ViralVideo Idol? YouTube Gets into the Voting Game with ‘YouTube Slam’

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In case you’re wondering how to survive between the season finale of The X-Factor and the new season of American Idol — hey, those three weeks can be very hard on some people, okay? — then YouTube is here to rescue you with YouTube Slam, a video throwdown that’ll indulge your need to vote for something meaningless.

Described by YouTube as “a video discovery experiment” created with Google Research, YouTube Slam pits two videos in specific categories (Comedy, Cute, Music, Bizarre and Dance) against one another, with the victor decided by which one gets more votes. Those voting also have a chance to compete, with points given to those who predict the winners in each category and a scoreboard posted at the end of each week to let players track their successes.

Slam is viewed as a way to drive viewers towards new viral videos — the main page describes it as “the place for discovering talented amateur singers, the most adorable clips and the craziest videos on YouTube.” More importantly, it’s a new hook to bring people back to the site for activities other than the usual Facebook links, pop videos and half-remembered (from their childhoods) television show opening credits. Whether or not it’ll have the same kind of sticking power as American X-Idol, of course, remains to be seen.

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Graeme McMillan is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @Graemem or on Facebook at Facebook/Graeme.McMillan. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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