It’s been discussed, debated and largely dissed by the dance music community since rumours of it first landed three years ago.
Now it is official: Yesterday Yahoo confirmed that a talent-seeking-turned-reality show called Ultimate DJ will definitely happen. And it will happen very soon.
The launch date is expected to be July 2015 and very few other details have been confirmed so far; just a press release confirming the involvement of Simon Cowell’s production company SYCO, Dutch EDM mega-label Ultra and the prize: a recording contract with Ultra and Sony and a headline performance at a major festival.
Ultimate DJ will be hosted on Yahoo Live and the voting system will be run by Tumblr (which is also owned by Yahoo). The news was confirmed at an advertisers’ presentation in New York yesterday where 18 new series were announced.
DJ culture and competitions have always come hand-in-hand. From the DMC World Championships to small local competitions in every town that has a nightclub. We’ve run a few ourselves. Bottom line: DJ competitions provide a great foot in a door that’s difficult to shift for any aspiring selector…. And, let’s face it, for the winner of Ultimate DJ, they’re going to have one hell of an experience during the show (although they are likely to find it difficult to get scene kudos/respected status once the hype of the show of the series has settled).
However, the whole concept of adding the peaktime glitz and glamour that shows like X Factor and American Idol does seem at odds with real DJing. Some of the most creative DJing is subtle and has to be taken within the context of the club/party itself. Other really impressive acts of DJing are highly technical and may well wash over the voters who perhaps don’t understand how dexterous the techniques are.
This could leave the participating DJs no option but to add more of the over-the-top theatrics that have always been a dividing and concerning topic for dance music fans and that – we had hoped – was on the fade.
Then again, if those type of fame-seeking DJs want to perform in that way and go through that type of process to raise their profile, good for them… It’s not going to effect the thriving, exciting scene that’s already established and is celebrated and documented daily on this site and many others. Talk to any of your favourite artists who make genuinely creative electronic music and play unforgettable sets and they’ll tell you they didn’t get into this for fame or prestige or glamour, they got into it because they love the music. (This recent interview with Doctor P is just one of millions of examples)
Although that fact hasn’t stopped the DJ community showing their concern since the show was first discussed. In the past Fatboy Slim has told Simon Cowell to ‘fuck off’, Gorgon City told Digital Spy that it’s ‘bad for the industry’ and Steve Lawler trolled it succinctly like this…
This criticism is likely to develop again now the news is confirmed and it’s guaranteed to cause outrage on your feeds all week. For balance we suggest you relish in the existing awesome DJ culture such as our UKF podcasts: each and every artist we’ve invited to the series is an Ultimate DJ in our eyes.
So what do YOU think of Ultimate DJ? We’re interested to know your thoughts on this one…