AOL, Yahoo! on talent search

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Yahoo! and AOL on Monday became the latest Internet search leaders to get closer to giving everyday people a chance for their own 15 minutes of fame.

Yahoo! launched an eight-week online competition, dubbed the "Yahoo! Talent Show," which has participants submitting video featuring either their own performances or personally created content in areas ranging from filmmaking and animation to stand-up comedy and performance art. The grand-prize winner will receive the chance to star in and produce an online show on Yahoo! along with $50,000.

Also Monday, AOL's online hub for teens, AOL RED, which plans to offer one teenager the chance to be the Internet's next discovery through its "Be a RED Star" contest, opened up its online voting to its visitors.

The Yahoo! contest, which begins Nov. 13 and allows users to submit as many as 50 videos before the Nov. 27 deadline, also includes a daily segment at talentshow.yahoo.com featuring TV personality Mayleen Ramey. Users can tune in daily until Dec. 4.

Ramey, who has worked on pop culture programming on E! and MTV, will introduce the video submissions and encourage users to comment and vote on their favorites.

After five finalists are chosen by a panel of judges, they will compete in creative video challenges that users can view an Yahoo! before the judges cast their final vote and the winning video streams on Dec. 14 on Yahoo!

"The Internet is such fertile ground to discover fresh talent and unique personalities, and we are excited to give our users a chance to win their own show on Yahoo!" said David Katz, head of Yahoo! Studios.

The Yahoo! Talent Show is created in collaboration with Embassy Row.

The AOL competition has young participants showcasing their talent through video of their own user-generated content with the grand-prize winner receiving $10,000 and the opportunity to create and star in three professionally produced and edited episodes of their original series to air on AOL RED.

Through Friday, visitors to www.bearedstar.com can learn more about the finalists by viewing their videos and photos and reading their blogs, with the contestant who receives the most votes being named the winner Nov. 3.

Said Malcolm Bird, senior vp of AOL Kids & Teens, "Whether they're writing blogs, posting photos or shooting videos, teens clearly have something to say, and we're very excited to give them a chance to demonstrate their creativity and have their voices heard."

The two contests join the recent announcement of a music talent competition from artist development company Music Nation, in which musicians and bands are encouraged to submit video entries in the rock, pop and urban genres to www.MusicNation.com and local radio stations. Three winners will be awarded a recording contract with Epic Records along with being featured on "Stripped," the in-studio performance series of Clear Channel Radio.
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