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YouTube Launches Internet Idols

This column was written by CBS News Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith.

YouTube announced the winners of its first-ever video awards.

Smash is a couple of kids from Sacramento who produce very funny comedic vignettes. They won for a hilarious video about a guy who is stranded on a beach for 53 days. I won't tell you the punch line, but it's funny.

And the YouTube winners were voted on by the fans on the Web site — unlike "American Idol," where it looks like there is a conspiracy to keep untalented people on the show. On YouTube, the best ones did win.

I was especially impressed by a young woman named Terra Naomi — she plays the guitar and sings a song she wrote herself. Very powerful.

She told me she hoped that maybe 1,000 people would see her on YouTube. Instead, her song has had at least 5 million viewings, and she's landed a recording contract.

The Internet shows how flat the world can be, that people with talent or something to say or a point to make will be seen and heard. The walls have come down.

Harry's daily commentary can be heard on many CBS Radio News affiliates across the country.
By Harry Smith

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