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With the fear of rain quite literally looming overhead in the form of thick, black clouds, teens, tweens, pre-tweens and parents flooded LA’s Greek Theatre to catch a glimpse of this generation’s true comeback kid, Demi Lovato, on Wednesday.
At 19 years old, Lovato has already put her days of partying, cutting, bulimia, self-harm and, finally, rehab, behind her. Standing among those girls whom she’s inspired, there is the overwhelming sense that each fan in the audience is genuinely invested in the singer. With each dollar spent on her albums, her shows, and with each time they press play on their iPod to listen to her tracks, they not only identify with her — they are proud of her. They truly love her.
And she loves them right back.
Among the sea of young ladies — all members of the social media generation, concerned less with actually having a good time than with showing their friends they are having a good time through photos and status updates — were their parents, who undoubtedly raised an eyebrow at the unapologetically sexual tones of Lovato’s lyrics and movements. Grinding on her male guitar players, Lovato belts, “Don’t make plans, come on with me, we’ll stay up all night long. I want you, and I want you bad. Let’s keep the party going all night long.” On her body, Lovato wears all black: ankle boots, sparkly tights, a leather skirt, leather fringed jacket, and underneath, a corset detailed with a see-through bodice and jewel-encrusted bra.
To those who grew up listening to Lovato’s X Factor co-star, Britney Spears, the younger starlet appears takes a cue from her pop icon superior. The one notable difference: Lovato has a voice that can silence even the harshest of critics. Something not often found in her peers.
The show waivers between high-energy dance party (“Got Dynamite,” “Who’s That Boy,” a cover of Chris Brown‘s “Turn Up the Music”) and therapy session (“Fix a Heart,” “Lightweight,” “Remember December”). But it was before “Skyscraper” that Lovato really took time to address her own struggles and to encourage those facing similar demons to seek help. Speaking to an audience so silent you could hear a pin drop, Lovato said that asking for help “literally changed my life,” which was in turn received to deafening cheers.
As is true with most Hollywood shows, there were famous friends to be spotted both on stage and in the audience. Joining Lovato for “Catch Me” and “Don’t Forget” was longtime Disney pal Nick Jonas. (Before exiting the stage, he could be seen whispering “I love you” and giving Lovato a big hug). In the audience was Lovato’s former Sonny With a Chance co-star Sterling Knight, Diary of a Wimpy Kid actor Robert Capron and Modern Family‘s Ariel Winter, who, without a driver’s license, had a difficult time retrieving her tickets from will call. (“I don’t even drive!” she told the teller, before offering up her credit card as a form of identification.)
On the side of the stage, Lovato’s kid sister and Desperate Housewives actress Madison De La Garza could be spotted, along with her mother, holding what looked like the family’s pet pooch. Providing the second duet of the night, De La Garza heeded her sister’s call when the singer requested her help on the track “Together,” which normally features Jason Derulo.
Apparently, those pipes are genetic.
And just before the night’s encore, a deceptively clearing sky began to spill rain onto the open air theater. Luckily, Lovato returned to the stage quickly to finish out the night with “Unbroken” and her latest hit, “Give Your Heart a Break.”
With only one reference to the reality show she is currently taping (When describing her 10-year-old sister, Lovato said, “She has the X Factor… Oh, have you heard of that show? You should watch it!”) the world has yet to see how the relative newcomer will measure up next to Simon Cowell, LA Reid and Spears. But is she qualified to judge a singing competition?
You better believe it.
Having watched her perform, the resounding answer is yes. While Spears is touted as Cowell’s prized possession, featured in her very own promo for the upcoming series, it is Lovato who will undoubtedly win fans with her sharp humor, vocal skills and endearing personality. Her background story, no matter how inspiring, is not necessary.
All Night Long
Catch Me/Don’t Forget (Feat. Nick Jonas)
My Love is Like a Star
Fix a Heart
How to Love (Lil Wayne Cover)
American Honey (Lady Antebellum Cover)
Who’s That Boy
You’re My Only Shorty
Turn Up the Music (Chris Brown Cover)
Here We Go Again/La La Land
Together (Feat. Madison De La Garza)
Give Your Heart a Break
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