The last time we talked at length about The Idol, it was coming out of Rolling Stone’s report on the allegedly messy production with script barely finished and constantly changing last minute, schedules all over the place, and all of it going overbudget under Sam Levinson’s leadership. It was also reported that Sam and The Weeknd changed the tone of the show because they felt that it had too much of a “feminist lens” with sources claiming that they pivoted toward “torture porn”.
Then came the denials and the reassurances. The Weeknd brushed it off on Twitter. And after that it was confirmed that The Idol would premiere in Cannes which is kinda perfect for the kind of excess that the series is supposedly interrogating and/or glorifying. With less than a month to go now until the festival, we now have a longer trailer and, well, this is a perfectly cut trailer. And I’ll just quote myself from back in March when the controversy broke: this is exactly the kind of thing that will become a cultural talking point.
Who’s going to be able to turn away from this show? When Troye Sivan says….
“When was the last, truly f-cking nasty, nasty bad pop girl?”…
It’s not really a question, it’s a statement: whether or not we want to admit it, the culture – and that means us, we – love a truly f-cking nasty, nasty bad pop girl. We can’t get enough of her.
And he’s saying this over Britney singing “Gimme More” so it’s not like they’re trying to be subtle with their point. This isn’t subtle at all. It is, in fact, a surrender, giving into all of our basest desires and compulsions. We will condemn ourselves later for our indulgences, but for now we can’t look away. They’re leaning allll the way into the sleaze and daring us to ignore it. Pretty sure, given the reaction to the trailer yesterday, that it won’t be ignored. The Idol will be the thing we’ll be talking about all summer. That’s the price we’ll pay when the show comes out in June.
One more note: is it just me or … I buy every line that Abel delivers. His acting might be a story when this show drops too.
Attached - The Weeknd at Coachella on weekend one.