performers can be from any country again. The deadline for submitting songs for Eurolaul 2006 is 5th December 2005 at 15:00 EET.
The national final will be broadcast on 4th February, 2006 at 21:35 EET. The winner will represent Estonia at the 51st Eurovision Song Contest held in Athens, Greece. Due to failing to be amoung the top 10 songs at last year's Eurovision Song Contest, Estonia has to take part in the semifinal of the Contest.