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Critic's Notebook: Is 'Idol' Worth Saving?

It’s only July, and Idol is over.

This collection was created by Sam Levinson, Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye and Reza Fahim wrapped up season 1 on Sunday night with a finale so confusing that Levinson’s prediction His latest creation will be “the biggest show of the summer,” which seems ridiculous now. Conversation surrounding “Idol” , which has been ridiculed since premiered in Cannes in May , makes me wonder if it’s worth watching in some twisted way. Current speculation about its update changes the question: Can any part of it be salvaged?

Idol’s issues aren’t limited to gratuitous nudity or teen porn. The plot is thin and the narrative is incoherent. Storylines are happily picked up and discarded, their residue haunting the attentive viewer. Personality development? Who needs it. The show has no interest in its misfit characters. The acting leaves a lot to be desired, as does the casual pace. The play has a mindless aimlessness that contradicts its intended confidence. Each episode finds a tone; none more stilted than the last.

However, this season contained some inspirational moments – a glimmer of what the idol could have been.

Take the ending as an example, titled “Forever Jocelyn”. Like the pilot episode, this episode opens with our star reappearing in the center of the room. The camera zooms in on Jocelyn (Lily-Rose Depp), surrounded by a team tasked with reshaping her image. They look a little different now, though. Pushy cameramen calling the shots, timid intimacy coordinators, record label execs and teams of production assistants are all replaced by producers (Mike Dean plays himself), songwriters (artist Ramsay plays himself) and other artists . Who knows how long lived in Jocelyn’s mansion.

The singer clasped hands on a stand microphone as she crooned the lyrics to her latest single, a sexy pop song designed to reflect her latest experience. Her voice extends each lyric, and her eyes suggest an underlying defiance. Here’s Jocelyn’s reintroduction: She’s been in control of her image, her life, her body. If this had been a different show, the moment would have delivered a subtly jolt, subverting the premise of “ Idol ” about celebrity intrigue.

Instead, Jocelyn’s transformation feels like a cheap thrill. The show wants us to believe she’s never been a pawn — her vulnerability is most evident in the first few episodes, but she’s part of a wider deception. (Levinson and Tesfaye dizzyingly hinted at this in the “Idol” press conference.) But such a sudden change is hard to buy.

Much of Jocelyn’s twist comes in “A Star Belongs to the World,” the fourth episode of the bizarre, kitchen-sink episode featuring Jocelyn and Tedros Tears, torture and tension between (Tesfaye). In it, the pop star learns that her record company offered back-up dancer Diana (Jenny King) her single, and stumbles upon the real reason why she met Tedros that night at Tedros’ club. What appears to be accidental is actually calculated.

The news may have broken Jocelyn’s heart, and it certainly inflamed her. However, in pursuing this new thematic thread (the vengeful pop star), the show replaces its previous question of complicity—including that of the audience and that of Jocelyn’s team—with the same basic questions of power and domination. plot problem. Tell us through straight dialogue that the star is not who we believe. But of course she wasn’t. We never really get to know Jocelyn, she is presented as a fusion of various projections. When the show started, the singer tried to reinvent his image, not out of a sense of duty to himself, but to sell tickets. Jocelyn – like her fans – was a known serf.

Episode 4 introduces something worth delving into: Jocelyn’s relationship with Diana and her creative director Xander (Troye Sivan) hinting at a more sinister side of celebrity, And ask meaningful questions about the star’s motivations. What does Jocelyn get by including her friends (some of whom are more talented than she are) on the payroll? How to maintain the current system and make sure it only works for her?

“Idol” often foregoes the funniest leads to explore the inert dynamic between Jocelyn and Tedros. Their relationship and its supposed profundity are constantly being imposed on us. But while we’ve come to understand that neither Tedros nor Jocelyn can be trusted, we don’t know enough about them for their relationship to spark any emotion.

Watch Jocelyn’s manager Destiny (Ace Davon Joy Randolph), an outspoken boss, or get to know musician Yitzhak (Moses) Isn’t it more exciting? Samney), whose charm became a joke? Or is it Chloe (Suzanna Son), a talented singer whose haunting voice dominates the song “Family” at the end of the second episode? What happened to Talia (Hari Nef) of Vanity Fair reporter?

Researching any of these characters may lead to stronger storytelling. It also probably clarified whatever happened in the finale, which felt like the end of a completely different show. Between Tedros tweaking and Jocelyn snubbing his shots, idol managed to sort out its raison d’être: the fate of Jocelyn’s tour.

After a studio meeting in the first scene, the pop star calls her team home, including executive Andrew Finkelstein (Italy). Le Rose) and Nicky Katz (Jane Adams). A sense of déjà vu begins to set in as they echo the behavior of the pilot episode: They make scathing comments about Jocelyn’s mental health, worry about shareholder pressure, and worry about sunk costs. The meeting had an even more chaotic and frantic energy, as the suits got mixed up with what actually became Jocelyn’s cult.

The screenplay tries to make up for the hasty pace by wrapping up the main points with one-off quips: “Never trust those with tails”; That’s enough for you”; “Don’t you think people have the ability to hide who they really are?”

Time jumps forward six weeks into the future and we arrive at the first of Jocelyn’s tour night. The singer returned to the spotlight as she restored her reputation in a sheer white turtleneck. “Hello angels,” Jocelyn said to her fans, quoting Tedros at the premiere. Her unwavering voice and the mischievous twinkle in her eyes make you almost want to stay and see what happens next.



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