Like her sworn enemy Azealia Banks, pop star/futurist Grimes is known for her controversial lifestyle and politics—which have included procreating with blowhard tech billionaire Elon Musk and announcing that she was no longer an “avowed communist”—but she’s consistently compelling when she weighs in on pop culture. Case in point: She brings up some sound arguments about the cancellation of The Idol.
On Wednesday, HBO announced that “after much thought and consideration,” it was axing the controversial series conceived by Abel Tesfaye, aka The Weeknd, and Euphoria boss Sam Levinson. The show, which premiered in June to mostly harsh reviews, saw the “Blinding Lights” singer playing Tedros, a perverted nightclub owner who leads Lily Rose-Depp’s impressionable pop star character down a dark, twisted path.
During The Idol’s short-lived run, it managed to simultaneously earn disappointing ratings while pissing off nearly everyone who tuned in: Many viewers hated the explicit dialogue and recoiled at Tesfaye’s performance, so much so that he gave contemporaneous interviews defending the show. HBO even had to scramble to shut down rumors of the show’s cancellation midway through the season.
Grimes, however, is bummed that The Idol won’t be back. “Call me crazy but I rly loved the idol,” she began a lengthy Twitter thread on Wednesday night. “I feel like they didn’t have time to finish it but it reminded me of perfect blue meets basic instinct kinda? I wish they could have another season to rly get into the Machiavellian femme fatale arc w Depp.”
Call me crazy but I rly loved the idol. I feel like they didn’t have time to finish it but it reminded me of perfect blue meets basic instinct kinda? I wish they could have another season to rly get into the Machiavellian femme fatale arc w Depp. https://t.co/KVIddsqcHS
— Feyd H (@Grimezsz) August 29, 2023
The Idol [spoiler alert!] ended its first season with Depp’s character improbably turning the tables on Tedros, and with the implication that it had been her who’d been manipulating him the entire time, as well as potentially lying about her own mother’s abusive behavior.
“The music is also p good in it honestly - I wasn’t expecting that. ... I liked the over the top dialogue,” Grimes continued. (Indeed, Depp, as her character Jocelyn, released a perfectly raunchy pop song called “World Class Sinner / I’m a Freak” this summer that’s earned nearly 9 million views on YouTube.)
Grimes also praised the show’s dance choreography and the performance turned in by Jennie Kim, a real-life pop star with the mega-famous girl group Blackpink, before concluding, “It had its flaws but I am so tired of everything being perfect. I loved the messiness and the humanity and the self indulgence...I ride for the idol haha idk.”
Here’s the thing: Grimes may have made an alarming heel turn into becoming an ideological foot soldier for the world’s scariest technocratic overlords, but when it comes to the arts, she knows what she’s talking about. The Idol was cringingly bizarre, very flawed, and reportedly excruciating to make for its crew and ousted director Amy Seimetz, but it was reaching for something provocative and challenging on a mainstream platform. That, at least to some, is worth mourning.