Ryan Seacrest will produce the cover song competition series Best.Cover.Ever in collaboration with YouTube and production company EndemolShine (known mostly for reality hits like The Biggest Loser and MasterChef), as reported by The Hollywood Reporter.
The series will be hosted by Ludacris and will stream exclusively on YouTube. A roster of famous musicians will serve as champions / mentors for aspiring artists in a structure loosely based on popular TV singing competition shows. Participating musicians choose one of their most popular songs for contestants to cover, then choose the two best submissions — those two people appear on the show, and whoever wins (the metrics of that decision haven’t been announced), gets to record a duet with the famous person.
YouTube’s head of original content Susanne Daniels told The Hollywood Reporter that the show was inspired by the site’s history of helping amateur musicians get discovered: "YouTube is the best place for emerging musicians to be discovered, and Best.Cover.Ever. will encourage these artists to go for their dreams alongside the best in the business.” Ryan Seacrest echoed the sentiment, saying, “Cover songs are a terrific vehicle to help discover fresh talent, and YouTube is the perfect platform to do it.”
Though cover songs are undoubtedly a huge share of what you’ll see on any given day on YouTube, the claim that it’s the best way to get famous seems like a stretch. Justin Bieber is the go-to example of a pop star who was able to build a following around his YouTube cover videos, with Alessia Cara’s 2015 discovery by Def Jam the most recent example. But it’s not as if it happens every day, or even often. It’s easy to imagine a deadly drinking game centered on how often Best.Cover.Ever. drops Bieber’s name to amp up viewers and contestants.
But investing in a show that highlights YouTube’s glory days as a dream-launching platform makes sense for the site, especially amid growing unrest from its biggest personalities. The idea that the time when it was possible to get famous on YouTube is long over has also grown pretty deep roots, and this could be a way for the platform to counteract it. Putting a little muscle behind some young musicians makes sense if you’re looking for good will from creatives.
If you’re looking for your lucky break, you have until May 19th to throw your hat in the ring for the first round. Contestants can start submitting covers on the Best.Cover.Ever website now for a chance to be plucked from obscurity by Demi Lovato, The Backstreet Boys, or Jason Derulo, the first set of artists who have signed on to listen to dozens to hundreds of covers of one of their songs.
A premiere date for the series has yet to be announced.