Estonia made their third Eurovision Song Contest appearance in 1997. The preselection for the Eurovision Song Contest 1997 final would follow the same format of previous years, with a judging panel selecting the song and artist that would represent Estonia in the final. The judges would eventually choose Maarja-Liis Ilus again, making her the first (and thus far only) Estonian entrant to have made back-to-back appearances in the Eurovision Song Contest. In the final, Ilus finished 8th.
The 1997 preselection event took place at the Linnahall in Tallinn, Estonia, and was hosted by Marko Reikop and Anu Välba. Eight different songs were entered, with Pearu Paulus, Hanna-Liina Võsa and Maarja-Liis Ilus performing on more than one entry. A panel of international judges voted on each song, with Ilus' "Keelatud maa" winning by a large margin of 32 points. Despite this large margin, a public telephone poll had voted the night before that "Aeg" by Ilus, Võsa and Anne Värvimann was the nation's favourite. Despite this, "Keelatud maa" became the Estonian entrant for the 1997 contest.
Maarja-Liis Ilus was able to enter the final automatically in 1997, due to the performance of herself and Ivo Linna in the 1996 final. Ilus performed strongly again, and finished 8th, with a final total of 82 points.