The Idol is Over, And Why Are People Criticizing it?

The Idol

Sam Levinson and The Weeknd’s brainchild, The Idol, which released to polarizing opinions on HBO, has finally reached the end of this season. Promised to be the “show of the summer” by the Euphoria creator at the Cannes Film Festival, where the first two episodes were shown to critics, The Idol and its creators have drawn major flack from the Internet and critics alike, and it has had a development story that has generated major controversy.

What Is The Idol About?

The Weeknd and Lily Rose Depp for The Idol

The Idol features the story of Jocelyn, a pop idol and her tribulations within the music industry, after she has a breakdown and cancels her international tour. With label executives breathing down her neck and her tumultuous and volatile relationship with the leader of a cult and club-owner, Tedros, as things start complicating over time. The story was co-written by Levinson and Abel Tesfaye, or The Weeknd, who claim to be the “sick and twisted minds” behind the show. 


The cast for The Idol

The show stars Lily Rose Depp and Tesfaye as Jocelyn and Tedros. Besides that, the show features an extremely star studded cast, replete with pop stars and actors that are recently up and coming. One of them is Jennie Kim, member of the kpop sensation girl group, Blackpink, whose casting as Dyanne – a background dancer, Jocelyn’s friend, and a character with antagonistic motives generated a lot of hype among fans. Troye Sivan stars as a creative director, Xander. Rachel Sennott, Hari Nef, Moses Sumney and Dan Levy also star as recurring characters.

Production Trouble

Amy Seimetz

The show was initially set to be directed by Amy Seimetz, and was set to depict a starlet who falls prey to music industry and struggles to define herself as a musician and a person. However, Rolling Stone published an expose that stated that almost 80 percent of the production was completed when Seimetz had to leave because of a situation of creative overhaul. Apparently, The Weeknd felt that the show was leaning too much into a “female perspective”, and felt the necessity for change. Levinson reshot most of the series, and apparently the show went on to show everything it was meant to satirize. A number of unnamed sources stated that the show almost transformed into a hideous rape fantasy. Seimetz has refused to comment anything about the show’s development problems, but production members have told Rolling Stone, that she did try her best in very hard circumstances. 


The Idol has also generated a lot of controversy about sexualization and exploitation, with both fans and critics going ahead to call out the show’s problems. With Lily Rose Depp being almost always semi-nude throughout the show while The Weeknd barely shows skin, the show has been criticized for dredging out the same story of the troubled female pop star who succumbs to the debauchery of the pop machine. The show has been said to be yet another piece of media where the abuse that the female character faces is glamorized, not criticized. There is also the fact that the show has been rumored to be inspired from the life of Britney Spears, and when asked about it, Levinson neither confirmed nor denied anything. The show has also been criticized for its poor attempt at sexual dialogues, with many of them becoming memes. While many have praised the production value, the cinematography, and Tesfaye’s charity for letting filming take place in his house, the main issue has also been that the show manages to tie the strings together. The last “twist” has also been called unbelievable by critics and difficult to connect with the rest of the storyline because the show never truly shows the development of any of the characters, and instead chooses to focus on a chain of events that do not add up. The soundtrack has also been criticized for being lackluster.

The creators have generally tried to coast through criticism, with Tesfaye engaging in Twitter feuds with people criticising, responding to memes, and confirming theories. Depp has, on the other hand, assured that filming The Idol was a safe experience for her and she had no complications with it. Tesfaye, with the show ending on Sunday posted a commemorative tribute to the show on Instagram, captioning the photos as “The Finale. grateful to share this moment with you all as the season comes to an end. Continue to push the vision no matter how bumpy.”

It is debatable whether The Idol will end up having another season. There have been reports suggesting both, so we will have to wait and watch how things turn out. 

Join our vibrant lifestyle community.

No Spam - Promise! We're a good bunch.