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The Eurovision Song Contest 2003 was the tenth time that Estonia had entered the Eurovision Song Contest, and was the ninth time that they competed in the final. Estonia had hosted the 2002 finals, and had won the 2001 contest, meaning that they had been one of the key participants in recent years. The preselection process used was again an international judging panel, with the Eurolaul event again be broadcast across the country. The panel would select Ruffus as their favourite, and the group would go on and compete in the final, placing 21st.
The 2003 preselections took place at the Eesti Televisioon studios on February 8, 2003, and were hosted by Marko Reikop and Romi Erlach. As with all previous Estonian preselections, a judging panel from various countries was used to decide the 2003 Eurovision entrant. Amongst the judging panel was six former Eurovision entrants, including Michael Ball, Renars Kaupers and Moshe Datz. The judging panel would favour the entries by Koit Toome and Ruffus, with Ruffus winning by one point and going on to represent Estonia in the Riga final.
The 2003 preselections were controversial in that a public televote just before the Eurolaul event clearly showed that the girl group Vanilla Ninja‘s entry « Club Kung Fu » was the favourite of the nation. Residents of Estonia had been calling for the voting process to be changed to a public televote, as the Eurovision finals itself had some years ago, but Eesti Televisioon had decided to continue with a judging panel. This would prove to annoy many viewers, as despite Vanilla Ninja’s clear popularity, the judging panel placed them tied last in the voting. Vanilla Ninja would still end up participating in the Eurovision final two years later, however, representing Switzerland with the song « Cool Vibes » (and beating the Estonian entry by Suntribe in the process).
|1st||Ruffus||« Eighties Coming Back«||65|
|2nd||Koit Toome||« Know What I Feel »||64|
|3rd||Kadi Toom||« We Are Not Done »||58|
|4th||Nightlight Duo||« I Can B the 1 »||52|
|5th||Kadi Toom||« Have a Little Faith »||48|
|6th||Maiken||« No Matter What It Takes »||47|
|7th=||Family||« Don’t Ever Change »||33|
|7th=||Slobodan River||« What a Day »||33|
|9th=||Vanilla Ninja||« Club Kung Fu »||32|
|9th=||Viies Element||« Have It Your Way »||32|
Ruffus automatically qualified for the 2003 final, but performed poorly, and ended up finishing in 21st place with a total of only 14 points.
Points Awarded by Estonia
|12 points||10 points||8 points||7 points||6 points|
|5 points||4 points||3 points||2 points||1 point|
(Note: Entries scored out are when Estonia did not compete)