The Idol reviews

‘Way, way worse than you anticipated’: The savage reviews for The Idol are here

‘Even the music is dreadful’

The Idol, the much anticipated TV show for HBO co-created by Euphoria’s Sam Levinson and pop music’s Abel ‘The Weeknd’ Tesfaye, has finally premiered in Cannes. A show that’s been surrounded by as much controversy, drama, backlash and cringe comments from its cast and creators as it has hype, many have been perched to find out if all the sagas surrounding the show were worth it when they heard what critics had to say about it. And, erm, it’s not good. To put it lightly. The savage reviews for The Idol are finally out, so here’s what everyone’s been saying about it. They did NOT hold back.

‘More toxic and way worse than you’ve heard’ – Rolling Stone

Rolling Stone savaged The Idol in their review, saying it’s “Nasty, brutish, [feels] much longer than it is, and way, way worse than you’d have anticipated.” Yikes. They also have the brutal kicker of “MEMO TO SHOWRUNNERS: When in doubt about your lead character, just cut to her masturbating while choking herself.”

‘Even the music is dreadful’ – The Telegraph

In a one star review, the always hilarious critic Robbie Collin says The Idol is so bad that it makes Showgirls look good and that the show contains the worst line of dialogue we’re likely to hear all year. Low key that makes me almost guarantee that I’ll be tuning in.

‘Plays like a sordid male fantasy’ – Variety

Variety actually somewhat praise the opening 23 minutes of The Idol, but then go onto rinse it for the way the show portrays Lily-Rose Depp’s Jocelyn and how “both [Lily] and they show appear trapped under The Weeknd’s thumb”.

‘Troubling sleazy attempt at satire’ – Evening Standard

In a particularly damning paragraph about The Idol, and perhaps the most poignant of all the reviews, Jo-Ann Titchmarsh writes “The extremely troubling issue with The Idol is its depiction of women. As Jocelyn, Depp spends most of her time semi-naked, either dancing (after two episodes, I feel like I could have a decent go at her music video choreography, which is shown repeatedly) or performing sex acts.

“She has no real agency and there is more than a strong hint of 50 Shades of Grey, the woman objectified, humiliated and physically hurt. Asphyxiation crops up frequently in the first two episodes, Jocelyn either pressing down on her throat while masturbating or having a sash bound tightly around her neck. While Depp is virtually naked throughout, Tesfaye barely even takes his jacket off.”

‘More regressive than transgressive’ – The Hollywood Reporter

With some mild praise to Lily-Rose Depp’s performance, Hollywood Reporter drags The Idol for “running on vibes” rather than story, comparing it unfavourably to season two of Euphoria


The Idol is set to premiere on HBO on June 4th 2023. 

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