“Dancing with the Devil,” Demi Lovato’s four-part series airing exclusively on YouTube, provides a personal look into the singer’s struggles of addiction, eating disorders, mental health and her near-death experience from an overdose on July 24, 2018.
The series premiered on March 23 and received an 83% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The first episode, “losing control,” has surpassed 11 million views on YouTube.
“It is incredibly brave of her to be so open about her story because people can be so critical and judgmental of celebrities, especially those who show symptoms of struggling with mental health,” Graciela Cruz, a freshman undecided major, said.
In “losing control,” Lovato explains how she began relapsing with her eating disorder during her “Tell Me You Love” Tour by over-exercising and extreme dieting. A month after her birthday, which was her sixth anniversary of being sober, she relapsed with drugs and alcohol.
Augusta Saverimuttu, a sophomore biology major, said she watched the first two episodes of the series.
“I was actually at the concert at Barclays Center where she celebrated her six years of sobriety and then hearing two weeks later that she overdosed was crazy,” Saverimuttu said.
In June 2018, Lovato wrote “Sober,” in which she publicly announces her relapse. Lovato suffered from a reported overdose at her Hollywood Hills home a month later.
The second episode of the series, “5 minutes from death,” goes into full detail on Lovato’s near-death experience. Her former assistant Jordan Jackson described how she found Lovato overdosed in her bedroom. Jackson called Lovato’s head security guard Max Lea for help. As more people arrived to help Lovato, she snuck downstairs to call 911, Jackson explained.
The end of the episode reveals that Lovato’s drug dealer “took advantage of her” by sexually abusing her, getting her high on fentanyl and leaving her for dead.
Lovato said she did not realize that she was sexually abused until about a month after the overdose.“That kind of trauma doesn’t go away overnight,” she said.
“The fact that she was sexually assaulted by a Disney star that she had to face every single day and that he had no repercussions was extremely shocking and disturbing,” Saverimuttu said.
In the third episode, “reclaiming power,” Lovato describes her experience in rehab as well as how the overdose affected her loved ones. Lovato’s friends received several death threats for allowing her to overdose, according to the series.
“It was so surreal to hear the story from her family and friends because I remember hearing about the story in the media but had no idea what was going on behind the scenes,” Saverimuttu said.
Lovato released a song also titled “Dancing With the Devil” which is about Lovato’s struggles with drugs and alcohol.
Brianna Rios, a junior finance and entrepreneurship double major, said she has been a fan of Lovato for 13 years and is proud to see her growth and that she is now in a good place. She said her favorite lyrics in her new song highlight Lovato’s struggles and the need for a glass of wine.
“After being completely sober for six years, and after having basically no control over her life, I actually understand why she felt like she deserved a glass of wine,” Rios said.
Rios said she recommends the series for people who have been in similar situations to Lovato. She added that she suggests watching it with a loved one, as some scenes can be triggering.
“I have also been through some of the same struggles that she has, so her music and her story are comforting and let me know that I'm not alone,” Rios said.
Victoria Rossi can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.