‘The Idol’ finale: The 10 most WTF scenes

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The Idol wrapped up its reign as the most WTF-worthy show on TV with an absolute doozy of a finale.

Titled “Jocelyn Forever,” the fifth and final episode of The Idol‘s first season saw pop star Jocelyn (Lily-Rose Depp) seemingly end her relationship with cult leader Tedros (Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye), achieve great success, and kick off her world tour. But it wouldn’t be an episode of The Idol without some absolutely bonkers twists along the way.

From Jocelyn’s talent show to a truly baffling ending, here are the 10 most WTF moment from The Idol‘s finale.

Jocelyn stands up to Tedros.

A group of young men and women in sleepwear sit on the floor in a large room, looking up at a man sitting at a bar.

The cast of “The Idol.”
Credit: Eddy Chen/HBO

“Jocelyn Forever” opens with a nice change of pace. Instead of constantly bowing to Tedros’ whims, Jocelyn appears completely bored of his antics. “I’m done with you,” she tells him. Spoken like a true viewer of the show.

As great as it is to see Jocelyn finally stand up for herself, her change in attitude comes almost out of nowhere. In episode 4, we saw her distraught at the reveal that Tedros and Dyanne (Jennie Ruby Jane) engineered her first encounter with Tedros. Now she’s just cool, calm, and collected as she takes over his cult? It definitely feels like some connective tissue is missing between episodes 4 and 5, so we start the finale off on very wobbly footing.

Jocelyn throws a talent show.

A tattooed woman in a beige rhinestoned bra sings into a microphone.

Ramsey in “The Idol.”
Credit: Eddy Chen/HBO

When Live Nation representative Andrew Finkelstein (Eli Roth) tells Jocelyn he has concerns about her tour, she springs into action. She recruits cult members Chloe (Suzanna Son), Izaak (Moses Sumney), and Ramsey (Ramsey) to be her openers, and tells them they’re going to “put on the best fucking show they’ve ever seen.” The whole sequence has huge “we need to put on a show to save camp” energy — except instead of camp, it’s a tour worth millions of dollars. And instead of a cute musical by campers, it’s a lineup of seedy musical performances full of awkward gyrating and dry humping.

The scene might have been bearable in quick montage form, but what we get is an interminable sequence that lasts over 20 minutes. In between performances (where even Troye Sivan’s Xander gets in on the action), Jocelyn’s team lauds how talented these singers are and Tedros’ “genius” in bringing them all together. Nikki (Jane Adams) even says she wants to work with Tedros. Where did this come from? What are we doing here? Why do I feel the urge to never listen to any of these artists ever again?

Jocelyn’s ex Rob is falsely accused of rape.

A woman in a sheer silvery dress sits on a couch, reading something on a phone that's being held out to her.

Lily-Rose Depp in “The Idol.”
Credit: Eddy Chen/HBO

As the talent show slogs on, Leia (Rachel Sennott) tries to get Jocelyn’s attention about a breaking news story concerning her ex Rob (Karl Glusman). Turns out that Xander and cultist Sophie (Sophie Mudd) orchestrated a suggestive photo with Rob in episode 4 to manufacture a false rape accusation and ruin his career. When Jocelyn hears about this, she knows immediately it was Tedros’ doing. It’s the final straw for her, and she gets Chaim (Hank Azaria) to kick Tedros out. (Why didn’t she do it before now? Who knows.)

I love nothing more than seeing Tedros get ousted, but is The Idol really the show to try to tackle false rape accusations? This is a show that’s made intimacy coordinators the butt of a joke(opens in a new tab) and been labeled “torture porn.”(opens in a new tab) With its rape storyline, it perpetuates myths of false accusations(opens in a new tab) for a strange side plot.

Chaim tells a fairy tale.

A disheveled man in a room lit by a chandelier.

Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye in “The Idol.”
Credit: Eddy Chen/HBO

You know what I really needed from The Idol? Story time with Chaim. He tells Tedros a version of Little Red Riding Hood that’s supposed to be threatening, all intercut with Jocelyn preparing to perform for Andrew. (The Idol loves cutting between scenes more than Jocelyn loves brooding while smoking cigarettes.) Just like the talent show, the story goes on for too long, until Chaim concludes with the statement that he is the hunter in the fairy tale. Cool. Just say that and get Tedros out of here.

Jocelyn performs her new song “Dollhouse.”

A woman in a sheer black dress walks into an office.

Lily-Rose Depp in “The Idol.”
Credit: Eddy Chen/HBO

The talent show finally winds down, which means it’s time for the main event. Jocelyn performs her new song “Dollhouse” for Andrew, and it is…a lot. She writhes and crawls along the floor, in choreography I can only describe as “lap dance meets The Exorcist.”

Props to Depp for committing fully to the theatricality of the performance though, and props to Roth’s deliciously slimy delivery of Andrew’s reaction. “As a parent figure, I couldn’t fucking be more proud of you,” he says as Jocelyn kneels suggestively between his legs. Yes, it’s wildly on the nose, but it did earn a major snort from me.

Dyanne gets screwed over.

A woman sits at a table in a conference room.

Jennie Ruby Jane in “The Idol.”
Credit: Eddy Chen/HBO

The Idol seems to have a hard time remembering that Blackpink’s Jennie Ruby Jane is in this show, because we barely see her character Dyanne in the finale. (Or in the show’s other episodes, to be honest.) In “Jocelyn Forever,” we get one quick scene of her, where Nikki reveals that Dyanne’s career will take a backseat while her record label deals with legal troubles concerning the single “World Class Sinner.” Dyanne clearly knows Jocelyn had something to do with it, but before we get more of her reaction, she’s sent off in an elevator to who-knows-where.

Given Blackpink’s draw and Jane’s starpower, Dyanne’s storyline feels like major wasted potential. We could have explored a new starlet’s rise to power, or the competition between Dyanne and Jocelyn. But no, we have to make room for the Chloe/Xander/Izaak/Ramsey concert from hell. Can we at least get “World Class Sinner” (Dyanne’s Version)?

The time jump.

A group of pop stars and producers onstage in a massive stadium.

The cast of “The Idol.”
Credit: Eddy Chen/HBO

With Tedros out of the picture, The Idol jumps six weeks into the future. Jocelyn is about to open her tour, her singles have all been smash hits, and Vanity Fair reporter Talia (Hari Nef) published an exposé about Tedros. All of this is revealed in sloppy expositional dialogue from Jocelyn’s team. “Your employees stage a walkout claiming Jocelyn’s music is misogynistic and you weren’t scared?” Nikki asks Andrew. Later, she says: “‘Fill the Void’ jumped 8,000 percent just that day.” Honestly, I would have been much more interested in seeing these scenes play out and Jocelyn’s preparations for her tour instead of all the Tedros mess. (Also, how did Jocelyn organize a tour in six weeks off of three successful singles? She didn’t even have a music video six weeks ago!)

Jocelyn and Tedros reunite.

A man in a blue suit and a woman in a white dress hold hands in the backseat of a golf cart riding through a white hallway.

Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye and Lily-Rose Depp in “The Idol.”
Credit: Eddy Chen/HBO

And just when we thought Tedros was gone… he comes crawling back. Jocelyn invites him to her tour, and the world is worse off for it. “None of this means as much without you,” she says as they reunite in her dressing room. “I don’t like being apart.” Jocelyn, get a hold of yourself!

The worst moment of the whole episode comes when Tedros finds the hairbrush Jocelyn’s mother used to beat her with. “It’s brand new,” he says, eliciting a smirk from Jocelyn. Apparently, she’s been lying about her mother’s abuse this whole time, manipulating Tedros when he thought he was manipulating her. Not only is this a ridiculous plot twist — it also makes absolutely zero sense.

Jocelyn brings Tedros onstage.

A woman in a white dress holding a microphone onstage in a stadium speaks to a man in a blue suit.

Lily-Rose Depp and Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye in “The Idol.”
Credit: Eddy Chen/HBO

Jocelyn takes the stage in a white gown, greeting her fans with Tedros’ culty catchphrase: “Hello, angels.” After that, do we get to see her perform and unleash any of her star quality? Absolutely not. Instead, she introduces Tedros as the love of her life, brings him onstage, and kisses him before telling him he’s hers forever. Her team looks on in horror in what has to be the single most relatable moment of the season.

One, Jocelyn is running back to her abuser, albeit under the pretense that she’s been in control the whole time. (I don’t care what The Idol tells us, there is no way I’m buying that statement.) Two, how does she think this is going to play out? Tedros was torn apart in Talia’s Vanity Fair article. He’s lost his club, the IRS is after him, and she wants to publicly align herself with him? It’s a career-ruining move. (Although the screaming fans weirdly seem to suggest otherwise.)

The Idol ends with…a montage?

A woman in a sheer sparkly dress and a man in a black and white shirt argue in a hallway.

Lily-Rose Depp and Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye in “The Idol.”
Credit: Eddy Chen/HBO

As Tesfaye croons over The Idol‘s closing credits, we’re subjected to a montage of clips from the show, behind-the-scenes footages, and bloopers — including shots from the infamous Rolling Stone clip that never actually made the show. You know, in case you want to relive all the mess we just went through.

The Idol is now streaming on Max.(opens in a new tab)



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