By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
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 debuts.
"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.
Teen Entertainment Editor Kelly Bryant thinks so much of Demi's chances she's shooting Demi and BFF Selena Gomez, star of Wizards of Waverly Place, in late May for a cover that won't even hit newsstands until September. Bryant has good instincts, reminds her boss: She put Zac Efron, the Jonas Brothers and others on the cover of her magazine when they were stars in ascension.
"There's just a lot of buzz," says Bryant, who, as recently as two weeks ago, hadn't even seen Camp Rock. "Normally we wouldn't shoot a cover with an actress whose movie hasn't even aired yet on the Disney Channel, but there's a lot of buzz surrounding her, and from the first time I interviewed her on the Camp Rock set, she was a very sweet girl, but you could also tell there was a lot of talent there.
"From the scenes I saw, she's got this great voice. But you could have the talent, but if you don't have that sparkle, that personality that makes the kids want to know more about you, I think you're not going to be as successful. But she has that. She has the whole package. She has the talent, and she also has this great personality that I think really draws kids in."
At this very moment, Demi is at the end of the beginning of her introduction to stardom. She's a Disney girl now, under contract to Mickey and Goofy. In addition to all the definites, there's still a maybe in the winds: She's awaiting word on a pilot she's shot for the Disney Channel called Sketchpads, a sort of tweener version of 30 Rock set behind the scenes of a sketch comedy show. Word is it needs some retooling, but the suits love Demi. It'll likely be introduced if—which is to say, when—Camp Rock's declared a hit.
Till then, she's graduated to teen gossip-mag cover shoots and stories circulating about her alleged YouTube feud with Hannah Montana herself, Miley Cyrus. She's trying desperately to finish an album due out in September that may have to be pushed back till October. And Demi—who writes some of her own material and plays guitar—is about to tour with the teenybopping JoBros, who are suddenly hip enough for the likes of Details and Rolling Stone.
In short, she's a few weeks away from becoming a franchise, if she's not one already.
"I knew that this was what I wanted to do," she says. "When you work really hard at something, eventually it pays off. No matter what it is."
Why will Demi Lovato become a star? Easy. Because Disney wants her to be a star. That, as they say, is that. Actually, they say much more than that: In April, Disney Channel Entertainment President Gary Marsh told Forbes that "when we find someone, we—as they say in poker—are willing to go all in." The headline of the story said it all: "How to Make a Miley." The rest of the story filled in the blanks: How to make a mint.
First, though, a brief primer for those busy leading childless lives who missed witnessing firsthand the burgeoning stranglehold of Mickey Mouse and his eight fingers. Because it wasn't long ago that Disney Channel didn't even exist—it used to be, before the turn of the millennium, a pay channel available only in a few million homes. But in 2001, it went straight to basic, offering bright young faces-next-door who ascended the pop-culture ladder: Shia LaBoeuf, star of Even Stevens; Raven Symone, star of That's So Raven; and, of course, Hilary Duff, whose Lizzie McGuire more or less paved the way, in gold, for Miley Cyrus' Hannah Montana. Duff was among the first Disney Channel personalities to cross over from television to music—five long years ago.