Forget American Idol. In an online talent contest, five young women are trying to do a lot more than impress Simon Cowell – they're competing for the chance to sing live with Justin Timberlake at the Feb. 11 Grammys.
"To say that it would be a dream come true is not even enough," says finalist Africa Miranda, [Justin's right] one of thousands of performers who sent videos of themselves singing for the My Grammy Moment competition.
A panel of judges and Timberlake selected the finalists: Miranda, 30, from Montgomery, Ala.; Brenda Radney, 22, from Staten Island, N.Y.; Jessie James, 18, from Warner Robins, Ga.; Robyn Troup, 18, from Houston; and Jillian Gaudious, 25, from Long Branch, N.J.
"I was hands-on," Timberlake tells PEOPLE. "I looked at some tapes and gave my opinion."
The winner of the text-message and online vote will be announced just moments before the performance on Feb. 11, though the field will be narrowed down to three finalists by Feb. 4.
"To become a recording artist and the first time the world gets to hear them is at the Grammys, I don't think the opportunity gets any better or bigger," says Timberlake, who competed on the talent show Star Search as a kid.
The newly single star got a preview of the finalists' voices last week when they sang En Vogue's "Don't Let Go" for him. "They all have great voices," he says, adding with a goofball grin, "A couple of them are lookers too!"
Labels: Africa Miranda