The Weeknd’s controversial series ‘The Idol’ debuts at Cannes

Courtesy HBO

The Weeknd’s controversial new HBO series, The Idol, premiered at the Cannes Film Festival Monday night.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the show received a five-minute standing ovation and co-creator and director Sam Levinson got choked up while addressing the audience. Despite a scathing exposé by Rolling Stone criticizing the show as “torture porn,” Levinson said he was “proud of this show, proud of how we made this show.”

The Idol stars Lily-Rose Depp as Jocelyn, a pop star in crisis. The Weeknd, in his TV acting debut, co-stars as Tedros, a cult leader who seduces Jocelyn.

Levinson praised the cast, telling the Cannes crowd, “I feel like I gained a family. I know that’s a little culty, but that’s how it feels.”

So far, reviews of the show have compared it to Levinson’s previous show, Euphoria, in terms of its racy content.

The Idol debuts on HBO June 4.    

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