In recent years, pop singer Demi Lovato has been remarkably candid about her battles – and victories – over bulimia, self-injury and drug addictions.
So it was a surprise to us when she avoided several questions we asked her by e-mail about “The X Factor,” the Fox singing competition she judged in 2012 and 2013.
Seems as though all she wants to talk about is “The Neon Lights Tour,” which stops at Charlotte’s Time Warner Cable Arena on Sunday night.
OK, fair enough.
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So Lovato, 21, promises her first headlining tour will be “fun, energetic, inspirational and exciting.” She was heavily involved in the creative and production concepts, as was Nick Jonas, who serves as the show’s creative and musical director.
Though she’s a contemporary of Miley Cyrus, who is also 21, Lovato has been adamant about setting a good example for her fans – most of whom are tween and teen girls. She hasn’t tried to sex up her lyrics, she hasn’t made a steamy music video or taken a provocative role in an R-rated movie to try to appeal to adult audiences.
“I’ve really tried to create a show that will be fun for all ages. ... It continuously motivates and inspires me to know that my story can help girls and young woman get through difficult times,” says the former Disney Channel star, who has taken up causes from the environment to mental illness to anti-bullying and child advocacy. “I’m extremely lucky to be in a position where I can influence others.”
Lovato’s squeaky-clean hits include 2011’s “Skyscraper,” 2012’s “Give Your Heart a Break,” and 2013’s “Heart Attack.” Most recently, she had a hit with a cover of “Let It Go” from the animated Disney film “Frozen”; the song was originally performed by Idina Menzel in a version that has been nominated for an Academy Award.
Lovato continues to dabble in acting, and has been seen this winter in a brief recurring role on Fox’s “Glee.”
But just over two months ago, Lovato announced she would not return to “The X Factor” for its fourth season, and this month, the series was canceled by Fox.
She avoided our questions about why she left, what she learned about the music business from being on the show, and what she thought the future held for televised singing competitions. She also did not answer a question regarding balancing a respect for her core fans with any desire she might have to appeal to an older audience.
The closest she came to opening up? We asked whether her last birthday – which would have been a milestone for most young women – was a big deal to her.
“I’ve always felt as though I was an adult,” Lovato says, “so turning 21 didn’t really change anything for me.”