The other night I fell down a Wikipedia rabbit hole studying about this also-ran pop star branded as “JoJo.” I was reading the article about the Hannah Montana tv show and was intrigued to learn that the staring role of Hannah Montana had initially been offered to her. In what would go down as a monumentally bad career decision of historic proportions, she actually turned it down(!)–or rather her agents and managers thought that because she couldn’t have been more than 14 years old at the time. The only reason I can think of is that they must have thought that staring in a Disney sitcom would diminish JoJo’s reputation as a recording artist. This would have been in 2006, before the days when platinum singles could get their start from being showcased in car ads. So, as we all know, the role went to Miley Cyrus who goes on to become a teen sensation and international megastar, while JoJo quietly drifts to the margins of teeny bopper R&B. The last real gig she had was opening for the Joe Jonas & Jay Sean Tour back in 2011.
Last thing I did before going to sleep that night was rake through JoJo’s twitter feed to see if I could detect any notes of bitterness over the way her career turned out. For the most part it just seems like she was soldiering on, trying to make it work, trying to find a place for herself in the middle echelons of pop stardom. Doing yeoman’s work selling the same act as 5 years to an aging audience that’s rapidly growing out of it.