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The Idol: Why Shooting The Huge Finale Was An 'Insane' Nerve-Wracking Experience

Whether or not HBO's "The Idol" ending after Episode 5 was planned all along, the finale of its first and possibly only season is, at least, suitably grandiose. In particular, near the end of Episode 5's conclusion, pop star Jocelyn (Lily-Rose Depp) performs at Los Angeles' massive SoFi Stadium in front of more than 70,000 fans with the ragtag troupe of singers Tedros (The Weeknd) fostered as her opening act.

Following the fifth episode's premiere, HBO published a behind-the-scenes featurette to its YouTube channel in which director of photography Marcell Rév, co-creator Sam Levinson, and some of the cast members who appeared on the SoFi Stadium stage detail what it was like shooting this climactic concert sequence.

Rather than somehow artificially recreate a stadium environment, Rév and Levinson explain that they filmed all of their concert footage during the two L.A. dates of The Weeknd's 2023 tour. "We were a small crew that was essentially working alongside of this massive, incredible production that they put together for his After Hours til Dawn tour," Levinson says.

While figuring out how to film a TV show in the middle of a top touring act's stage show seems to have been plenty demanding in and of itself, it was perhaps the actors tasked with appearing in front of more than 70,000 real-life concertgoers, rather, that faced the most significant challenge during the making of this episode.

Lily-Rose Depp had to nail her concert scene in two takes

Since filming Jocelyn's big SoFi Stadium scene for "The Idol" Episode 5 effectively meant putting The Weeknd's performance on hold, Sam Levinson explains in HBO's featurette that, between the tour's two L.A. shows, they had to get the footage they needed in just two takes. Lily-Rose Depp, then, not only had to act in character for a stadium-sized crowd, but do so without making any significant mistakes lest they lose their narrow shooting window. "I was nervous about going out there for sure," Depp says. "But I just tried to put my Jocelyn hat on and be in character."

Whatever Depp may have attempted to push past her trepidation seems to have worked. According to Levinson, Depp gave just the performance the production required. "Lily doesn't bat an eye," Levinson says. "She delivered it in front of 70,000 people without breaking a sweat."

Suzanna Son and Ramsey, who both play singers in Tedros' troupe, likewise recount feeling nervous about working in the chaotic SoFi stadium environment. If "The Idol" is over and doesn't get a Season 2, then, this altogether bombastic finale to one of HBO's most divisive series was possible thanks to numerous cast and crew members overcoming their nerves and successfully pulling off a film shoot in the midst of a major concert.