The masterminds behind Jersey Shore think they'll find the next batch of ridiculous TV personalities at a rave. Their planned electronic dance music reality show sounds tacky, ego-driven, and combustible—in other words, perfect. The world of EDM (as in electronic dance music) is full of the kind of hyperactive, garish digital stuff you'd hear throbbing over neon-colored crowds at massive festivals like Electric Daisy Carnival, Ultra, and Hard or clubs called Karma or Aztec. Some of the hottest DJs in this universe include Skrillex, David Guetta, Avicii, and Steve Aoki. They usually purport to play house, techno, and dubstep, but their takes on these styles pay as much homage to genre pioneers as Nickelback does to the Rolling Stones. Questions of authenticity aside, GQ's Ryan Leas was probably right in describing this hedonistic movement as, "the biggest thing going right now in youth culture."
Casting director Doron Ofir didn't have to look far for the idea to pit wannabe-EDM superstars against each other in a DJ competition reality show. One of his biggest discoveries, Pauly D, is now making millions DJing the kind of sub-Tiësto fare that passes for dance music these days. We don't know much about the show yet (like which channel will carry it, when it will start shooting, or what the prize for winning will be). But Ofir's production company has set up an online casting call, giving attention-seeking amateur mixmasters a chance to answer prompts like "Would you consider yourself a 'technical expert' or 'creative performer'?" and "BRAG! What are your best assets? Physical, material and social." Simon Cowell tried to launch a similar show earlier this year, but legal disputes dashed his DJ Idol dreams. We're hoping the Jersey Shore creators succeed in getting their show on the air, because it stands a chance of being the most trash-tastic series since Toddlers & Tiaras. Here's what the Jersey Shore version of a DJ competition show might look like:
Contestants who aren't here to make friends
For a scene supposedly built on good vibes and care-free reveling, EDM has quite a few anti-social curmudgeons, Toronto-based cartoon character Deadmau5 chief among them. Smearing the likes of Pauly D is his way of making small talk. Deadmau5 also called out the whole EDM community (including himself) earlier this year, writing on his Tumblr, "I think given about 1 hour of instruction, anyone with minimal knowledge of ableton and music tech in general could DO what im doing." Every reality show needs a competitor who approaches the game by burning every possible bridge, and plenty of EDM nerds seem willing to go full-on scorched earth.
The promise of untold riches
This wouldn't be like America's Next Top Model or The Bachelor, where competition is fierce, but pay-off is pretty low. DJs touring the EDM circuit make some serious scratch. In what other field can an artist make a quarter of a million dollars in one night? And if reality TV has taught us anything, it's that people are willing to do disgusting things for money.
Total lack of self-awareness
Egomaniacs are at their most entertaining when they don't even realize they're egomaniacs. And EDM rewards such clueless, persistant self-promotion. Take Al Walser, a totally obscure and exceptionally bad producer who managed to score a Grammy nomination this year by incessantly referring to himself as an "alround international entertainment mogul" on social media and cozying up to Recording Academy voters. Seriously, people like this guy would be on the show:
Just look at this human
You know you want to see some Skrillex-looking dude gaze earnestly into the confession cam just after being eliminated, tossing back his chopped and greased thicket of hair, saying, "The judges just couldn't get on my level, bro. My filthy drops party rocked their world too hard and they just couldn't deal, you know? Whatever. This only makes me stronger. You'll be hearing more from DJ ChunkyFr△me$. For real."
Another thing about EDM scenesters: they're down to ingest all manner of mind-altering substances. The kinds that make people do things they'd rather forget. And those embarrassing moments would be preserved by television cameras for posterity. If you're the type that gets freaked out by moral panic, you might cringe at the first-person accounts of huge outdoor raves like this one from music critic Jessica Hopper:
As a human and a mom, to see teen EDM fans laying passed out and unattended and boys with braces fishing a full water bottle of brown booze from their pants and taking a sneaky sip from it and and thinking, fucking A, kiddo if you drink more than 3 sips of that you probably will not be able to walk ... I was super surprised no one died.
But if you're an insatiable voyeur entertained by druggy shenanigans, this sounds like a reality TV goldmine.
You know who loves DJing EDM? Famous people who have nothing better to do. Wouldn't you watch a show where Lindsay Lohan or Paris Hilton or Elijah Wood randomly show up and start twiddling nobs to that one Avicii song?