Why Do People Hate Olivia Rodrigo: Why Some Hearts Resist Her Melodic Magic

Olivia Rodrigo burst onto the music scene in 2021 with her smash hit single “Drivers License” and debut album “Sour.” The 18-year-old singer-songwriter quickly became one of the biggest breakout stars of the year.

However, with massive fame came some backlash and Rodrigo has garnered her fair share of haters. Here’s an in-depth look at some of the main reasons why people hate Olivia Rodrigo.

Claims of Song Plagiarism

One of the biggest criticisms against Olivia Rodrigo is accusations that she has plagiarized or copied elements from other artists’ songs.

“Drivers License” Backlash

The first major plagiarism controversy happened with the release of “Drivers License” in January 2021. Many fans noticed similarities between Rodrigo’s breakup ballad and the song “New Year’s Day” by Taylor Swift.

Both songs are piano-driven pop ballads with lyrical references to driving alone and crying in a car. While the songs have similarities in mood and theme, direct plagiarism was never proven. However, some fans criticized Rodrigo for not acknowledging Swift as an inspiration.

Comparisons to Other Songs

After the success of “Drivers License,” Rodrigo’s next singles faced more plagiarism scrutiny. Her follow up song “Deja Vu” was compared to “Crush Culture” by Conan Gray for having a similar riff and melody. Meanwhile, her punk-rock inspired single “Good 4 U” faced backlash for sounding too similar to Paramore’s 2007 hit “Misery Business.”

While musical ideas often get reworked in new creative ways, Rodrigo faced criticism for not openly citing her influences upfront. Some saw it as stealing rather than paying homage.

Potential Lawsuit from Courtney Love

In June 2021, singer Courtney Love accused Olivia Rodrigo of copying the cover design of her band Hole’s 1994 album Live Through This for a promotional image.

Rodrigo’s photo featured her in dark mascara with a similar beauty queen tiara and hairstyle as Love’s album cover. While Rodrigo took down the image, Love threatened legal action if the young star didn’t properly credit her influence.

Accusations of Inauthenticity

As a Disney star turned pop-punk singer, Olivia Rodrigo’s credibility in the genre faced skepticism:

Disney Actress Turned Rock Star

Critics questioned if Rodrigo’s angsty rock reinvention was calculated and inauthentic. The California native became famous playing a sweet Disney character on the show Bizaardvark before adopting a darker pop-punk look for her solo music. To some, it seemed like a manufactured attempt to gain credibility rather than an organic artistic evolution.

Lack of Credibility in the Genre

Moreover, as someone who found fame through a Disney show, Rodrigo lacked credibility as a punk or alt-rock artist in some critics’ eyes. Established pop-punk bands who had been in the scene for decades took issue with a Disney actress adopting the sound. Some saw it as Rodrigo trying on the genre’s aesthetic like a costume.

Came Across as Inauthentic Persona

From her lyrics to her style, naysayers accused the teenage singer of faking an angsty persona and identity. The glossy production and promotional images made her rock evolution seem more manufactured than authentic to critics.

Swift Rise to Fame

Olivia Rodrigo’s incredibly rapid rise to fame also sparked some backlash and jealousy:

Instant Success with “Drivers License”

Rodrigo broke streaming records with her debut single “Drivers License” which went viral on TikTok. The unprecedented level of success for a new artist caused some skepticism and envy from others in the industry. Critics dismissed her as just a TikTok fad.

Made History on Billboard Charts

At age 18, Rodrigo landed multiple #1 hits and broke chart records held by the Beatles and Carole King. She became the youngest solo artist ever to debut atop the Billboard Hot 100. The ease of her achievements with minimal previous credits frustrated some.

Won 3 Grammys with Debut

Capping off her meteoric year, Rodrigo won 3 Grammys for Best New Artist, Best Pop Vocal Album, and Best Pop Solo Performance. Rarely does a brand new artist experience that level of Grammy recognition right out the gate. Some felt it was unwarranted hype.

Reached Fame Fast

Overall, going from Disney actress one day to pop superstar the next rubbed critics the wrong way. Artists who struggled for years in the industry without recognition were annoyed by the swiftness of her success. The overnight fame seemed undeserved to naysayers.

Perceived Lack of Talent

Underlying much of the backlash is a perception among critics that Olivia Rodrigo lacks genuine artistic talent:

Average Vocals

While Rodrigo has a very emotive voice, some complain her raw vocal ability is nothing special. Critics say powerhouse singers like Ariana Grande blow her away in terms of range and technique.

Relies Heavily on Co-writers

Rodrigo is not the primary writer on most of her hits. She relies heavily on seasoned pop songwriters like Daniel Nigro to help craft lyrics and melodies. To some, this shows a lack of authentic artistry.

Success Attributed to Marketing

Cynics argue Rodrigo’s success comes from marketing buzz and the Disney machine’s promotion rather than her talent. Critics say below average singers can be propped up with good production and promotion.

Basic Musical Ability

Moreover, Rodrigo came into the industry known primarily as an actress, not a musician. Skeptics question if she even plays an instrument or has any formal music training. While she has an ear for catchy melodies, some say her actual musical ability is unproven.

Manufactured Image

Finally, naysayers feel that Rodrigo’s voice and persona are overly manufactured by her management company. They see her punk-pop reinvention as evidence she lacks her own creative vision and musical identity.

Media Over-Hype

Another source of backlash is the feeling among critics that the media over-hypes Olivia Rodrigo’s talents:

Excessive Grammy Wins

Rodrigo’s three Grammy wins for her debut album struck many as undeserved and over-praise. Critics argued far more established artists were passed over so the Grammys could coronate the new “it girl.”

Unearned Press Coverage

The amount of press coverage Rodrigo received in 2021 far exceeded her resume, in some critics’ opinions. Established artists with catalogs dating back decades expressed annoyance at the excess coverage.

Premature GOAT Comparisons

Some of the praise lavished on Rodrigo proclaimed she was reinventing pop music and compared her to the “greatest of all time” after just one album cycle. Detractors felt these accolades were absurdly premature.

Critical Acclaim for “Sour”

While “Sour” received widespread critical acclaim, some argued it was an average pop album over-praised mainly for its TikTok-friendly singles, not as a cohesive work. They believed the press over-inflated the quality.

Seen as Industry Manufactured

There is a perception that the music industry and media rallied around Olivia Rodrigo and decided she would be the next big thing, regardless of actual talent. Critics see the over-hype as artificial on the industry’s part.

Table Comparing Olivia Rodrigo to Other Young Pop Stars

ArtistBackgroundWriting CreditsVocalsPerformanceAwards
Olivia RodrigoDisney actressCo-writerEmotive with average techniqueDeveloping stage presence3 Grammys for debut
Billie EilishIndie artistSole writerDistinctive, ethereal styleConfident stage presenceMultiple Grammys
Shawn MendesVine starCo-writerPowerful technical abilityCharismatic performerNo Grammy wins
Conan GrayYouTube artistSole writerBeautiful toneTheatrical flairNo Grammys


In summary, Olivia Rodrigo elicits strong reactions from both fans and critics. While her meteoric success is undeniable, some question the authenticity and level of artistry behind it. Accusations of plagiarism, over-hype from the media, and perceived lack of genuine talent fuel the backlash.

But at just 19-years-old, Rodrigo’s career is just getting started. Only time will tell whether she has real staying power or is merely a flash-in-the-pan pop phenomenon.

Regardless, her monumental impact on pop music in 2021 makes her one of the most controversial and polarizing new artists to emerge in recent memory. The debate around her talents will likely continue for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions About Why People Hate Olivia Rodrigo

Does Olivia Rodrigo plagiarize songs?

Olivia Rodrigo has faced multiple accusations of plagiarism and copying elements from other artists’ songs. Her hits “Drivers License,” “Deja Vu,” and “Good 4 U” in particular drew comparisons to songs by Taylor Swift, Conan Gray, and Paramore. While direct plagiarism was never proven, Rodrigo faced criticism for similarities.

Is Olivia Rodrigo’s image authentic?

Some critics have accused Olivia Rodrigo of projecting an inauthentic angsty persona, pointing to her Disney star past. They see her pop-punk reinvention as calculated rather than genuine. Others argue she is simply evolving as an artist.

Does Olivia Rodrigo write her own songs?

While talented, Olivia Rodrigo is not the primary writer on most of her hits. She relies heavily on experienced pop songwriters and producers like Daniel Nigro to help craft lyrics, melodies, and sound. Her level of artistic authenticity compared to singer-songwriters is debated.

Is Olivia Rodrigo’s success deserved?

Olivia Rodrigo’s unprecedented instant success and accolades have been polarizing. Supporters see her appeal as genuine and enduring. Critics argue she is overhyped by media and the industry, lacking talent to justify the success. The debate continues as her career develops.

Does Olivia Rodrigo have musical talent?

Rodrigo possesses strong raw talent as a vocalist and songwriter according to fans. Critics argue her voice and musicianship are average, saved only by strong production and promotion. She clearly has commercial appeal, but debates around her genuine artistry persist.

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