Pardon, say what? You haven't heard of Demi Lovato? Then you're clearly not in your tweens, not part of that valuable demographic ages 8 to 14—give or take a few years on each side—willing to part with an estimated $30 million in babysitting money and $140 million of your folks' hard-earned. And you're not watching the Disney Channel, clearly.
You're not listening to the Jonas Brothers, Joe, Nick and Kevin, the holy trinity of Tweener Rock. You're not casting a spell with The Wizards of Waverly Place
, starring one of the DeLuise boys as the proud papa of a magical clan. You're not hero-worshipping brothers Zack & Cody, the Eloise and Eloise of prime-time kid's TV running amok in the fancy hotel in which they happen to live. You're not waiting for As the Bell Rings
, the frothy penalty kill Disney Channel runs between shows.
But, surely you know Hannah Montana? Demi Lovato's like that. Only not as famous. Yet.
Maybe, come June 21, Demi Lovato will be fitted with her own crown as she becomes newest princess in Disney's Magic Kingdom. Maybe not. Probably so.
Because the day before, Demi will be the star of Disney Channel's Camp Rock
, as anxiously awaited by the J-14
and Tiger Beat
set as the latest adventures of an old man and his musty fedora are anticipated by their parents. Disney's counting on it to be the next franchise, another High School Musical
, whose 2007 sequel was only the highest-rated offering in the history of cable television.
Disney's been promoting Camp Rock
for months, flooding the mouseketeers of America with an endless parade of promos for the story of a middle-class girl who has a JoBro-mance with hunky Joe Jonas at sleep-away camp. There, they snap bubblegum pop and dance the late afternoons away and fall madly, desperately in like—because, after all, Demi's 15 and Joe's 18 and that's still illegal in Disneyland.
"Here's the trick for us and for me, particularly," says Michael Healey, senior vice president of original movies for the Disney Channel. "With this cast and with the great buzz on the Internet and every place else about Camp Rock
, it'll certainly open. I don't know how big it'll open, but it'll do extremely well. The real test for us is, will it repeat? Will the kids really fall in love with it and come back and see it again? Because that's sort of the great magic of our best movies: Kids don't just like them, they love
them, and they want to see them again and again. And that's the true test: Will they last? Let's hope that Camp Rock
is like that. We'll know in a few months."
But, right, who is Demi anyway? Till a couple of years ago she was known, if at all, for having ridden the purple dinosaur when she was 8. After Barney & Friends
there were occasional acting gigs, like a one-off appearance on the locally filmed Fox show Prison Break
, but nothing so memorable as to leap off a novice's résumé. But now, Demi is about to be everywhere, if all goes according to plan.
On May 16, she appeared in the first episode of Living the Dream
, the Disney Channel's reality series featuring, who else, the Jonas Brothers. Only last week, she made her recording debut on Disney Mania, Volume 6
, on which she sings "That's How You Know" from, of course, the Disney film Enchanted.
At the beginning of June, Demi will then go on a small concert tour previewing the product. There will be stories in People
and USA Weekend
and, of course, a newsstand's worth of teen magazines.
Then, June 20, Camp
"On June 20," says Eddie DeLaGarza, whom Demi calls Dad, "everything changes."
At the beginning of July, Demi hits the road with the Jonas Brothers; she and Joe will be America's newest sweethearts, dueting on stage after stage. Then, in the fall, comes the album containing some dozen songs the Jonas boys and others have written for the girl who always wanted to sing.
Then either late this year or next, there will be another movie, Princess Protection Program
, in which Demi only too appropriately plays Disney's newest princess. All that's missing is the glass slipper—and you can get those at Candie's.