Vanessa Juarez
November 29, 2006 AT 12:00 PM EST

Back in October, YouTube kicked off a contest to motivate some of the country’s unsigned bands to create their own music videos. While we’re used to seeing indie band guys looking all pensive with their androgynous haircuts or rappers pointing up to god and their bling, YouTube’s winners, announced today, were a tad more creative with their projects. They might even give those treadmill guys a run for their money. PopWatch weighs in on the four winners (who beat out more than 2200 other bands): 

Best Song
“The Way It Is”

Best song? Isn’t this, eh, a music video contest? The song is catchy good fun. But the video has Peter Gabriel written all over it. The band members, whose bodies have been done up as quirky photo-montages, jam along — while a slew of beloved cartoon characters make onstage cameo appearances. Is that Barbie being eaten by a dragon as she drives in her Geo Metro? It’s hard to tell with the so-so resolution, but there’s no doubt about the love we get from Superman, Darth Vader, Legos and My Little Ponies. A

Best Video
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“>“He Said, She Said”

Somebody’s been hanging out with The O.C.’s Seth Cohen a lot lately — and we’re ok with that. This mixed media video (pictured), flawlessly done, involves a skateboarder dude who hops on the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) and begins reading what looks like a graphic novel called He Said, She Said that comes to life on your screen. A+

Most Creative 
Ostrich Head
“Freak Show Carnival”

Speaking of the worst band names ever, we have another nominee. This video instantly reminded me of that Len video.Remember? 1999. “Steal my Sunshine.” While Len’s crew looks like they’rehaving fun at what would be my worst nightmare, a Frat Party Carnival,at least Ostrich Head takes us to the Freak Show Carnival. Much moreinteresting, yes? Plus, the music’s better. Grade: B

Best Live
Pawnshop Roses
“Gets So Hard”

Thinking up ingenious categories for this competition must’ve gotten, um, so hard.I mean, how about Best use of Nazi References a la Marilyn Manson’s“Antichrist Superstar”? Or Best video that doesn’t feature the artist ala David Bowie’s “Under Pressure”? Or Best Depiction of Sadomasochism ala Madonna’s “Justify My Love”? Cingular probably wouldn’t want tosponsor a contest with that kind of content, but Best Livevideo? Snooze. For what it is, Pawnshop Roses’ live version of “Gets SoHard” sounds good, is cut well and is entertaining enough. Grade: B

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