If you have missed this bit of news, Simon Cowell has decided that ‘DJs are the new rock stars’ and as such has teamed up with Will Smith to produce a show being touted as a DJ talent search. I expect this will be in a similar format to the already over-familiar X-Factor and wherever’s-Got-Talent. It looks like there’s going to be a US and UK version of the show. The official details are here.
Everyone will have an opinion on this, but as a DJ blog it’s difficult to ignore and wish it would go away!
Now, while I hate feeding creatures like Mr Cowell who capitalise on modern day freak shows under the guise of entertainment and talent searching, I can’t help but wonder how this DJ twist on the programme will work. We already have several large scale and global DJ competitions like the excellent yearly DMC competitions which have recently broadened their scope to an online challenge via Youtube.
A few questions are perplexing me;
- How is this programme going to be different from the current competitions? To be honest, DJ competitions are really only appreciated by other DJs mostly...so how will a TV programme appeal to non-DJs?
- Who is going to judge? You certainly need someone of credible background and experience on the panel (assuming there will be a panel and judges). Since Will Smith’s involved...my money might be on Jazzy Jeff, but who knows.
- How are they going to compare DJs on an equal playing field? If a vinyl-only DJ is competing against someone with Serato & a couple of controllers they will need to be super-sharp.
- What are the criteria for entry? So I’m assuming this is open to non-pro DJs, but what is the definition of non-pro? Imagine if QBert turned up = competition closed.
- What are the criteria to judge by? There are different styles of DJing and different areas to DJ in (not just clubs) – so how do you compare them fairly? I wonder if there will be sections where all DJs have to play in a club, play out on the radio, do a vinyl-only set or perform a controller-based set...curious. In which case, maybe for this competition it’s better to be a good all-rounder rather than a die-hard turntablist.
- Will there be separate ‘groups’ of entrants based on either age or perhaps tech used (eg Vinyl-only, DVS, Controller).
- What will the prize be? If similar shows are anything to go by, it'll probably be a contract based affair such as a year's contract with a SyCo DJ agency branch (with them taking a healthy cut in takings)...if so, I'd recommend reading the small-print, you could end up whored out across the globe doing several gigs a night for little money at the end of it, then dropped like a rock after a year.
I'm expecting lots of product and merchandise tie-ins and I suspect Mr Cowell is too!