My late night camp out with the Jonas Brothers at Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam

Looks like the Jonas Brothers can still rock the ratings. Their Toronto and Muskoka-lensed TV-movie, Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam, opened large, as they say, drawing 8 million total viewers last Friday night on U.S. cable’s The Disney Channel. The network says it is the year’s No. 1 cable movie and top rated movie across all networks among 6-11-year-olds as well as Tweens (9-13). In Canada the same night on Family Channel it drew an overnight, estimated 1,160,000 at 8 p.m. That made it the No. 1 show in the nation at that hour, beating a CFL BC/Edmonton game on TSN (914,000), a repeat of Human Target on CTV (829,000), a second helping of America’s Got Talent on City (420,000), a repeat of Ron James on CBC (378,000), a movie on Global (165,000) and Medium on /A (152,000).
The only shows to beat it at all on Friday were CTV’s still potent Flashpoint at 10 p.m. (1,563,000) and CTV’s National news at 11 (1,430,000). Remarkably, Camp Rock 2 beat even Flashpoint among viewers 18-49, making it the No. 1 show in Canada in the demo Friday night.
If you missed it, an extended version of the movie, with two extra music numbers, drops Tuesday Sept. 7 on Blu-ray and DVD. The Mouse House didn’t get where it is by Goofing off.
I was on the set so long ago now I can’t remember—almost a year ago. The folks at Family Channel kept a tight lid on the shoot. Nobody was supposed to spill the beans that the Jonas kids were even in town until well after they had fled the scene. (That kinda backfired: by the time the movie rolled around, I couldn’t land a print assignment. The people I usually pitch to had their own Jonas updates and my set visit was stale.)
It was a pretty late set visit. I recall it began around 11 p.m. A rustic, Muskoka-like lodge set was built on a converted downtown Toronto warehouse that had been converted into a soundstage. Along with a few other journalists, I was checked past an outside security tent and brought onto the set. Inside the Jonas brothers and their co-stars Demi Lovato and others were in rehearsal.The many kids in the cast kept it fun and lively despite the late hour.
One by one I was able to chat with the three lads. Kevin, the oldest (23) was about to wed former hairdresser Danielle Deleasa, which he went on to do last December; Joe and Nick were his best man. The boy was very excited and spoke about how they were all going to live in the same house and, well, I wanted to slap him upside the head but what can you do.

Kevin, Nick and Joe with “Bonus Jonas” Frankie

I’ve had a press pass into this Jonas thing a couple of times in the past few years. Have to say all three of these young men are very well spoken and likable. When we sat for brief one-on-ones in that old warehouse last year I was impressed with how present and attentive they all were. They seemed a little more candid, less programmed then when they were mobbed by reporters a year earlier at one of the LA press tours.
Their kid brother, Frankie (left with the dudes), known as the “Bonus Jonas,” was scooting around the set, acting like an eight year old should, although maybe not at midnight. He had a part in the movie. These kids have had extraordinary lives, meeting presidents, performing to screaming pre-teens across Europe, getting merchandised to the max.
I spotted their dad Paul Kevin on the set. Mom Denise was also at the overnight shoot. The family that makes millions together, I guess, stays together.
On my way out I approached Jonas Sr. just to talk dad-to-dad and let him know he should be proud of the way his sons conduct themselves. “Their life must be one crazy fishbowl,” I said. “Isn’t every teenagers?” said Mr. J.
Which is true, I guess, but still, has to be the fishbowl experience at warp speed.

Lovato recently on Good Morning America
Also on the set that day was Demi Lovato (right), who has her own Disney TV show (Sonny With a Chance), recording career and intense fan following. She started real young, as one of the school age kids who made big eyes at Barney on Barney & Friends. She just turned 18.
On this late evening a year ago in Toronto, between shoots, she was sitting alone at a piano that was to one side of the lodge-like set. She played so beautifully I tried to stop the publicist from interrupting her for the interview. Again, a young person any parent would be proud of, but she seemed quite shy and withdrawn, maybe homesick, and I wondered if all of this wasn’t a bit much at times.
A scene was shot and a nothing bit of dialogue was run many, many times, with the director looking for just the right inflection from one of the young actors, and I think I got what was bugging Lovato. If you’re going to camp out at a fake cottage, don’t do it in the middle of the night in an abandoned Toronto warehouse, and don’t be forced to re-live it over and over again. It can only lead to Camp Rock 3: Get Me The Hell Out of Here.

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