From Popjustice, we’ve got word–a photo with words, to be exact–about a new TV series by Simon Cowell’s Syco Entertainment, with Jada Pinkett-Smith and Will Smith’s Overbrook Entertainment, that’s essentially a DJ search show. They’ll announce more details, including U.S. and U.K. partners, soon, but the release says it’s been in the works for a year. That’s great, Simon. But why? As noted chroniclers of all music/TV intersections, we’ve got some ideas.
Reason one: Market differentiation.
The television is so completely flooded with vanilla talent competitions–there’s nary a season anymore without some kind of sing- or dance- or talent-off–that any variation is going to seem new. (Counter-argument: those variations have gone on ever since Idol and are not historically smashes; probably the biggest success story was The Voice, which is essentially a vanilla talent competition.)
Reason two: The revenge of the brostep
“DJs are the new rock stars,” Cowell said, and damn it, he’s probably right, both in radio formats (Adele aside, top 40 could double as a playlist for certain clubs, and every year there’s a new “guitar rock is dead!” article; the first we found for 2011 was from The Guardian, but we distinctly remember at least two more) and in public demand. This comes from the same place the stadium-beat-heavy Coachella lineup does, or from the increasing throngs who show up to dance shows. Our musical culture is in a state where Skrillex has just as much of a claim to the phrase “American Idol” as Scotty McCreery. And there’s no way Simon hasn’t noticed that for ages.
Reason three: Because they can:
They’re Simon Cowell, Jada Pinkett-Smith and Will Smith, and they can do whatever the hell they want, including lodging a single by a 9-year-old on the radio and commandeering the U.K.’s Christmas single for years.
Not convinced? We can’t entirely blame you; it’s healthy to be skeptical of new and sorta-funny ventures like this. In fact, we’ve got two skeptics in the office now! Behold, some counter-reasons:
Samantha Martin, Popdust pundit: “Does most of America even know who David Guetta is, by name and face? Maybe if they had country DJs.”
John Gara, media editor: “See, the American Idol brand is really strong right now.“