(Reuters) – U.S. pop singer Demi Lovato will sing the national anthem ahead of next month’s Super Bowl in Miami, the National Football League said on Thursday.
The Feb. 2 performance will mark the Grammy-nominated singer’s first appearance on the Super Bowl stage, which in recent years has been graced by artists Gladys Knight, Pink, Luke Bryan and Lady Gaga.
The 27-year-old New Mexico-born performer rose to fame on Disney Channel shows “Camp Rock” and “Sonny with a Chance” before forging a pop career with hits such as “Skyscraper” and “Sorry Not Sorry”.
In a 2017 YouTube documentary, “Simply Complicated”, Lovato spoke about years of substance abuse, eating disorders, and drinking, saying she first started using cocaine when she was 17. She entered rehab at the age of 18 and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
Performances of the national anthem before NFL games had been a major talking point during recent seasons as some players used the occasion to take a knee, sit or link arms during the song to protest about racial inequality and police brutality in the United States.
The protests, which have dissipated greatly this season, were routinely criticized by U.S. President Donald Trump, who chose to interpret the demonstrations as offensive to the U.S. military.
The NFL previously announced that pop superstars Jennifer Lopez and Shakira will headline the Super Bowl halftime show.
The NFL’s championship game is the most-watched event on U.S. television, drawing around 100 million viewers.
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Toby Davis)