‘I can’t wait!’: JoJo teases January date for Aussie fans
She's the most successful 16-year-old in the world and her dream is to come back to Australia a place where one day, she wants to live. And she and her throngs of young Aussie fans won't have to wait long, with YouTube sensation JoJo Siwa all but confirming her D.R.E.A.M. Tour will make its way Down Under - her favourite place - this January.
In a media exclusive, the Nickelodeon powerhouse is speaking to thetelegraph.com.au ahead of her sold-out Californian show this week - her 51st show on a 70-plus city tour - and showed no signs of slowing down.
"My tour manager might have some plans to go there," she says with a telling smile. "I do have plans to come back to Australia - actually I have two different reasons why I would come to Australia. I wish I could tell you everything but I will say this - I am REALLY excited for January next year. It's going to be a good month."
Known for her trademark high pony and penchant for all things rainbow, JoJo has a global cult following as do her signature JoJo bows, of which she has more than 12,000 at home - along with a slide in her room, gumball machine and rainbow staircase, of course.
After thrilling more than screaming 35,000 fans on her brief Aussie stint last year, a sequin-covered JoJo says there is a lot to love about the country, and she can't wait to return.
"Australia is one of my favourite places, I really love it," she says. "I love the Gold Coast, I love Melbourne. Actually when I'm older I want to move to Australia so I try and go as much as I can. I love everyone's accents over there, I love the culture of it all, it's all so pretty… I love the vibe of it.
"I went to the Gold Coast for a day and I was obsessed with it, so hopefully I get to explore more time there. I love Sydney - I love visiting there, but if I were to live somewhere, I don't think I would pick Sydney, almost because it was so busy but it's so fun to vacation there and I'm excited to perform there."
Before any tour Australian fans will get to see their idol in their own loungerooms, thanks to a special behind-the-scenes look at her D.R.E.A.M. tour being made by Nickelodeon to air on the popular kids Foxtel channel in November.
Nickelodeon Australia and New Zealand general manager Ben Cox says the teen star is a great role model for Aussie youngsters, and The JoJo D.R.E.A.M. Tour is a chance for fans, officially known as Siwanatorz, to get up close and personal with one of their heroes.
"She is fun and enthusiastic and she lives and breathes the Nickelodeon spirit through the content she creates, her upbeat songs and in her stance against bullying," Cox says.
"JoJo is always herself which makes her highly relatable and inspiring to her young fans and the Nick audience.
Staring out from behind heavy pink eyeliner and the glittery paint covering half of her face, JoJo is gearing up for that night's show. Her voice is lower than usual, her mind focused on what's ahead. She's wearing her signature pink high-tops and slicked back ponytail and sitting in her dressing room, a quiet oasis amid the flurry of activity backstage, where hundreds of colourful wardrobe changes hang on rack after rack, crew putting final touches in place while munching on pink fairy floss with bows on top. It's show time. And she loves it.
"The tour is so fun. It's a blast every single day, it's been so good," she says. "I am not tired.
"I do have nights where my body is like 'oh, man I'm exhausted', but I love it so much there is never a time where I'm like 'I'm too tired, I don't want to do it today'. There is never a time like that. I just really love it.
"There hasn't been a point where I haven't loved it and if there were a thing that I haven't loved as much as the last thing, I figure out a way to like it more, or I won't do it.
"So I always make sure, with everything in life, that I am happy with it and I like it and I love it. If I'm not happy, I wouldn't be doing it."
Born Joelle Siwa, the Nebraska youngster has been singing and dancing since she could walk and talk. The blonde haired, blue-eyed pocket rocket shot to fame after appearing in popular reality show, Dance Moms but her small time celebrity reached global status thanks to her crazy, quirky, relatable YouTube videos that captured the hearts of young fans everywhere.
She now has more than 10 million subscribers, with more than 2.4 billion views on YouTube, as well as 8.6 million followers on Instagram. Her song Boomerang has been viewed 737 million times alone.
Thousands of fans, young and old, line up for hours before the concert, just to be the first inside Anaheim's Honda Centre, which is soon packed with 11,500 people and twice as many JoJo bows. Kids and mums are dressed just like their teen idol in head-to-toe loud, bright, official merchandise. They know every word to every song. They stand in the aisles, singing, dancing and madly waving signs they made for their hero in the hope she will catch a glimpse of them in their glittery tutus.
There are more than 70 cities on her tour schedule, with an average of five shows a week. We're told the crew gets to a beautiful house, makes it "JoJo pretty", only to pack it all up and move to the next house, in the next city, the next day. The week we meet her, she's played in Toronto, Detroit, Milwaukee, her hometown of Omaha, as well as Colorado, Las Vegas and Santa Barbara. In the next 10 days, she'll have fans dancing up a storm in Nevada, Portland, Washington, Vancouver, Nebraska, Iowa, Michigan and Ohio - just a taste of her diary until her last concert in mid September.
That's a lot of travel for anyone let alone a sleep-loving teenager. But this 16-year-old is anything but tired. And who would crave a holiday, when you're doing what you love every day? "I don't like taking holidays, I like to keep going. I make it fun, so in cities I make sure I do fun things and have fun times," she says. "Every show I say is my favourite show because they just keep getting better and better. I start learning how to have more fun with the crowd and learning what they like and react to, so I do more of that and less of what they didn't react to, so every show does get better than the last show.
"But with that being said, I played in New York at the Beacon Theatre on the first leg of our tour and that was really fun and iconic because that's the only venue that I overlapped with Freddie Mercury, who is one of my favourites, obviously. I do feel like I am living my dreams.
"I feel like there are so many things in my life and one wouldn't have happened without the other. Dance Moms was so fun and D.R.E.A.M. the Tour is the most fun ever but a side thing was when Elton John knew who I was, that was pretty amazing and crazy. I am really inspired by Freddie Mercury, Elton John, Gwen Stefani, everyone who I meet gives really good, nice advice.
"The other day I met a big comedian over here called David Spade and he has kids and they knew who I was and he was just like, 'keep doing your thing because what you do is so right and so awesome' and everyone is so nice.
"When you hear that from people like that it's so crazy and it's so unreal. It's the best feeling ever. Like I did a dance to Crocodile Rock when I was six and now Elton John and I are friends - it's crazy."
Child stars notoriously haven't had it easy. The pressure, the fame, the money and the temptation has traditionally taken a toll. But JoJo seems different. She seems ready. She's in control and she's focused on important messages such as anti-bullying, self worth, and ultimately, kindness.
"It's really important to me to make sure kids are having fun in life, and that they're happy and well taken care of," she says. "I think there's no pressure (to be the perfect role model) because I can't really mess up. It's not an act. If it was something fake it would be really easy to mess up because I would just randomly mess it up. It's just me, and yes, I really am always crazy like that.
"The only reason I'm not like that now is because your eardrums would burst if I was like that, but you'll see on stage tonight," she laughs. "I've been in situations where I can see where people wouldn't be happy, where I can see they would be like 'well this isn't fair' - but it's different for me because I am not trying to be someone else.
"No one is standing behind me saying 'you have to sing these songs, you have to dress like this, you have to wear these bows' - it's me saying I want to write a song about this, I want to wear two bows today! It really is me controlling it.
"I always have a joke that my mum created the ship and built the ship, but I'm the captain, and Nickelodeon is my crew, so I have all my people, my managers, my director, but I am the captain. In the long run, I make those crazy decisions."
Good people around her, help. And drive her, as much as she drives them. Her mum Jessalyn, her father Tom and her brother Jayden, tour with her and are at every show. Her YouTube videos show her babysitting North West, daughter of reality queen Kim Kardashian, and famous mini YouTubers Taytum and Oakley, the tutu-twirling twins in the audience at her concert that night.
"I have really good family around me, my friends are incredible people, but my family is just the best," JoJo says. "It's not hard to stay connected with my friends because my really good friends will always be there and my tour family and my dancers are literally my best friends.
"It's a really fun, unique vibe on stage."
So what's next for JoJo Siwa? Her new movie, Angry Birds 2 in which she voices Jay and Kira was released this week. And she holds no fears about growing up faster than her fans. If it were up to her, she'd stay a kid forever.
"I don't think that anyone in life whether they are in the spotlight or not in the spotlight goes from baby to toddler to kid to teenager to adult to senior," she explains. "I don't believe there is a specific pathway. We are all different and that makes our world and our species really cool and really awesome. So for me, it's like I will grow and age as I do. Right now, I'm a teenager but at the same time, I consider myself a kid. I think we are all kids until we chose we don't want to be.
"I see these little kids who come up to me and I'm like 'how old are you' and they're like six and I say 'oh you're so lucky'," she laughs. "So much is next. We have a joke that D.R.E.A.M. the Tour is going to go until 2026 because it just keeps expanding and expanding and I'm so happy with it, as long as the tour can live on I'm going to let it live on forever because I'm having the time of my life.
"I've got a really big project coming up that I'm super excited about that I'm going to work on from November until the beginning of January, and then obviously I told you that January is going to be fun and I'm going to be really happy. But so much is in the works, it all happens and all continues.
"I don't think people know how much I mean it when I say, my number one goal and priority in life is really to make other people happy. Whether it's performing on stage and giving them a great concert, or buying my best friends dinner, I really like to make everyone happy."