DANCING WITH THE DEVIL
SXSW 2021: Demi Lovato: Dancing with the Devil is an upcoming four part docuseries that lets us have an inside look into what Demi, business associates, friends, and family all thought leading up to and after her widely publicized 2018 overdose. The series documents multiple different parts of her journey, including the buildup, the relapse, the overdose, recovering from her stay in rehab, and finally the 2020 rollercoaster involving her engagement. To be honest, this series shouldn’t be a series; it holds up to and is the same length as a feature film. I would recommend watching all parts in the same sitting to get the full impact of Lovato’s situation.
I’ve never been overly enthused with Lovato’s music. I’ve been aware of her ever since her debut on Disney Channel, but her music never caught on for me. That’s not to say that I don’t appreciate what she does for so many out there by being a role model, especially for those that have seen this kind of addiction in their own lives. So going through the stages of her addiction and to where she is now is a refreshing story that fans and non-fans can appreciate.
Dancing with the Devil harnesses quite a bit of footage from the unreleased 2018 documentary that was shelved due to her overdose and is just now seeing the light of day (to some extent). The inserted footage from that time shows the internal struggles Lovato was going through and the denial that herself as well as friends were showing for the camera. Remarkably, Lovato was sober for six years before relapsing after a photoshoot made her realize that she was miserable - so she tried some intense drugs she hadn’t done before: meth, heroin, and crack cocaine. Troubled but still touring, she vacationed in Bali, where she wrote her hit song Sober, introducing the concept to the public that she had broken her sobriety. When she returned to Los Angeles from her trip, her habits kicked back into hyperdrive, taking more and more “hard” drugs.
July 23rd, 2018 - we get to see the point of view of her team, her friends, her security and her assistant as they go over what exactly happened that night - the night of the overdose. It’s difficult to listen to, as it seems the Hollywood lifestyle made her assistant cautious to even call 911, with Lovato’s team urging for no sirens in which the operator could not grant due to the state of the emergency. What’s even worse is the reveal from Lovato that she was sexually taken advantage of the night of her overdose and left for dead by her drug dealer.
The series continues on like this by showing the views of the people around her: her friend, her family, her team, her fans, and some inspirational voices to guide her through. The series is Lovato revealing to the world (those that don’t follow her every move) that it’s time to find her true self, and in doing so asks the question if she can truly maintain being sober. For fans, I’m sure the docuseries will be a hard pill to swallow, and for people less familiar with her work (such as her doctor), they should be floored by the journey this woman has been forced to go through from a very young age.
DEMI LOVATO: DANCING WITH THE DEVIL Premieres March 23rd on Youtube