Demi Lovato Gives Debut Performance of Political Anthem 'Commander in Chief' at BBMAs10/15/2020
Demi Lovato is taking a stand.
Lovato just hit the stage at the 2020 Billboard Music Awards to perform her politically tinged ballad "Commander in Chief." Wearing a blue blazer and playing piano and backed by a powerful choir, the singer vocalized her discontent with the administration of President Donald Trump with her performance.
"Commander in Chief, honestly / If I did the things you do / I couldn't sleep, seriously / Do you even know the truth?" the 28-year-old sang. "We're in a state of crisis, people are dyin' / While you line your pockets deep / Commander in Chief / how does it feel to still / Be able to breathe?"
The ballad — written by Lovato, Julia Michaels, FINNEAS, Justin Tranter, and Eren Cannata and referencing the police killing of George Floyd earlier this year — came out just weeks ahead of Election Day and as voters across the country head to early voting sites to cast their ballots.
The words "VOTE" shined bright behind the BBMAs stage.
After it dropped on Tuesday, she shared a reply to a fan critical about her political stance.
In part, she wrote: "You do understand as a celebrity, I have a right to political views as well?" before adding "I literally don't care if this ruins my career. This isn't about that. My career isn't about that. I made a piece of art that stands for something I believe in."
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Lovato teased the release of the new song earlier this week with clips, seemingly from her music video and captioned with some of the song's lyrics.
"Were you ever taught when you were young… If you mess with things selfishly, they’re bound to come undone?" read one caption with a video of a young Black girl lip-synching song lyrics.
"Haven't they suffered enough?" read another of an older white man wearing a hat embroidered with the words "Make America United Again," referencing Trump's campaign slogan.
Announcing the song’s release on her Instagram page late Tuesday night, Lovato posted a photo of herself wearing a black face mask with the word “VOTE” on it. Lovato has encouraged voting on her social media for weeks.
This is also Lovato's first performance and first public appearance since she called off her engagement to actor Max Ehrich. Her previous song, "Still Have Me," was released just six days after news of their breakup. (Lovato's collab with Marshmello, "OK Not to Be OK," was released on Sept. 10.)
Lovato and Ehrich, 29, decided to go their "separate ways" after several weeks of "conflicts," multiple sources told PEOPLE.
"It was very hurtful to Demi when she realized that Max's intentions weren't genuine," one insider told PEOPLE. "Breaking off the engagement was not an easy decision."
Along with Lovato, Garth Brooks, Alicia Keys, Bad Bunny, BTS, Luke Combs, Sia, Post Malone, Doja Cat, Kane Brown, Swae Lee and Khalid hit the BBMAs stage Wednesday night.
The 2020 Billboard Music Awards are broadcasting live from Los Angeles at 8 p.m. EST on NBC.
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