The Weeknd Defends ‘The Idol’ Following Backlash: ‘I Wanted to Give a Ridiculous Response to It’


“Shows get reshot every day,” the singer said of his upcoming HBO music industry drama.

The Weeknd (Abel Tesfaye) in “The Idol.”

Eddy Chen/HBO

The Weeknd opened up about his upcoming HBO musical drama The Idol in a new profile on Tuesday (May 16).

Sitting down with Vanity Fair, the “Blinding Lights” singer otherwise known as Abel Tesfaye defended the forthcoming series after Rolling Stone reported production had been marred with controversy, the ousting of original director Amy Seimetz and a complete overhaul of the first season requiring extensive reshoots.

“I thought the article was ridiculous. I wanted to give a ridiculous response to it,” he said in the interview, pointing to his tweet responding to the story with a clip from The Idol in which his character, Tedros, questions, “Rolling Stone? Aren’t they a little…irrelevant?” To punctuate the dig, The Weeknd cheekily captioned his tweet with a direct message to the magazine, tweeting, “.@RollingStone did we upset you?”

Further, Tesfaye insisted there was no scandal when it came to replacing Seimetz with his co-creator Sam Levinson as director. “I actually really loved working with Amy,” he said, “and I’m sure she’s reading all this being like, ‘Why am I being thrown into this?’” Instead, he chalked up the behind-the-scenes switch to scheduling conflicts and production timelines, nonchalantly adding, “Shows get reshot every day … What are you gonna do? These are the trials and tribulations of it, and that’s what the show is about.”

The Idol, which stars Lily-Rose Depp as a mononymous pop star named Jocelyn and Tesfaye as her egotistical producer and mentor Tedros, is set to premiere at the Cannes Film Festival later this month before its wide premiere on HBO and MAX June 4. The show will also feature the likes of Suzanna Son, Rachel Sennott, Dan Levy, Troye Sivan, Moses Sumney, Jennie of BLACKPINK and more.

Read more from The Weeknd’s Vanity Fair interview about The Idol here and check out his cover shot below.

Get weekly rundowns straight to your inbox