and (former) American Idol
luminary Simon Cowell and his production company Syco Entertainment
have announced plans to create a new program centered around a worldwide search to "find the world's greatest DJs." Considering the glut of singer-centric talent shows clogging our airwaves, Cowell seems to be taking music reality TV into a radical new direction, and it will be fun seeing whether this intriguing idea is handled well and if American audiences will respond to it.
While I can never see a program where personalities like RJD2 or 2ManyDJs (of Radio Soulwax
fame) will have the same kind of explosive mainstream success as X-Factor
or American Idol
, DJ music has been experiencing a steady resurgence over the last several years and acts like Girl Talk and Skrillex have exploded just in the last year. However, a handful of artists getting some internet prominence does not equate to a ratings success story, and it is safe to say that Simon Cowell is taking a big risk hoping that the millions of people necessary for this show to be a hit (and profitable) will materialize when the air time comes around.
The obvious other concern here is that this is Simon Cowell we're talking about and the fact that American Idol
has become the base of turning home-grown talent into ultra-commercial constructs. DJ music is about dynamic creativity and has been a mainstay of the counter-culture and indie scenes of the '00s. If the artists they recruit for this new program are given the free reign that you'd expect from any decent live DJ show in NY (obvious exceptions made for filtering out profanity and sexual material for television), then this could be a resounding artistic success while simultaneously exposing millions of Americans to a form of music they may not be intimately familiar with. However, if this turns into a commercial tool for the record labels to push their agenda and ignoring the music the DJs would rather be playing, then it may serve as a lesson on why indie genres would be better off sticking with the labels and audiences who are going to give them the respect they deserve.