Guys. Guys. GUYS. Tiësto is hosting a 7Up-"powered" VEVO show where people compete to become the next "star" to DJ the 7Up's stage at Ultra, and get this: none of the contestants have even DJed before.
This is the single-most advanced move in shillery I've yet to witness in this scene. I have to share it with you!
If I could give an award to one DJ-producer for sucking more of the innocent, unbranded soul out from whatever dance music initially stood for, it would be Tiësto. He made a career out of trance music, but famously forfeited the genre for more profitable climates. He played New Year's Eve 2014 at LIV and tables went for $1million. He once stopped a group of girls from dancing to Daft Punk's "Get Lucky" to ask if they really liked it or if they just think it's "cool" to like Daft Punk. That's like if my pot called my kettle a vapid hype machine and then struck a lucrative sponsorship deal with Tidal.
The show is called YOUR SHOT, and in it, Tiësto and some Australian bloke named Steve take 30 attractive limelight chasers, "teach" them to "DJ," and attempt to "change their lives." Really though, they are marketing to a demographic hopelessly hooked on Red Bull and other unbrandable energy supplements. Let's break this bitch down by the motions:
Episode 1: THIS IS YOUR SHOT! is a five-minute overview of the glorious failure that's to come. We meet Steve, who's been doing this Your Shot thing in Australia since 2010 and claims to have launched "thousands" of DJ careers in the process. I still use my fingers for basic addition, but I'm pretty sure that statistic is dubious.
Steve explains that this bunch of hopeful 20-somethings have traveled across the country to huddle in a cramped, graffiti-lined warehouse and regurgitate lines about how stoked they are on camera. They're really stoked. We meet some of them. This one girl claims to have quit her job for this.
Steve says they only have room for "the most passionate and dedicated." This is also where we find out that some, if not most, of these people have never DJed in their lives.
After bootcamp, they'll play at some club in front of hundreds of paid extras. A few of the DJs are wearing ridiculous gimmick costumes, like a fox in a hoodie. Whoever doesn't fuck up entirely goes on to Vegas to perform with Tiësto at Wet Republic, then maybe "Hakka-freakin-san," and in the end, someone will "win" a prize, presumably the exhumed corpse of Frankie Knuckles.
This is only the beginning. WHO IS READY FOR MORE?!
"I think the DJ role is the most important at a festival or a club, because he decides the mood. It's kind of a big deal." This is the kind of meaningless proverb Tiësto garbles out of his food hole at the beginning of Episode 2: YOUR SHOT SELECTION: FROM THOUSANDS TO THIRTY.
The episode starts with Steve talking about this "huge pahty" that he swears "really is a lot of fun." It comes off like when weight-loss cream commercials tell me it's "real science!"
Steven then explains that the "selectors" judging this gaggle of wide-eyed sheep are made up of "promoters, managers, club owners, people who know how to recognize and identify talent." Then out comes the creative.
The ultimate judges are Steve himself, Tiësto's manager, this dude Ben, and a DJ named Jono who will act as head trainer for Your Shot contestants. They all agree that, just like Zac Efron says, all you need to be a star is a laptop, some talent, no morals, and a willingness to be molded into whatever is best for capturing market share.
What follows is a depressing succession of faces blurting that they just changed their major to music or how they don't have any furniture so they can save up for "equipment," which is all pretty essential on the path to VEVO-spurred superstardom. This one guy parts his hair like Skrillex. It's the same shit over and over. "Music is my life." "This will change my life." "I love Tiësto." "Thanks for the free soda" "Where can I see this later?"
In the end, they focus on a special few. There's Mike, the military man from North Carolina who uses music as a way to connect with "something else besides waking up every day and being attacked." There's Britt from Colorado and Steven from Miami. There's a pair of twins. Hours spent torturing myself with reality television has taught me that a lot of camera time means someone's going somewhere.
Narrowing down the applicants seems to consist of having a personality that "does it" for these four gentleman. It's a lot of talk about feelings and gut reactions. Talent has nothing to do with the process at this point, which means this is an exact representation of the EDM industry on any given day. Ben agrees.
They call the contestants. The contestants lose their shit! Fuck yeah!
Episode 3: YOUR SHOT: THE TRAINING BEGINS. Cue "The Only Way is (7)Up" in the background. Ecstatic participants huddle around the warehouse entrance where Steve explains that this is where they live now. Sadly, they don't make them live four to a bunk and knee-deep in filth like most aspiring DJs in the real world. As they walk in, the contestants find Tiësto tearing it up to an empty dancefloor. It makes them cry. They put their hands up. They put their fucking hands up.
Tiësto gives the aspirants an inspiring speech, then goes behind a wall and basically states that whatever he just said was bullshit. The kids are shown their first Pioneer mixer/turntable set up, and they buckle under the pressure. They're freaked out because "it's glowing" and it has "all the knobs on it." They don't know what the fuck is going on, but they've still got hope.
Jono breaks the 30 into groups of 8 (that's not math either, bruh), and explains the basics of DJing: This is a mixer, this is a fader, these are your headphones, this is a USB, those are your screaming fans, here's a sack of blow, there's your therapist, and we still can't find your dad but we're trying.
Immediately, people suck at beat matching. Thanks to a handy montage, a week flies by at the pace of Usain Bolt after main-lining adrenaline. Meanwhile, Steve takes contestants outside to talk to them about personal and emotional issues while filming them with far-away cameras. With another full minute of talk time, Mike the military man is still looking strong as a front-runner.
By Day 15, everyone is pretty much convinced they are going to be the new Diplo or Diplette. Steve brings them back to Earth and reminds them that some of them are good and some are just okay, but that the weak shall be slaughtered before the gaping maws of hundreds when they take the stage at a special showcase in LA two weeks hence. Those who survive head on to Vegas, the rest will be resigned to a lifetime of hogging the AUX-cord at kickbacks. And then, he hits them with the drop….THERE CAN ONLY BE SIX.
Sadly, that's all of the saga that's yet to be revealed. Who will survive the DJ camps? Who will be laid to waste at the hands of violent PLURies? Stay tuned. The future of EDM and your refreshment depends on it.
Kat Bein was once runner up in Celebrity Rehab: EDM Edition - @KatSaysKill