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Demi Lovato's music career falters; 'X Factor' backlash could be a reason why

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In the first half of 2013, Demi's Lovato's music career was red-hot. She had the fastest-selling single of her career ("Heart Attack"), which eventually went double platinum in the U.S. and Canada and was a Top 10 hit in numerous countries. "Heart Attack" was the first single from her fourth album, "Demi," which was also a Top 10 hit in many countries.

"Heart Attack" was also nominated for prizes at several awards shows, and won at the 2013 MuchMusic Video Awards and 2013 Teen Choice Awards. Lovato (who became a judge on "The X Factor" U.S. in 2012) also won the 2013 People's Choice Award for Favorite Celebrity Judge.

But after Lovato (who is 21) returned to being an "X Factor" judge in June 2013, and the public began see her at auditions (which were free and open to the public), her music sales started to go on a rapid decline. "Made in the USA," the second single from "Demi," was released in July 2013 and peaked at a lowly No. 80 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and failed to reach the Top 40 on most other countries' official singles charts.

Then after Lovato's second season as a judge on "The X Factor" U.S. began airing in September 2013, her music sales took even more a nosedive. Her next two singles — "Let It Go" (released in October 2013 from the "Frozen" soundtrack) and "Neon Lights" (released in November 2013 and the third single from "Demi") — have both flopped on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

[Dec. 12, 2103 update: After this article was written, "Let it Go" debuted at No. 64 on the Billboard Hot 100 and went to No. 58 in its second week on the chart. "Neon Lights" still has not made it on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.]

It's not as if she hasn't been promoting "Neon Lights." She performed the song on NBC's "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno," the nationally syndicated "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," ABC's "The View" and Fox's "The X Factor" U.S.

To her credit, Lovato did not lip sync in these performances, but since she sang live, she also got a lot of criticism for being off-key in these performances.

As previously reported, Lovato has been experiencing major backlash from "X Factor" viewers who say that she is rude and obnoxious on the show. She has also been getting criticisms from people who think she doesn't have enough experience or talent to be a credible "X Factor" judge/mentor. And a lot of people are also saying that her blue hairstyle makes her look ridiculous.

Lovato no doubt had high hopes for "Neon Lights," since she named her 2014 North American tour after the song.

But her disastrous performance of "Neon Lights" on "The X Factor" on Nov. 28, 2013, has hurt Lovato's reputation and no doubt her music sales for the song.

On Nov. 25, 2013, Lovato was a guest on ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live," and she had this to say when Kimmel asked her if she was going to be intimidated performing in front of the other "X Factor" judges: "I don't think it would be intimidating in front of them, but more so the audience, because if I screw up or do a bad job, people at home are going to be like, 'Why is she a judge?'"

Unfortunately for Lovato, that's exactly what happened.

She even admitted that the performance was embarrassing by tweeting: "So I watched my XF performance back and kinda sorta HATED it.. BUT I PROMISE I'm gonna make it up with something special really soon."

Of course, Lovato has her share of die-hard fans (nicknamed Lovatics) who worship her and don't want to hear any criticisms about her. These are the kinds of fans who would make excuses and basically forgive her for anything she does.

But for many other viewers, Lovato's credibility as a singer worthy enough to judge other singers was significantly lowered based on her "X Factor" performance of "Neon Lights." She got similar criticisms after she performed the song on "The View," so it's not just "X Factor" viewers who feel this way.

Although Lovato's music career seems to be going through some setbacks, on the bright side, her self-help/advice book "Staying Strong: 365 Days a Year" debuted at No. 1 on the New York Times' bestseller list for advice, how-to and miscellaneous books. She may need some of that advice to weather all the backlash she's been getting recently.

Here's a sampling of comments from "The X Factor" U.S.'s official Facebook page about her performance of "Neon Lights" on the show:

"One of the worst performances ive ever seen.. & she sitting on a judges panel...."

"I'm Lovatic and I agree it wasn't her best performance, but don't bash her! At least she wasn't lip syncing like the most singers do! "

"I know it was just a mistake but I am so pissed at X Factor for messing up her earpiece. I feel so bad for Demi. I was so looking forward to her performance, not only to see the Queen slay yet again, but also to prove to the judgemental haters that she.."

"By the comments it sounds like a lot of people are tone deaf!! That was horrid!!"

"Hate to say it but contestants sound better than her...and she's a judge??? Please!"

"She is perfect. Demi have some problems in the stage. She's high notes amazing . Shut up hater."

"Perfect? Seriously, I'm big fan of Demi #lovatic4ever but this performance was absolutely awful. I don't know what happened to her voice, hope she'll sing better this song next time. She wasn't all that.. Her contestants are better lol."

"I can't believe Mr. Cowell actually invite her to be a mentor...she is in need of a mentor herself, let's be honest."

"Perfect? Someone must need the wax washed from his/her ears. A perfect mess!"

"She.was.HORRIBLE! I was actually.embarrassed for her."

"Obviously Demi can sing, watch some of her other performances; she has an amazing voice and she sings live. You can see there was something wrong with the earpiece, she kept playing with it. It's not bad, it's just not as good as always. Demi has proven herself; she's 21 with huge career, writes her own songs, her songs are hits and she wins awards. Moreover, she gives everything to her fans and stands for what she believes in. She's a real artist and a good human being. No one deserves to get such harsh words thrown at them. And yes, she's a judge You can keep whining."

"This performance was so miserable. Her vocals were so, so bad."

"That wasn't her perfect performance... I am big fan of her but I admit her performance at that night was not great as usual..."

"Anyone can be made to sound good in a studio... What seperates, real singers from studio singers, LIVE PERFORMANCES."

"Her performance was screechy pitchy, off key, and just terrible... lol and Lillie went home??? Really?? Nothing but teeny boppers voting... What a joke! The only reason Lillie went home off the top was because she stood up to Simon. It's his show...that was dumb on Lilly's part. I hope Alex and Sierra win!!"

"That was a hot mess. I dont get Demi..she looks ten times older w that blue hair and not a fan of her music. Too bad we couldnt have saved josh abd lillian and sent demi home."

"The contestants are way on better than she is....just saying , how can you judge someone when they are better that you are ????"

"She was pitchy at the high notes and her voice was lost in the background music. She also didn't look like she was having fun or even performing."

"Alls i hear is excuses, excuses... C-mon, shes a professional singer, bottom line is she is a studio singer.. Real singers can sing live, she dosent fall in that catergory.. ( sorry if im being honest) sounded a bit karoke, (simon voice)"

From "The X Factor" U.S.'s official YouTube channel:

"im sorry demi...but was nt a good performance.... :( but the song is incredible......."


"I LOVE Demi, but wow she sounded AWFUL. i think she's out of singing shape, her had no breath….i could care less if she isn't an athlete but she sounded so out of breath. I know that place, been there…done that. I feel for her..."

"I agree. its sad cuz i really like who she is as a person. Some of her songs are amazing vocals, wonder whats going on? I think she's having some issues going on and its literally hard to breathe……hope she's ok. I wonder whet Simon was thinking after that performance."

"It's so awful. If this performance is her definition of Xfactor please she should go home now. It seems like shouting from a mountain for help. Sorry Demi but no I am not sorry because its the truth."

"I'm sorry but if you can't preform well live on tv show where you yourself are judging other singers you should not be a f*cking judge."

"You obviously have not seen her other live performances. You can't judge an artist's live vocals on just ONE video."

"Why not? That's what they do to every act that tries out, right? She sounded awful and not what you would expect from someone of her supposed caliber."

"I'm listening to all these young robotic clone singers that sing with no originally on this show and say absolutely nothing... I can't believe Lillie McCloud was eliminated... I really don't understand, well, I do understand... The music industry doesn't want art, they want to destroy the little humanity we have left."

"'Wrong choice of song, you were very pitchy, it's all dress up at this moment, the dancers overwhelm you.Horrible. I didn't understand it at all.'--- Me pretending to be Simon.(^-*) Kidding, Demi is Demi, we all have bad days."

"Demi herself said she hated this performance, we ALL know this wasn't her best performance, I'm a huge lovatic but I honestly think she sounded horrible here. She is an amazing performer though, and just because she didn't nail this ONE performance, doesn't make her a bad artist. This is the first time she's truly flopped a neon lights performance. Give her some credit, she was also really pressured because she's a judge, so she has to do well. Not a lot of people can admit to their performance being bad...not a lot of people can TWEET that. So, she knows her performance was bad, and you can see how upset she was at the end. Also, stop talking about her weight- this is something I will get SO mad about. She's perfect the way she is, she has an amazing body and curves- she's a REAL women. She is NOT fat. I think she looks amazing and any mean comments about her appearance are unnecessary and just show what type of person you are tbh."

"I love demi, but I think this is not the worst performance. Maybe she is not well during this performance we don't know. So please stop judging her, please be nice."

"Im going to be honest, this was rubbish. Glad she recognized herself she did wrong and make it up."

"This was really awful. I know for a fact she can sing, but this was off key from the beginning."

"Her hair at the end......haha."

"I dont get why ppl hate this performance so much. I mean yeah it wasnt her best-and she even said she didnt like it- but cmon. It wasnt HORRIBLE. It didnt sound like crap. But it was fine. Cut her a break. Her ear piece was clearly not working well, so she could barely hear herself. Some of you need to just shut up, because your judging her based off of ONE performance."

"How the hell was she out of pitch? I bet more than half of you who's commenting here cannot even sing.. that means you really DON'T know what pitch is. She couldn't hear the music anyway and this song is up-beat/difficult. I know this wasn't her best performance, but we never expected it to be her best in the first place. This performance wasn't bad though so stop commenting unreasonable crap on here. And what in the world is a scream? If that's a scream, that's a pretty musically inclined scream, tune, vibrato and everything. Yeah, that's not a scream.Have any of you even seen any of the other performances by Demi? No. Exactly, she CAN sing and she IS talented. (Unlike someone else who performed on this show recently...) By the way, for the people commenting about how she's "fat", will you please quit judging this girl by her appearance? She's SUCH an incredible person and she's probably eaten less than you have in your lifetime. Also, she's a singer, not a supermodel so stop expecting her to be. She freaking struggled with an eating disorder (she used to eat like once a week...), what did you expect her treatment to be? Obviously Demi needed to gain weight, but she's fine the way she is right now. She's happy and healthy and that's really all that matters."

"That was wack, and she missed her step going up the stairs."

"She killed the high note towards the end of the performance around 2: 20."

"One of the reasons she doesn't sound as good is because she's not using a lot or any reverb. Reverb makes every ones voice sound better. Almost all singers use it on stage. It helps control your pitch better. It seems like x factor isn't using reverb as much as last year and it makes everyone sound worse because it makes their voice raw. If she used more reverb like she normally does it would not have sounded so pitchy."

"Woah...this was a disaster.... You can do better demi!"

"Her hair went all mad scientist on her at the end there lol."

"May not have been Demi's best performance but she still did amazing! Love her :)"

"I love Demi and she's one of my favorite singers. She normally has such wonderful vocal delivery, but this performance was very off. I hate to say it, but it was actually really bad."

"It wasn't all THAT bad, it was okay."

"Shame on you judging other people who are capable delivering more than you. Please ended your career to be a judge of X factor. I just want to be honest by seeing your live performance, I am feel so disappointed. Love your Indonesian fans."


"Its not hating but just not being blind, or in this case deaf. We all know she can deliver amazing vocals and performances but that day wasn't her day, its cool, we all have those days when we are just 50% of ourselves. She was reeeeally out of tune and pitch, I still like her, but she can do so much better."

"The b*tch cannot sing. I'm sorry, but this show is just awful now. Why in the f*ck would you put someone who CAN'T sing to judge singers? That's the most hypocritical sh*t I've ever heard. ... I actually did go and check out some of her other performances after this, realizing that she may just be having a bad day, but I'm sorry. She can't sing. Along with other popular artists. You're buying her look. You're not buying her for her talent, because she's clearly not talented."


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