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EDM Is Taking Over TV: Yahoo Will Host Simon Cowell's DJ Reality Show

A wave of TV shows and movies steeped in EDM culture will wash over us this year.

It was only a matter of time until EDM culture came to reality TV. Nearly a year after signing a deal with dance music titan SFX Entertainment, Simon Cowell's upcoming reality show about DJs has found a home at Yahoo. Tentatively called Ultimate DJ, the new series will air weekly on Yahoo's online streaming platform Yahoo Screen according to Ad Age.

Cowell made his name as the scowling no-bullshit judge on American Idol and X-Factor, and the format for Ultimate DJ will be similar. DJs will submit songs to be voted on via social media. For the live portion of the show, they will battle in SFX-owned event venues, vying for supremacy through various challenges and performances. The winner will be selected through viewers' votes, although we're betting our bottom dollar that celebrity judges will also be involved. (Deadmau5 was born for this.)


Ultimate DJ was part of a deal between SFX, the world's largest electronic events producer, Simon Cowell's Syco Entertaiment, and mobile service provider T-Mobile. It was originally meant to be viewed both on the web and mobile devices, but with T-Mobile dropping out of the picture and Yahoo stepping in, it looks like the show will be online-only. While it would be fun to debate the quality (and integrity) of a show featuring Cowell and the hopefuls unafraid of tarnishing their club cred with a reality TV play, it's somewhat baffling that at least a basic cable network wasn't chomping at the bit to pick this one up, let alone why Cowell and SFX would partner with a web-only outlet. Not that EDM's core demographic watches actual TV anyway—a fact all parties are most likely very aware of.

Cowell's DJ competition is only the latest in a surge of television shows and movies that tap into electronic music culture—a trend that we pointed out at the start of the year. Will Ferrell's dance music comedy I'm In Love With the DJ, was picked up by Sony Pictures last year. We Are Your Friends, named after the iconic but painfully overplayed Justice vs. Simian track that you still know all the lyrics to, is due this year, starring Zac Efron and "Blurred Lines" eye candy Emily Ratajkowski. Eden, an indie film loosely based on Daft Punk and the French house music scene, is debuting at Sundance.

Superstar DJs are also hopping into the Hollywood game. Calvin Harris will star in the upcoming Entourage movie, where both he and Adrian Grenier will play DJ-superheroes from the future (at least, according to this trailer).

Harris is also developing an EDM comedy with Jay Z and Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh that will air on HBO.

Dance music has become such a prime player in pop culture that it now deserves a place on the silver screen. Whether Hollywood and TV stars like Cowell will be able to stay true to the culture—or bastardize it for mainstream consumption—remains to be seen.