The idea of dance music reality TV reared its ugly head again this week after Fatboy Slim revealed he turned down the chance to be a judge on Simon Cowell’s DJ show and an Australian TV programme launched a campaign to find the country’s greatest club promoter.
We’ll be honest, the news made us shudder and laugh in equal measure. We thought the whole DJ TV thing had died when Cowell ran into trouble getting his show off the ground, but obviously not.
Of course, we’ve heard it all before. And the reason why these half-baked TV exec ideas never come to fruition is because dance music reality TV just isn’t meant to be. It’s vile, wrong and just plain won’t work. Here’s why.
No sane, high profile DJ will ever endorse dance music reality TV
They might be rich beyond their wildest dreams and keen to put their name to any product from headphones to train tickets, but they can (just about) smell a rotten egg a mile off. When news of a dance music reality TV show first made headlines, a few of the big guns were first to slate the idea. Steve Lawler, John Digweed, Tiësto and, most recently, Fatboy Slim all stuck their necks out and sacked the idea off.
The contestants will be plucked from the pits of hell
Let’s face it, the contestants aren’t going to be cool or down-to-earth or humble. They’re going to be a mix of jumped-up, pre-pubescent teenagers who think they’re the next star of Pepsi’s EDM campaign and wedding DJs who think dropping ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ at peak time is a sure-fire way to ‘start the party’. It’s a shame, because anyone who’s actually on-point won’t actually get a look in because they don’t resemble a chiseled, roided-up pretty boy. No one wants the DJ alternative to Jedward. NO ONE.
Real DJs won’t make the cut
If The X Factor is anything to go by then we’re led to assume that even the worst DJs will get through because they’ve got a ‘kooky’ image or personality that can be easily moulded and marketed. We don’t think that any panel of judges could competently decide what makes a successful DJ if they’re appearing on a talent show sponsored by Iceland.
Vinyl, CD, USB or controller?
Although we think that when it comes to DJing it doesn’t necessarily matter how you do it or what you’re using, we still don’t think that the 17-year-old DJ W!CK3D who mixes using Virtual DJ on his laptop should ever prosper ahead of a skilled turntable DJ who has been in the game for years. But thanks to berks who think dance music reality TV is a good idea, the flashing dollar sign may take pride of place over a genuinely talented selector.
How will mixing even be rated?!
So a contestant can mix in key, beatmatch perfectly and make every transition sound as smooth and slick as the surface of an ice rink. Fantastic. But do they have any soul? Technical skill is important but so is imagination. Some of the best, most respected DJs in the game (see: Theo Parrish, Move D) are known to drop clangers, but we reckon it’s more about creative imagination than on-point beat matching.
Watching it will be mind-numbingly boring
There’s a reason why every DJ worth their salt has a full live show or extravagant stage presence these days. As we all know, watching some bloke dressed in jeans and T-shirt press play (or, even worse, stare into a laptop) for two hours is mind-numbingly boring. Unless a dance music reality TV show comes complete with a studio set that looked like a cross between Deadmau5’s cube, Boys Noize’s skull and Plastikman’s rig, we reckon we’d be asleep before the first ad break.
Let’s face it: the dark overlord of pop has no place in dance music. He probably has the same taste in music as Alan Partridge and if you saw him at a rave you’d be forgiven for thinking he was a Mormon bent on converting pilled-up kids. This man is the antithesis of the dancefloor. Pure evil. Can you even imagine him dancing?!
The oh-so-horrible aftermath
We’ve seen this before. The hopefuls that get through to the live shows get booted out one by one and then they’re straight off to Liquid for a Thursday night party. Miss them at Liquid? Don’t worry, they’re doing a student tour of the country kicking off at Flamin’ Monkeys in Derby before a meet and greet at Tesco Extra just outside Rotherham. “We can’t wait for a photo or autograph from the evictees,” Is something no-one said ever.
At the end of the day, nobody’s falling for it.
DJ Idol? Decks Factor? Come off it. Dance music doesn’t need a production line that churns out identical button pushers. We’ll stick to finding our favourite DJs down in sweaty basement clubs, where the spirit of dance music really comes alive.
By: Seb Wheeler & Jeremy Abbott