Los Angeles: In an effort to bring heightened visibility to the Grammy Awards - and tap into the formula that has made American Idol a success - The National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (NARAS) is seeking its own unheralded star.
Partnering with Yahoo Music and CBS, the NARAS has launched "My Grammy Moment," a contest in which one unsigned singer would be viewer-voted - actually during the Awards show itself - to perform on-air with Justin Timberlake at 10pm EST.
"This is kind of the wave of the future," said Ron Roecker, VP of communications and media relations for NARAS. "The music industry is really embracing the online community. It's hard to imagine another community that has more influence online than music."
The Grammys have long been regarded as music's most prestigious platform. But in 2006, almost twice as many viewers tuned into the episode of American Idol that aired opposite the Grammys, according to Nielsen Media Research. As a result, the Grammys chalked up its lowest ratings in more than a decade.
This year, NARAS and CBS are counting on viewers' obsession with undiscovered talent and the impact of social media as much as they are on Beyonce and U2.
In promoting "My Grammy Moment," NARAS, CBS, and Yahoo Music have taken both "a national and hometown" approach to media outreach, said Carrie Davis, PR manager for Yahoo Music.
While the contest "in many ways breaks the mold of a traditional talent search," Davis said, its PR efforts have been somewhat mainstream. "It's a matter of using a traditional, aggressive media campaign to drive [online] voting," she explained.
CBS will air the 49th Annual Grammy Awards live on February 11 from LA's Staples Center. Three "My Grammy Moment" finalists will be at the show.