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Is Fatboy Slim's Criticism Of Dance Music On Television Hypocritical?

Back in April, we reported on Simon Cowell's upcoming Ultimate DJ reality show. Over the weekend, Fatboy Slim pleased dance music fans by telling Digital Spy what his reaction to the show was. The legendary DJ said, "Simon Cowell was talking about doing a show and everyone in the business, he kind of started approaching us [DJs], and we were like, 'F**k off. No - that's a terrible idea!'" Awesome response, right?

Fatboy Slim added, "That's the good thing about dance music; it grows organically through drunk people late at night coming up with stupid ideas. It's not something that can be scripted or transported into a TV studio."

He's absolutely correct. It's difficult to script dance music and transport it into a television studio. However, Fatboy Slim did exactly that when he played at the 2012 Olympics closing ceremony. I was excited to watch one of my favorite DJs of all time spin during the event, but I was dismayed to find out that his equipment wasn't even plugged in.


The miming by Fatboy Slim made me cringe, and I was extremely disappointed. I completely understand that the music needed to be synchronized with the production during the ceremony, but I was still let down. I wanted the world to witness a live set from one of dance music's most talented artists. Unfortunately, we received a short pre-recorded set. 

I was able to forgive Fatboy Slim for the disingenuous performance, as he is just too talented and cool. I mean, the 2012 Olympics were in London, and Fatboy Slim must have been honored to to play at the closing ceremony in his home country. He was likely willing to make concessions, including miming a set so that the people who planned the closing ceremony could easily sync everything. Who wouldn't want to be a part of the Olympics in their native country? 

Since then, he has proved his high-level talent as a DJ by performing mind-blowing stateside sets at EDC Las Vegas and Coachella. Additionally, he produced the raver anthem of 2013 with "Eat Sleep Rave Repeat." 

His recent comments just rubbed me the wrong way, though. His set at the Olympics actually led to some of my friends criticizing DJing. He is one of the industry's foremost purveyors of dance music, and he pretended to play a set on one of the world's biggest stages. Now, he's saying that dance music cannot be scripted, yet he is one of the prime examples of dance music being scripted.

On the flip side, maybe Fatboy Slim's experience at the Olympics is what made him realize that dance music cannot be transported into a television studio? I'm a massive fan of the legend, and I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt in this situation.

In any case, I agree that Ultimate DJ is a bad idea. There are ways that Simon Cowell can make it a respected program, and he did make a good decision in trying to bring Fatboy Slim to the show. When the show is aired, however, I expect it to completely cater to the mainstream. Cowell will need to get high ratings for the show to be viable, and underground music won't help him receive the ratings he needs.

I commend Fatboy Slim for speaking out on the show, but my immediate thought was that he's being hypocritical. Regardless, he will continue to be one of my favorite people in the industry. He is a great ambassador for dance music, and I can't think of many DJs who can rock a crowd quite like Fatboy Slim.

[H/T: Digital Spy]

Cover image credit: Pokerknave
Article image credit: CBS New York

Disclaimer: The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of EDM.com.

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