NEW YORK — And the winner for best music video: Chocolate Rain.
Tay Zonday morphed from an unknown musician to an Internet superstar who got booked on national TV shows after his song Chocolate Rain, an amateur clip of his baritone crooning, went viral last year. Now he's among the 12 winners of the second annual YouTube Video Awards, recognizing the top user-created videos of 2007.
"It's the new Emmys," Zonday, 25, said of the video-sharing site's awards.
"It's the next Oscars. The next People's Choice Awards. It'll be interesting to see what happens five years, 10 years (from now)."
Best eyewitness video was the epic Battle at Kruger, which has drawn more than 26-million views to its astonishing footage of a baby water buffalo surviving an attack by lions — and a crocodile! — in the African prairie.
It was up against the newsmaking clip of a University of Florida student pleading "Don't tase me, bro!" as police removed him from a John Kerry forum.
Chris Crocker, who shot to stardom in his video freak-out over Britney Spears' public meltdown, was beaten in the commentary category by a clip from Michael Buckley of the popular online show What the Buck? slamming fellow YouTube celebrity Lonelygirl15.
The Obama Girl, a.k.a. Amber Lee Ettinger, whose I Got A Crush On Obama clip has been seen more than 7-million times, didn't wind up winning in the politics category. That honor went to the serious-minded Stop the Clash of Civilizations video by the global organization avaaz.org.
Zonday's video has garnered nearly 16-million views. He streams music from his YouTube channel, MySpace page and personal Web site, and said he hopes to earn "a living making art and producing music," and is pursuing a voice-over career.