The 27-year-old pop star, wearing an all-white jumpsuit, took the Super Bowl LIV field at Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium for a soaring rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” one week after making her performative comeback in the wake of a drug overdose that nearly claimed her life.
The former Disney Channel star joins a robust list of divas who’ve performed the National Anthem on football’s biggest night, including last year’s Gladys Knight, Lady Gaga (2016), Christina Aguilera (2011), Beyoncé (2004), Mariah Carey (2002), Cher (1999), and Houston, who gave arguably the most iconic pre-game performance of all time in 1991.
Lovato made her critically lauded musical resurgence at the 2020 Grammys last week, breaking down in tears as she performed her new ballad “Anyone” — reportedly the first preview of her upcoming album — at Los Angeles’ Staples Center.
During an interview with Beats 1’s Zane Lowe, Lovato revealed the song was written four days before her July 2018 overdose prompted a two-week hospital stay and subsequent in-patient rehab treatment.
“This song was written and recorded actually very shortly before everything happened. I recorded the vocals for it four days before [the overdose],” Lovato told Lowe. “The lyrics took on a totally different meaning. At the time when I was recording it, I almost listen back and hear these lyrics as a cry for help. And you kind of listen back to it and you kind of think, how did nobody listen to this song and think, ‘Let’s help this girl.'”