Dora 2009 was held in the Croatian city of Opatija, despite rumours that HRT would move Dora to another city. The contest was the same as last year, with one semi-final, on 27 February, being held before a grand final, held a day later on 28 February. HRT had revealed that Dora 2009 will follow the same format as last year's contest, with a public call for songs by local composers only being held. 14 songs through this method were selected by HRT to compete in the semi-final, with the top six through televoting progressing to the final. They were joined by ten songs submitted by selected composers by HRT, with the winner being selected from these 16 songs by a 50/50 mix of jury and televoting.
The deadline for songs passed on 12 December 2008. The names of the 10 invited composers were revealed on 15 December, while the 14 semi-finalists were revealed on 23 December.
The Dora 2009 semi-final was held on 27 February 2009 at the Hotel Kvarner in Opatija, and featured 14 songs. The top 6 in a televote passed to the final, where they will be joined by 10 other songs. The songs that will compete in this semi-final were revealed on 23 December 2008, and the draw for the running order was held on 26 February, one fday before the contest.
Boris Novković's song, "Raduj se", had been selected to be performed in the semi-final, however Novković was forced to withdraw from the competition, claiming that he didn't have time to select a performer to his song. His song will be replaced by "Kao jedno", to be performed by runner-up Sandra Bagarić.Goran Karan also pulled out of the semi-final on 2 February as he did not think his song, "Adam i Eva" accomplished all the expectations and is not for the kind of festival where Croatia decides upon their song for Europe. He will be replaced by Mario Battifiaca with "Ma gdje bila".
The final of Dora 2009 was held a day after the semi-final, on 28 February. The final list of participants in the final of Dora 2009 were released on 28 January 2009, which include Croatian contestants from the Balkan talent show Operacija trijumf, Ana Bebić and Igor Cukrov. 16 songs in total competred, the 10 automatic finalists as well as the six semi-final qualifiers.
Igor and Andrea were forced to compete in the second semi-final on 14 May after Kraljevi ulice and 75 cents came 21st in the 2008 contest. At the semi-final on 14 May the duo performed 1st in the running order, preceding Ireland. The duo qualified to the final as the jury's selected qualifier. In the final they performed 5th, following Sweden and preceding Portugal, eventually finishing 18th.