Demi Lovato’s Brutally Honest Docuseries ‘Dancing with the Devil’ Premieres at SXSW

Private jets. Quick wardrobe changes. Throngs of adoring fans. 

This is what many people might think it’s like to be a pop star. And to some extent, it was how singer-songwriter Demi Lovato had lived most of the late 2010s. What people may not envision are IVs, hospital visits, or photos of drug abusebut those are just a few of the details audiences see in Lovato’s four-part series, Demi Lovato: Dancing with the Devil.

Lovato’s new docuseries premiered on March 16 as SXSW’s opening night headliner. The brutally honest series reveals a side of the artist that few know, which is just what she wanted. Most people know about Lovato’s overdose in the summer of 2018, but few know about the three strokes, heart attack, multi-system organ failure, and temporary blindness (which left her with permanent blindspots) that resulted from the overdose. In the series, details about that time are plentiful and prevalent. 

Dancing with the Devil is about a moment. And from there, peeling back how we got there. And we needed Demi to be all in to tell every piece of that,” director Michael D. Ratner said.

The brutally honest series reveals a side of the artist that few know.

Lovato was all in. Among the shocking revelations in Dancing with the Devil are multiple allegations of sexual assault, including one on the night of her overdose, during which she was left naked and blue from drug use. She describes it as being “discarded and abandoned” and left for dead. Another incident happened when she was younger: Lovato opens up and tells the cameras that she lost her virginity against her will, a fact that she shared with the person she was with at the time.

“And that didn’t matter to them. They did it anyway. And I internalized it and I told myself it was my fault because I still went in the room with him,” Lovato said in the docuseries.

Details about the overdose are plentiful and prevalent.

Lovato recounts her overdose unflinchingly, letting viewers witness both her astonishing achievements and struggles. In the span of just 12 weeks, the Grammy nominee went from being serenaded by DJ Khaled for her six-year sober birthday to relapsing just four weeks later. Three months after that, she was fighting for her life. The singer then relapsed again after her much publicized overdose. Lovato makes known that one of the main reasons for the docuseries is to “set the record straight,” get the facts out there, and clear the names of those who were caught up in the scandal. 

Lovato divulges much more over the four episodes. She talks about her relationship with food, with her family, and with her closest friends. She shares her experiences ascending back into fame after the overdose through performances at the 2020 Grammys and the Super Bowl before the coronavirus shut down the world. Other topics she’s not afraid to discuss include her engagement to Max Ehrich, their break-up, and coming out as bisexual. “I’m actually too queer to marry a man in my life right now,” she says.

Now, almost three years since her overdose, Lovato is preparing to release a new album, aptly titled “Dancing with the Devil: The Art of Starting Over.” As for her sobriety, fans will learn where that stands and how she is dealing with it today through the docuseries. The first two episodes will premiere on YouTube on March 23. The remaining two episodes will be released one at a time a week after that.