"It's girl empowerment," says the pop star of her upcoming Neon Lights trek.
Hours after she announced a 27-city tour in February and March, Demi Lovato returned to publicizing Fox's "The X Factor" at a private event in Los Angeles by unveiling the singing competition's latest drama-inducing element, "The Four Chair Challenge." Lovato's fellow judge Simon Cowell went so far as to introduce a clip by saying the phrase "four chair challenge "is the worst title ever -- it sounds so boring." But by forcing the judges to select one contestant over another, which will happen over the next several episodes, Cowell says "it's some of the most exciting TV we've made on these shows."
Lovato, who will appear on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno" on Oct. 3 and "Ellen" on Oct. 7, wanted to talk about the slew of projects she has lined up between now and the Feb. 9 start of the Neon Lights tour, which also features Cher Lloyd and two "X Factor" acts, Fifth Harmony and Little Mix, on the bill.
"It's girl empowerment," she told Billboard. "I helped put together Fifth Harmony, and a year later they're on the charts, so I'm really happy for them. It's surreal. Everyone (in the groups) is a power vocalist -- they can all sing -- so I love the idea of the show."
It seemed logical to ask Lovato, who was dressed in black leather pants and jacket with a Led Zeppelin T-shirt at the event, about her thoughts on rock bands and what she actually likes about other artists. "I'm always a fan of Paramore, but lately I've been listening to a lot of Ed Sheeran and Bon Iver," said Lovato. "I have a '90s playlist I listen to a lot -- Salt-N-Pepa, Boyz II Men, some Mariah [Carey], some Whitney [Houston], SWV. I love the new Drake song, 'Hold On, We're Going Home.' We need more of that on the radio. Things Bruno Mars and Justin [Timberlake] are doing have me excited for radio."
For now, Lovato will locked in working on "X Factor" -- live shows begin the last week of October - and promoting her book, "Staying Strong," that comes out Nov. 19. Between the end of the TV show in December and late January, Lovato will be designing the Neon Lights live show.
"I want it to be a big party, but I don't want to exclude any demographics by making it all pop hits," she says. "I'm in the process of figuring it out, and because I play instruments, it comes easier than if I didn't. If I do it right, I'll get in all the hits and the songs that I'm most proud of that represent my style -- 'Heart Attack' and 'In Case,' which is just me and a piano… That's the message I want people to hear, that there's more than catchy songs released as singles. The album (tracks) should get more attention. That's why Ed Sheeran is so inspiring -- it's not just about pop songs."