The Weeknd, the Grammy-winning singer and songwriter, has ventured into the world of acting with his new HBO series ‘The Idol’. However, his debut performance as Tedros, a cult leader and self-help guru who manipulates a pop star named Jocelyn, played by Lily-Rose Depp, has been met with harsh criticism and ridicule from viewers and critics alike.
The show, which premiered on Sunday, has been plagued with controversy and scandal since its announcement. The original director, Amy Seimetz, left the production when it was nearly finished, amid rumors of creative differences and a toxic work environment. The show has also been accused of being a torture porn, a male fantasy, and a pretentious art project that exploits its subject matter and its female lead.
The Weeknd, who also serves as an executive producer and co-creator of the show, has been slammed for his lack of charisma, energy, and emotion in his role as Tedros. His acting skills have been described as nonexistent, awful, abysmal, and comically bad by various outlets and social media users.
“LOL. How did The Idol make it to the airwaves? It’s comically bad,” writer Roxane Gay tweeted. “I rarely say this because taste is subjective but don’t waste your time. Lol wow. Just so ridiculous. It takes effort to make a show this bad.”
Variety’s Stephen Rodrick wrote a scathing review of the show, focusing on The Weeknd’s performance. He mocked his opening line to Depp’s character: “You fit perfectly in my arms,” and his attempt to be seductive by saying “Hello Angel” to a mirror. He also noted that The Weeknd’s character lacked any hint of the bad boy persona that he portrays in his music.
“He immediately turns to a mirror and tries out a pickup greeting: “Hello Angel.” He says it twice, but it has neither a hint of illicitness or the emotional pathos of Alec Baldwin psyching himself up to a mirror on “30 Rock.””
On the other hand, Lily-Rose Depp’s performance as Jocelyn, a troubled pop star who tries to make a comeback after a mental breakdown, has been praised by some viewers and critics. Depp herself commended The Weeknd for his role during a breakdown of the first episode that aired post-premiere.
“I love Abel so much,” Depp said. “He was able to melt into this role in a way that is really difficult for anybody to do.”
Depp’s performance was not without controversy either. She was criticized for showing too much nudity in the first episode, which premiered at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival. The Hollywood Reporter wrote that “rarely does a scene go by without the camera showing flashes of her breasts or ass.”
Another surprise appearance in the show was Blackpink’s Jennie, who made her television acting debut as a dancer and friend of Jocelyn. She received positive feedback from some fans who enjoyed her dancing scenes.
“First episode of The Idol was so bad…only entertaining part was watching Jennie dancing bc everything else was trash,” a fan wrote on Twitter.
– On ‘The Idol,’ Why Are the Weeknd’s Acting Skills Nonexistent?, Variety, Jun 4, 2023
– Lily-Rose Depp praises The Weeknd as viewers label ‘The Idol’ ‘comically bad’, Page Six, Jun 5, 2023
– Despite Widespread Criticism Of “The Idol,” People Are Praising Blackpink’s Jennie In Her Television Acting Debut, Yahoo, Jun 6, 2023
– “The Idol” Earns Mixed Reviews & Harsh Criticism On Twitter, HotNewHipHop, Jun 6, 2023