“The Idol” loses 100,000 viewers due to the “worst sex scene in history”

“The Idol” receives a new wave of criticism after losing 100,000 viewers on cable compared to the first episode. 

After its first screening in the Cannes Film Festival, “The Idol” has sparked numerous controversies about the inappropriate, and even vulgar, narration about a vulnerable pop star in crisis Jocelyn (Lily-Rose Depp) and who falls into the web of the manipulative cult leader Tedros (The Weeknd).

the idol

In the last 10 minutes of episode 2, viewers witnessed a long sexual contact between Jocelyn and Tedros. In this scene, Jocelyn pleasured herself with a red blindfold around her eyes. At the same time, Tedros, fully clothed, talked dirty to her. The scene cut to the next morning when Jocelyn was lying bare-chested while Tedros was still having his clothes on.

According to GQ, they call this “the worst sex scene in history”, because there was no chemistry nor sufficient buildup to lead to the sexual encounter on-screen. This contact between Jocelyn and Tedros was purely a performance where the woman plays the lead role in a male fantasy in its purest form. The scene functions as a way to affirm that women like being used.

the idol

Apart from the critics, the audience could not help but feel an ick about the sex scene. According to Variety, the latest episode aired on June 11 received 800,000 viewers in total on Max and HBO. That is a drop of 100,000 viewers compared to 913,000 for the first episode.

Nonetheless, Warner Bros Discovery revealed that the streaming numbers of the two episodes were “nearly even”. In that case, a 12% viewership reduction happened on cable.

After the episode, most audience members say they find the sex to be hilarious and scary at the same time. They also lost much respect for The Weeknd.

The Weeknd’s response

Later, on June 13, The Weeknd spoke up in defense of his character in an interview with GQ. He declared that the sex scene in the second episode was not meant to show the intimacy between the two characters.


Specifically, he said, “No. There’s nothing sexy about it”, adding, “How ever you’re feeling watching that scene, whether it’s discomfort, or you feel gross, or you feel embarrassed for the characters. It’s all those emotions adding up to: This guy is in way over his head, this situation is one where he is not supposed to be here”.

When asked to describe the sex, he used “gluttonous”, an insatiable hunger, when Tedros was able to find a “big score” like Jocelyn.

Moreover, The Weeknd affirmed that his character is a loser, saying, “He comes off like such a loser. Those moments are the humanity that you find in a psychopath” when Tedros first arrived at Jocelyn’s place. He continued, “You try to be as mysterious as possible about who the character is so that you can take [the audience] on this journey. But piece by piece, week by week, we’ll reveal who he is. But he’s what you see on screen. He’s definitely a challenge. He’s despicable, a psychopath—why sugarcoat it?” explaining the motive behind portraying such a despicable character.                                 

Source: British GQ, Variety

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