In January of this year, U.K. TV mogul Simon Cowell announced plans for an X Factor offshoot to find a new superstar DJ. “DJs are the new rock stars,” Cowell said at the time. “It feels like the right time to make this show.” Unsurprisingly, the majority of dance music fans didn’t feel the same way. Cowell was reported to be bringing his own production house together with Overbrook Entertainment, the juggernaut headed by Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith, to create the series. However, a report from the New York Post over the weekend confirms the dream is over. “Syco and Overbrook decided not to proceed together on a DJ-competition show,” a rep told the paper. Apparently production stalled due to a dispute about which party would have top billing.
As short-lived as the plan was, at least it offered one entertaining moment: Steve Lawler’s spot-on parody trailer (see below), The Dex Factor, which imagined Cowell and co. reacting to sets from Lawler, Carl Cox, Sven Vath and Richie Hawtin’s Plastikman, before settling on the novelty glasses-wearing, USB stick-wielding DJ Facebender.
In April, scene stalwart John Digweed perfectly summed up the general sentiment towards Cowell’s enterprise. “I think probably from a commercial standpoint they will probably find someone extremely cheesy, extremely commercial that will probably go on to do very very well,” he told Magnetic Mag. “From the world I come from, it doesn’t mean anything at all. I try not pay too much attention to it really.
“I think DJing on TV, how are you going to gauge someone’s ability in five minutes, you know? Should be over a whole period of time, DJing in different clubs around town, the country, or around the world, building up a fan base.”