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‘The Idol’ viewers agree: Blackpink’s Jennie is the highlight of a messy show

Making her acting debut in the controversy-laden HBO drama "The Idol," Blackpink's Jennie undoubtedly stole the show, viewers say.
Jennie in "the Idol"
Jennie in "The Idol."Eddy Chen / HBO

The premiere of HBO’s new series “The Idol” has been mired in controversy, but many say they found one major saving grace about it: Jennie, from the K-pop group Blackpink, in her acting debut.

“First episode of the idol was so bad,” one viewer tweeted. “Only entertaining part was watching jennie dancing.”

“The Idol” stars Lilly Rose-Depp as tortured pop star Jocelyn and Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye as a nightclub owner who tries to get close to her. Directed by “Euphoria” creator Sam Levinson, it’s been criticized for adopting what some say is a chauvinistic and exploitative perspective of its female characters, including extreme sex scenes. “It feels like a show made by CIS men cause it is,” a viewer tweeted after the first episode aired on Sunday.

Others have praised the show's brash storyline and messy character arcs.

HBO did not respond to a request for comment, but Levinson addressed some of the criticism on a panel at the Cannes Film Festival.

“We know that we’re making a show that’s provocative, it’s not lost on us,” he said. 

Days after its release, the biggest silver lining for fans seems to be Jennie, who has dominated Twitter timelines and TikTok For You pages for her performance as Jocelyn’s backup dancer and friend, Dyanne.

A YouTube video of her dance number alone has racked up nearly 2 million views. TikTok fan edits featuring some of her scenes have been viewed millions of times, and many are trying to recreate her moves. The first episode of “The Idol” brought in around 913,000 views on premiere night, according to Variety.

“The fact that all of this probably came truly easy to jennie because not only has it been her job for years now but also from all her training,” another fan said. “She IS the idol.”

Fans are hoping to see more of her in the coming episodes, they said.

“Jennie needs more lines,” one said in a YouTube comment. “I’m watching this show for Jennie.”