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Is "The Idol" the downfall of The Weeknd?

Rat tails, forgotten lyrics and far too much moaning for one man

Is The Idol the downfall of The Weeknd?  Rat tails, forgotten lyrics and far too much moaning for one man

The new hit series The Idol has released its first season, and it would be an understatement to say it was anything less than controversial. The show seemed to rely too heavily on shock value alone, and it has been accused of sexualising its female lead to the point of dehumanisation. This is to say that while the show divided many opinions, one thing that seems to have been collectively agreed upon is that The Weeknd’s participation in the series did not turn out well. The Canadian singer Abel Makkonen Tesfaye - who is now no longer called The Weeknd, having recently changed his stage name - made his acting debut in the 2023 tv series The Idol playing Tedros - A sleazy sex-crazed club owner. For apparent reasons, fans did not react well to this character. Tedros is possessive, abusive and insanely manipulative and treats everyone around him like his own personal property. However, while the character is purposefully designed to represent the scum of the earth (at least we hope it is by design), The Weeknd has unfortunately gotten his fair share of criticism after playing him in the series.

There is a long history of the audience having difficulty separating the actor from the character. We often associate actors with their most recognisable roles. Just think of Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow or Neil Patrick Harris as Barney Stinson. This is made more significant by the fact that Tesfaye's first big tv performance took place in one of the most watched shows of the year. Meaning it might be harder for the audience to separate the character from the actor. This has happened numerous times when actors have regretted portraying a particular character due to the backlash following them in their everyday life. Jack Gleeson who played the infamous Joffrey Baratheon in Game of Thrones ended up taking a break from acting due to all the hate he received after playing a villain on the show. So, while The Weeknd has not faced this level of hate from his character in the show, people have come forward on social media claiming that watching him on The Idol has made it more difficult to enjoy his music.

@thekylemarisa Did he get his face done? #blinditems #tea #gossipgirlhere #gossip #hollywood #celebrity #theidol #theidolhbo #theweeknd #theweekndexp #abeltesfaye #lilyrosedepp #angelinajolie original sound - KYLE MARISA ROTH

I think anyone with a TikTok account has seen the famous reel of a fan trying to listen to The Weeknd after watching The Idol and having no choice but to stop, after reliving some of the more uncomfortable scenes of the series. I must admit, after binging the show in one day, I do have a hard time listening to him say a single word without involuntarily crawling out of my skin. But hey,  maybe I am just not as into the whole "Attractive r*pist vibe” as they so elegantly put it. Besides the appalling dialog, the audience hasn’t been the biggest fan of The Weeknd’s acting in the series and has criticised him for giving an inconsistent performance. Claiming that he portrayed the character as creepy and weak when it looks like he was meant to go for a more intimidating performance. But for all of our mental health sakes, maybe we didn’t need to see the character in his fullest potential anyway.

Either way, it is one thing to play a character on a tv show but, in this instance, the role seems to have followed him to his life outside of The Idol. This became clear earlier this summer, when The Weeknd “Forgot how to sing” during his concert in May, claiming it to result from him taking on the role of a character that, unlike him, did not know how to sing. Tesfaye has come out describing the experience as «Terrifying,» as it seems that he has rallied after this bizarre event. He is performing in Milan today, on the 26th of July, and by all accounts it looks like it’s going to be a fantastic event in the making. Provided he can keep his Alter ego Tedros in check. Although Tedros surprised us all by making a surprise appearance on stage on what was perhaps the saddest ever after ending to this generation’s drugged-out Cinderella story, we are more than happy to see him not attend this concert in Milan. All things considered, it probably wasn’t the best move to try and portray such a complex and horrifying character as his first acting role. But it does seem that while his reputation did take a bit of a hit, his music career is alive and well and we are sure he will be back on his feet in no time. Who knows, maybe we will come to know him in amazing roles in future productions, as long as he learned his lesson: Never portray a character with a goddamn rat tail.