Simon Cowell's Ultimate DJ TV Talent Show Is Going Ahead


Traktor Factor? Simon Cowell is to launch a TV show to try and find the next generation of superstar DJs...

Back in 2012 we reported on Simon Cowell's idea to do a DJ X Factor. Now, over two years on, we can report that the show is definitely going ahead. Entitled Ultimate DJ, the show - the brainchild of Cowell, SFX Entertainment and T-Mobile - has no doubt been resurrected due to the enduring success of EDM in the US, something of course that SFX entertainment is at least partially responsible for.

Apparently, the format will be different to Cowell's previous shows, in that DJs will be invited to submit "productions" to be voted on via social media channels, before the live part of the process - whatever that entails.

Cowell said: "We have been developing this concept for a while but our partnership with SFX has been a real game-changer for this format. It made complete sense for us to collaborate with SFX with their access to the best up-and-coming DJs and their great marketing platform to build new DJ talent."

Truth is, EDM is big business and big business makes money. With SFX on board (the company not only owns Beatport, but runs huge festivals like Tomorrowland in Belgium, Stereosonic in Australia and New York's Electric Zoo), and Cowell (better know for chart acts like Labrinth, One Direction and James Arthur), the winner/s who emerge from this show are going to be performers in the big stage, EDM style. The question for me is are they really looking for producer/DJs rather than DJs? Is performing electronic music live the new DJing? Will we see a whole load of novelty acts behind DJ equipment? And how on earth do you judge DJing (let's see how the DJ builds a set expertly over the next five hours...)?

So who do you think the judges will be? Who'll be giving lessons on pressing "play"? On fashion (I guess Paris Hilton might step up for that one). Will Q-Bert deign to provide the scratching tips ? Maybe our own Steve Canueto might be interested? :)

Oh, and while we're here, let's look again at Steve Lawler's satire on the whole idea, just for good measure...

So what do you think? Is this a good idea? Is it part of the inevitable development / popularisation of DJing? How will such a show work anyway? And just who should they be getting in to judge it?! Comments below please...

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  1. Klaus Mogensen says:

    Well, the whole x-factor era hasn't hurt my possibilities as a musician
    So a future DJ X-factor probably won't hurt my possibilities as a DJ

    ... but I'm pretty sure I won't watch it, though :)

  2. it should be interesting to say the least

  3. I think the DJ community as whole should boycott this show. Why does he think he has the right to come a long and make money out of a passionate community he knows nothing about. How can Cowell inspire any of us to become better DJs? Whats he going to do? Give out points based on how many LMFAO tunes you drop?

    • DJ Hombre says:

      I doubt Cowell will be on the programme, more likely he / his company is the financial backer / brains behind the original concept. I doubt the CEO of many "DJ" organisations are passionate about the craft of if you're going to boycott this, why not boycott every online download retailer & every manufacturer while you're at it?

      It'll all be down to advertising revenues I expect. Ads during the show, product placement throughout, social media tie-ins and no doubt a phone line revenue stream too.

      Fair play to him, he's been making money outta music for years, so why not eh? Still not my cuppa though, again not sure how it'll translate onto TV to captivate / motivate a sufficiently large audience.

  4. Alchemy432 says:

    first of all, if this actually works then hats off to whoever figures out the details because this idea is so freakin complicated that I wouldn't be suprised to see everything dumbed right down and simplified to where it doesn't do anything "djing" justice whatsoever and is a massive fail in the eyes of people who actually care about the art.

    battle scratching, turntablism, and vinyl, one group of things... midi controllers, performance pads, re-edits, daw related stuff, live elements.. another group of things... any combination of those... yet another thing...

    but how will joe shmo sitting on the couch after a long day at the factory relate to any of that?

    if the performer spends 5 hrs programming complicated patches within the wares, that is triggered with a push of a button.. how will the judges know what the F is actually going on in front of their eyes or what kind of effort & skill is going into the performance? how do you measure it?

    so then maybe they'll simplify it.. vinyl & cd only.. no laptops... sure what you 'see' is what you get but we're also going backwards a decade or two.. which also cuts out all the new blood from the competition because it takes so many years to perfect the craft with the archaic gear of yesteryear....

    and all this said still doesn't address reading the crowd.. pacing a set.. manipulating the energy... differences in technique, style and difficulty levels across different genres...

    its kind of like if they had a 'who is the best artist' competition and included every style of traditional & digital 'still' art and threw in kinetic mediums as well like video, animation, theatre, dance etc... its all waaay too varied and subjective to judge one style over another.

    like I said.. its complex as hell and I'm glad I'm not the one who has to figure it all out... all that said.. should make for an interesting spectacle at the least.. I'm looking forward to seeing what they come up with for this show... though I'm not expecting much.

  5. get me on it ill have a go at a lil competition ill do a 4 deck mix hardstyle to hardcore

  6. CHAS3R says:

    DJing isn't normally fun to watch. DMC competitions maybe or some controllerism but I usually judge a mix by the overall progression which takes time. Doubt anyone is going to tune in to watch a trance DJ gradually floating from track to track for hours.

  7. Parafinn says:

    How on earth can you judge DJ's everyone is saying?


    Rent space in a night club or festival, promote the night/event using the DJ's name. Then let the said DJ try and entertain the crowd.

    Then the next rounds follow in size.

    The winner is the DJ that that can draw and entertain the largest crowd.

    Sound familiar!

    The only remarkable thing that will come of this is Simon Cowell's bank balance :-)

    The man breaths money...

  8. MrChippa says:

    Is it just me? But when I look at that picture of Simon I just want to throw something at his smuck face!

  9. Ben 360 says:

    This is what happens when you try to commercialise everything for mass appeal. This will be based on how someone looks and is popular not skill and the true essence of a DJl!! People will totally forget the work that it takes for a career and want the instant and fast way to be a DJ.The folks like Pauly D and Parris yeah they play in front of lot of folks but totally suck as DJ's! Very, very bad move and what the heck is this EDM DJ's only crap! There are so many genres and DJ's from all over the world that can play and damn play well. This is like a subtle and hard slap in the face to those who don't play that type of music and implies that they don't matter and everyone should sound and do the same thing. Don't get me wrong there are many great EDM DJ's who I have a ton of respect for because they put in the work and they are really are good so please don't trip over what I said. Now on the last note please stop stealing the spirit of the DJ and watering down the talent because that is not what we are about.

  10. And I bet they will have "the world's greatest DJ" as a judge. Obviously I am referring to Paris Hilton. This is a complete joke and I am getting really tired of the people that think you have to be a producer to be a decent DJ and vica versa. Anyway, I may watch it and make a drinking game out of it.

  11. I think something a bit like the old format of Masterchef in the UK would be good, if unlikely to happen.
    Host introduces this weeks 3 keen amateur contestants.
    Contestants then get to work at their individual workstations coming up with a beat / practicing a mini-mix.
    Host introduces this week's special guest DJ who has brought a selection of wax from the back of the crate. They chat about what the guest has brought and their brilliant career.
    Contestants must sample / mix said wax in their respective beats / mini-mixes.
    Host and guest DJ walk round and chat with contestants as they work.
    Time's up! Contestants present their efforts, say 4 or 5 minutes each.
    Different styles can all do their own thing; it's about inventive, creative use of pre-recorded sound, same as it ever was.
    Winner goes through to next round.

  12. I totally agree re: the complexity. I'm 50% curious how this will work and 50% concerned that it will just make a mockery of all the hard work proper DJs put in. I guess the X Factor hasn't de-valued vocalists/musicians (too much) so hopefully this won't be a horror show.

  13. Cultural theft. Ignore it and hopefully it will go away.

  14. says:

    I'm quite an easy going, laid back person, but I hate Simon Cowell and what he represents. He's only in it for the money, he totally exploits artists. Let us not forgot he was also behind Mr Blobby songs and many other really nag things. Sad hung is though that I will prob actually watch this (will be a first of anything he's behind).

  15. Younez says:

    I think the idea is (barely) OK, but the constraints of doing anything meaningful within the time frame of a 1-hour TV show will render this nothing but an exercise in branding (mostly the branding of the judges!) and product placement.
    The show-boaters of the EDM scene will be lining up to judge on this; Aoki will be at the front of the queue with AvB and probably Afrojack.
    This was tried in the Netherlands a couple of years back with all-female contestants and even with their relatively deft touch on talent shows, the result was barely watchable (and I speak Dutch!).
    This will be godawful, and will focus on all of the worst elements of 'EDM', like image, pumping up your own tyres, and following the heard. Mixing and track selection won't even be in the back seat, they'll be in the trailer hanging of the back of this 'vehicle'.

    Hopefully this will be the high-water mark for commercialism of dance music, people like SFX will disappear and the scene will return to people who care about more than money. Wow, that escalated quickly! Seriously, don't watch this.

  16. says:

    I can see this is going to be no better than the old DMC Mix championships, just a load of scratching and the usual bull ! A Good DJ is the one that keeps the floor busy and the tills at the bar nice and full. They know when to fill and ease the floor for the punters to spend their hard earned money at the bar.

  17. least that photo shows some cables connected between the decks and mixer; something that gets forgotten along the process of making these poser photos.

  18. For all you EDM people, there's already been a mildly successful DJ competition show: BET/VH1's Master of the Mix, which was extremely hip-hop oriented. They had weekly challenges that involved doing certain themed mini-mixes and entertaining a studio audience, as well as remixing, etc. Other than the fact that EDM performance is generally less interesting to watch than a scratch DJ (other than the enormous production values generally not controlled by the dj), this show could work very similarly. And on that show, the judges were two DJs and an A&R, the latter of which was basically a poor man's Simon Cowell anyway.

  19. I predict this will be won by a 10-year-old who already has a press agent and a manager.

  20. I Love Simon Cowell ' brain and how it works. ..I think it will be a hit and i am open to the idea:D

  21. audiophoria says:

    C'mon, now. Really, who cares? This is just more flotsam and jetsam in the dumb and dumber TV universe. Frankly, I hope this will serve to separate the idiots who will actually think that this show portrays what DJing is really about and keep them away existing scene. As my grandfather used to say: "The masses are asses".

    • Peter Beadle says:

      if u dont like thats your preferance! all Simon Cowells shows do is entertain people and make some of the entries dreams come true and makes alot of money. and nobody is an idiot for liking what they like like us djays were not idiots for liking the art of Djaying my counrty loving mother used to diss them all the time but now she respects its just a preferance.

  22. Master Of Coin! says:

    Pioneer DJM 900, ´4 CDJ 2000 Nexus, HDJ 2000 Headphones, stage, judges, audience


    Now bring in the cntenders

    Pauly D, Paris H, David Guetta, Baby Chino, House Bros

    Im not going to call these people djs, as most of them wont know what a dj is or do, even if one would hit them in the arse.

    Let the games begin!

  23. john parker says:

    maybe i should enter, i could sing along to e za gud e za gud e's ebeneezer gud while throwing m&m's to the crowd!!!!!! A sure fire winner i think, it'll certainly show Paris hylton where she ca n shuv her heart shapes!!!!!

  24. Peter Beadle says:

    HAHA! a dream come true! think about the us cant enter the burning residency so this comes to us!

  25. what do i think of the idea? I think its about as creative as the rest of the bullshit reality shows that are already flooding the tv channels. My contact is up with direct Tv next month and im not renewing it. There is enough of this crap on tv and i AM a dj since the year 2000.

    There is already a dj showcase taking place all over the world. THe most well known one is scratch DJ Academy. Where djs have the timeslot to actually SHOW their skill. Not some fluff and pomp for TV garbage slots.

    I hope this really doesnt pan out. Because the only thing that will win is the same people who would win the DjTop100 vote that happens each year as well.
    Are you serious? Look at how the winners are picked in the end. ITS A POPULARITY CONTEST.
    If it was all about the ARTISTS talent then why do we always need to hear about some lame ass SOB STORY in their life struggle? As if EVERYONE else doesnt have one?

    Alerady i turn on the TV and see 2 channels of HONEY BOO BOO and a 3rd channel were i can see the pimples on her mothers ass in HD.... WOW isnt that just wonderful?
    i was on the phone with a D-TV agent the other day discussing my feelings of canceling as they tried so hard to MAKE me stay by offering me
    The Genie
    HD channels
    Lower Price monthly
    Extra TV box for free

    I work at night so i dont get to watch Prime time show, hence offering the Genie. If i dont have time to watch the tv shows now, how am i going to watch a recorded copy of it later on? Get a clue Agent!

    Why do i need to watch the Kardashians in HD or anything else in HD when i already doing like the garbage shows they are broadcasting now? So, whats the benefit? I get to watch CRAP TV SHOWS in better quality pictures?

    Why do i need to have two tvs on? Im the only one in the house. Thats why i cancelled the secondary TV a year ago.

    So they want to offer a better watching EXPERIANCE with all this shit but what im asking for is BETTER TV,not better pictures, not less latencey, not extra equipment,

    We want better TV. that means TAKE OFF THESE DUMB ASS SHOWS like the one you are talking about here.

  26. aldoboymusic says:

    Going by what I've read, Simon's in it to make a quick buck, the same applies to anyone who applies for a show like this and gets through to the final.

    Not my idea of DJ'ing, or being a producer.

    If you put the work in, both as a DJ or a producer or both, you can get to the very top without having to resort to show like this.

    There's youtube, there's soundcloud, there's mixcloud, there's beatport, and there's loads of others out there that can help you make a name for yourself.

    The amount of people who go on to there shows only to get talked down to by the crew as thats what gets the excitment and viewing figures up is laughable.

    In my opinion any DJ who wants to make it, and is passionate in what they do should run a mile from shows like this.

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