Dancing with the Devil Demi Lovato

Demi Lovato’s Dancing With the Devil Is a Portrait of Survival and Strength

Trigger warning for content depicting addiction, drug use, and sexual abuse.

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Demi Lovato, former Disney star and world-famous singer, has allowed us another glimpse into the night of her 2018 overdose in Dancing With the Devil. It’s a music video that sees Lovato revisiting old places she thought she’d never end up in and what led to the overdose in the first place. And the lyrics that follow it tell the story of a woman minimizing what was happening to her on a daily basis until it all came crashing down upon her. Basically, the music video is one of the most honest portrayals of the woes of life that I’ve ever seen, and this is coming from someone who has never been a Lovato stan.

The opening scene of the Dancing With the Devil music video, which is co-directed by Lovato and Michael D. Ratner and produced through OBB Media, is startling and a bit frightening. Lovato is seen laying in a hospital bed with tubes sticking out of her neck, her makeup a mess, as she says, “It’s just a little red wine, I’ll be fine. Not like I wanna do this every night.” That then transitions to Lovato at a bar drinking red wine and overindulging in anything placed in front of her. This “twisted reality” then goes back and forth between her life before the overdose and during the moments right after it for the entirety of the music video.

This back and forth feels like we’re watching everything from Lovato’s perspective as she tries to figure out what moments led her to this and what she could change. But the reality is that none of it can be changed, no matter how much we/she might want it to. And I think Lovato shows that in her video. That in turn makes the Dancing With the Devil music video a portrait of survival, strength, and the question of what comes next after such a fall; especially when she came so close to dying because of this overdose.

The raw honesty and strength that it takes to open yourself up to fans and critics alike in the Dancing With the Devil music video makes me respect Lovato on a whole other level. Before, she was just a talented musician to me with demons that she was fighting against when it came to her hard-fought sobriety. Now I see her as one of the bravest musicians out there who is using her platform to show the world that you can stumble, fall, and rise again. And for her fans, this has to mean everything.

I’m guilty, like everyone on Earth, of connecting with musicians and the work they produce. I’ve cried, laughed, and jammed out to music that connected with me on a deep level and made me a fan. Because music is about connection at its core, no matter what. So just the thought that fans got to see this vulnerable, raw, and honest side of Lovato leaves me wanting to get to know Lovato more. Because you don’t have to go through exactly what Lovato did to understand and feel seen by her truth.

This music video, and the events that we see happening in it, are further explored in the Dancing With the Devil documentary series on her YouTube channel. It’s a group of videos where Lovato gets to be the one to tell her story about what happened to her before her overdose, during, and after with a dose of important mental health conversations. It’s her chance to speak her truth but also for her friends and family to express how they were feeling, as well. That understanding, that the people around her were also hurt by her overdose, shows that Lovato knows that this didn’t just happen to her.

Her overdose happened to her family, her friends, and those who looked up to her as a fan. And I feel like Lovato wants to be as honest as possible in both the documentary and music video as a way of showing us that even though she is still hurting and suffering through the side effects of her overdose, and that she’s working on fighting her demons for her, her family, and for her fans. And it all makes me want to invest in her as a person, the life she leads, the struggles she faces, and the music she creates.

Dancing With the Devil, and the gamble she took with her soul, is Lovato’s truth. And I’m glad that she’s still here to inspire others to face their own truths, horrors, consequences, and more while showing them that they’re not alone. None of us are.

(image: Youtube/Island Records)

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Lyra Hale
Lyra (She/Her) is a queer Latinx writer who stans badass women in movies, TV shows, and books. She loves crafting, tostones, and speculating all over queer media. And when not writing she's scrolling through TikTok or rebuilding her book collection.