Paula Abdul doesn't have anything on Marissa Mayer.
Mayer, Google's vice president of search products and user experience, will be on a panel of expert judges for YouBeTheVC.com, where people vie for venture capital funding though an online contest. The contest is something like American Idol meets The Apprentice.
Would-be entrepreneurs submit their business ideas online and the judges give them report cards. Members of the public then choose the winners from semifinalists picked by the judges.
"We're really excited about this contest because we really like the idea of being able to see what's new and where the innovations going to come from," Mayer said in an interview on CNBC's Squawk Box program.
Asked what secrets to success there might be for start-ups, Mayer said businesses should focus on the user, have strong founders and build technology that can be deployed "in a bunch of different ways," like Google ads, which first appeared on search results but now appear on sites across the Web.