The finale of “The Idol” aired on Sunday night, leaving a controversial debate about its inspiration in its wake.
Many people, whether they watched the show or not, have spent the last few hours reacting to reports that the negatively-rated drama was most likely inspired by the life of Selena Gomez.
In the series, co-created by the superstar’s one-time boyfriend, The Weeknd, and director Sam Levinson, viewers see a troubled singer, Jocelyn [played by Lily-Rose Depp], fall for a cult leader, Tedros [played by The Weeknd], who subsequently controls, sexually abuses, and at one point physically assaults her.
Fans Believe Selena Gomez Might Be More Connected To ‘The Idol’
Although it has been shrouded in controversy even before it premiered, the conversation that followed the end of its first season has taken things up a notch. Critics of the drama series had more than enough to say after BuzzFeed compiled a list of similarities between Selena’s life and that of Jocelyn’s, starting with both of them being pop stars who started their careers as child actors on a hit show for children.
Although “The Idol” character’s acting engagement remained unknown throughout the show, Selena’s famous breakout role as Alex Russo occurred in Disney’s “Wizards of Waverly Place” in 2007. The pair’s next similarity came in the form of a relationship with their mothers, with Jocelyn’s tumultuous one often veering into abusive territory.
As much as the “Only Murders in the Building” actress has never alluded to having an abusive relationship with her mom, Mandy Teefey, the matriarch has certainly been vocal about her disapproval of her daughter’s past relationships, including the year-long romance with Justin Bieber.
A third likeness was their tour cancelations — Selena canceled her “Revival” world tour with a few months left to go, revealing her struggles with “anxiety, panic attacks, and depression” after she was diagnosed with lupus. For Jocelyn, this manifested in the premiere episode of “The Idol,” where she recently canceled her own world tour following her mother’s death.
For her comeback, the character donned red lingerie and a hospital bracelet imitating images of the “Spring Breakers” star rolling around a bed while wearing a hospital bracelet in the music video for her 2020 single, “Bad Liar.”
The most heartwrenching affinity came in a spliced video containing a scene of Jocelyn monologuing about not allowing “the trauma” of her past to affect the person she wanted “to be moving forward.”
Similarly, Selena had an Instagram Live, admitting that she was “terrified of what these magazines are going to say about me.” Both Jocelyn and Selena touched on the public’s portrayal of them as “chaotic” or “going crazy” for using Live to convey their message, while doubling down on the choice.
In the wake of the publication, one person tweeted, “The Idol being a vanity project for The Weeknd but exploiting Selena Gomez’s life is actually so sick.” A second netizen claimed, “ever since finding out the idol is probably just the weeknd’s selena gomez fanfic i haven’t been able to sleep.”
“That theory about the idol being about Selena Gomez makes so much sense that it’s almost scary. The Weeknd is shady as f**k 😂,” a third person wrote. A fourth cybercitizen partly added, “holy sh** everything is so creepy, it almost makes the show even more sinister knowing what else they were planning on adding in the show.”
The Sex-Fueled Show Wrapped Up Earlier Than Previously Planned
Fans of “The Idol” were left clutching their pearls after an announcement that the show would wrap up after five episodes, instead of its originally scheduled six, dropped. The message was conveyed in a preview of its fifth episode with a “season finale” tag accompanying it.
The unexpected development left some fans wondering how the short-lived drama would address the rest of its numerous plot lines in just an episode. Other spectators simply shared their theories on why the show met its end quicker than expected.
“im starting to think either the idol critics were saying stuff just to say it to exaggerate or they were genuinely right and sam cut out certain scenes, hence why we’re getting 5 instead of 6 episodes and episode 3 was only 45 minutes,” one viewer declared. A second onlooker asserted that the drama’s parent network, HBO, had “realized what a mess it was and just decided that it wasn’t worth fighting for,” adding:
“Especially after having 3 record breaking viewership shows such a HOTD, Succession, and The Last of Us yeah there’s no reason for them to renew this shitshow. It’s not a loss for them.”
Per The Blast, a source has since refuted the news of the show’s outright cancelation, stating, “it was never meant to be a long-running show, it was always a limited series.”