‘The Idol’ Misses The Mark With It’s Music Industry Portrayal

As music lovers, we all love an album cycle. From the cryptic teasers to single drops, to live performances, new eras give us a rebirth of our favorite music stars. In this current age, pop stars have to keep up with their contemporaries to stay relevant. Like most markets, the music world is oversaturated. Artists can blow up overnight, while veteran performers have to maintain their core fanbase.

The Idol is a new HBO Max show by Euphoria director Sam Levinson and Canadian singer-songwriter The Weeknd. It follows pop star Jocelyn, played by Lily Rose-Depp, trying to make a comeback to music after the death of her mother. This death caused her to spiral, leading to a public breakdown. This comeback doesn’t come easy, however. A compromising photo of Jocelyn is leaked, causing everyone around her to hide from her. With many people’s careers on the line, will Jocelyn be successful, or is another psychotic break imminent?

IS the Show good?

Well… not really. The supporting cast such as the CEO of Live Nation and her manager are meant to represent the “reality of the industry”. They speak cruelly to Jocelyn and care purely about themselves and profits. However, the writing is poor. The characters and their lines are very hollow.

The show also suffers from a mixed bag of actors. Highlights from this cast include Lily Rose-Depp, Rachael Sennott, Troye Sivan and Hari Nef. Each of these actors and singers give strong performances, most notably Rachael Sennott. As the comedic relief and best friend to Jocelyn, she stole every scene with her comedy and made her relationship with Jocelyn feel genuine. In addition, the cameo by Blackpink’s Jennie showcases her star power and dancing abilities. Out of all the performances, the worst is, unfortunately, Abel Tesfaye, otherwise known as The Weeknd. As a singer, he has a powerful voice with wide ranging emotions. However, none of that translated into this performance. Each line was delivered the exact same, and his character was not the least bit intimidating.

commentary on the music industry

When promoted, this show promised fans a look into the dark side of the music industry. Essentially, we were told this show would expose the common person to the troubles artists face. However, those troubles aren’t really shown and what we see isn’t revolutionary. The main themes are artists being overworked, overbearing record labels, and performers engaging in substance abuse. While these themes are essential to highlight, they aren’t anything pop culture and music industry fans don’t know about. This show has labeled American singer-songwriter Britney Spears as an influence, and it seems to be mirroring her life, without anything new being added to the table. It’s ok to use common themes. But when these themes are paired with poor writing, it doesn’t seem like the director doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

IS there good music in the show?

A saving grace of The Idol is its soundtrack. The Weeknd created the soundtrack to accompany the release of this show. Two singles, entitled “Double Fantasy” with Future and “Popular” with Playboi Carti and Madonna have been released. These singles are fantastic, and blend well with the themes of the show. For fans of The Weeknd, it’s probably best to stick with the soundtrack and skip the show.

While the first episode of The Idol was disappointing, I have hope that the show can develop and improve in quality. The teaser for the rest of the season promises an intense story and I am willing to continue to watch.

Here at Mic Drop Music, we want to know if you watched The Idol premiere! Did you enjoy it? Comment below!

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