The Weeknd has teamed up with Playboi Carti and Madonna on a raunchy new single for his upcoming miniseries The Idol.
With a cast led by The Weeknd and Lily-Rose Depp, the show follows a pop star who falls for a cult-leading nightclub owner, according to Deadline.
Its new song, entitled Popular, includes scathing lyrics about a woman so obsessed with fame she will ‘sell her soul’ and ‘kill anyone’ to attain it.
‘I’ve seen the devil down Sunset, in every place, in every face,’ Madonna, 64, says in a mesmeric, low voice during the intro.
Then The Weeknd proposes to ‘give her a little taste’ of notoriety, leaving her ‘runnin’ back to me. Put it in her veins, pray her soul to keep.’
He makes fun of the subject of his song, who ‘lives a lie’ to the point she ‘calls the paparazzi, then she acts surprised.’
The chorus begins: ‘Beggin’ on her knees to be popular. / That’s her dream, to be popular. / Popular, just to be popular. / Everybody scream ’cause she popular. / She mainstream ’cause she popular. / Never be free ’cause she popular.’
‘Money on top of me, money on top of her,’ Playboi Carti interjects. ‘Shawty f*** with me ’cause she know I’m popular.’
‘I know that you see me, time’s gone by,’ the Queen Of Pop then croons. ‘Spend my whole life runnin’ from your flashin’ lights.’
The Idol caused a media sensation last month after it was screened at the Cannes Film Festival, ahead of its season premiere this Sunday.
Lily-Rose put on an incredibly chic display at Cannes with The Weeknd, who co-created The Idol with former nightlife entrepreneur Reza Fahim as well as Sam Levinson, the writer behind Euphoria.
Sam, whose own history with drugs helped inspire Euphoria, is Lily-Rose’s fellow ‘nepo baby’ as the son of the acclaimed director Barry Levinson.
Upon its premiere at Cannes, The Idol got a five-minute standing ovation but also provoked a raft of blistering responses from critics.
The Playlist’s Gregory Ellwood called the second episode ‘Sexist, pseudo-porn,’ while the New York Times’ Kyle Buchanan dismissed the show as ‘a Pornhub-homepage odyssey’ starring ‘Lily-Rose Depp’s areolas,’ and The Wrap dubbed it ‘luxury sleaze.’
‘Lots of strong reactions to #TheIdol out of #Cannes2023 – ranging from: “I hated it” to “the TV version of clickbait” to “I don’t need to see any more of Lily-Rose Depp naked,”‘ tweeted Variety reporter Ramin Setoodeh, author of the bestselling book Ladies Who Punch about the backstage drama on The View.
Much of the chatter revolved around Lily-Rose’s raunchy role, which at one point involves an apparent picture of her character with semen on her face.
Insiders have alleged to Rolling Stone in March that the show was almost completely reshot in order to give it less of a feminine outlook.
Pet Sematary actress Amy Seimetz, who has also helmed such movies as Sun Don’t Shine and She Dies Tomorrow, was claimed to have directed around 80 percent of The Idol before she left the project.
The Weeknd was said to have felt The Idol had an excessively ‘female perspective’ and wanted the plot to give his character more attention than Lily-Rose’s.
Sam stepped in as director and reshot the show, which reportedly was heavily rewritten with so much raunchy material that one source was left thinking: ‘What is this? What am I reading here? It was like sexual torture porn.’
Other sources, however, said that the insiders Rolling Stone quoted had made their remarks without seeing the finished product.
The Weeknd responded publicly by denouncing the report as ‘ridiculous,’ arguing to Vanity Fair: ‘Shows get reshot every day.’
Lily-Rose also defended Sam, issuing a statement to AND! News in which she called him ‘for so many reasons, the best director I have ever worked with.’
She added: ‘Never have I felt more supported or respected in a creative space, my input and opinions more valued.’
The showbiz legacy continued: ‘Working with Sam is a true collaboration in every way — it matters to him, more than anything, not only what his actors think about the work, but how we feel performing it.’
At a press conference at Cannes, Lily-Rose defended the extensive nudity on the show, arguing that ‘the occasional bareness of the character physically mirrors the bareness that we get to see emotionally in her,’ according to People.
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