The Romanian broadcaster, Televiziunea Română (TVR), confirmed that they would continue to hold a national final, Selecţia Naţională, to select the Romanian entrant for the Eurovision Song Contest. Two semi-finals were held before the final of the contest on 31 January 2009. Composers were able to submit songs to TVR from 15 November to 22 December, however only Romanian composers were allowed to take part in the competition.
Past Romanian Eurovision entrants confirmed their wish to enter the contest again, including Luminita Anghel and Mihai Trăistariu, who gave Romania their best results at the contest, 3rd and 4th place at the 2005 and 2006 contests respectively.
After TVR extended the deadline of competing entries, it had been rumoured that the broadcaster had received very few extries for the contest, with as little as five entries being reported. However, TVR rebuked this claim, confirming that they had received over 250 entries for the contest. 24 entries were selected by a special panel to compete in the two semi-finals on 8 January 2009, and were released on 9 January.
The first semi-final was held on 27 January 2009. From the 12 songs that competed in the semi-final, only six qualified to the final on 31 January. The qualifiers were decided by 50% jury voting and 50% televoting.
The second semi-final will be held on 29 January 2009. Again, only six songs will qualify to the final on 31 January from the 12 competing entries. The qualifiers will be decided by 50% jury voting and 50% televoting.
The six qualifiers to the final from this semi-final were Costi, Red Blonde, Elena Gheorghe, Cătălin Josan, Alin Nica and IMBA. They will join the six qualifiers from the first semi-final.
The final of Selecţia Naţională 2009 was held on 31 January, and featured 12 songs, six songs from each semi-final. The winner was decided by a 50/50 mix of jury and televoting. The total number of televotes and votes from each of the 10 jury members was converted into "Eurovision points": the song with the most votes was awarded 12 points, the second placed song was awarded 10 points, followed by 8-1 point(s) for the rest of the songs, with two songs failing to receive points.
The televoting results were not consistent with the jury results. Elena Gheorghe came first in the jury vote with her song "The Balkan Girls", with Cătălin coming second and the Blaxy Girls third. However the Blaxy Girls came first in the televote for their performance of "Dear Mama", Gheorghe coming second and Cătălin third. The final result was that Gheorghe was the winner, getting a total of 22 points, while the Blaxy Girls and Cătălin came joint second with 18 points. IMBA, who performed "Round & Round", failed to get any points from either the jury or the televote.
Gheorghe made a promotional tour of her entry around Europe before she performed in the first semi-final in Moscow. Gheorghe's first visit was Germany. There she began on 10 March and lasted for four days, she performed at the International Tourism Fair in Berlin, at the invitation of the Romanian Tourism Ministry, and also met the local media. She also performed at the London Preview party in the United Kingdom.
Romania competed in one of the two semi-finals in the 2008 contest. At the semi-final draw on 30 January, it was decided that the country would compete in the first semi-final on 12 May 2009. Romania qualified into the final, and was drawn at number 22. The song won a place in the final where it eventually finished 19th with a score of 40 points.