You see the names Kelly Clarkson, Janelle Monae, Nick Jonas, Lizzo, Pitbull, Blake Shelton, Bebe Rexha and Charli XCX in the same lineup, and it’s natural to think it’s for a big music festival or awards show.
But the talents of this diverse group of singers actually were brought together for the new movie “Uglydolls,” an animated film based on the popular toys.
The movie imagines a class system for dolls in which the “ugly” ones, with defects and flaws, are filtered out to their own island. And the pretty ones get a chance to match up with a kid.
But a tenacious ugly doll called Moxy rejects this and decides to train alongside the perfect dolls for the same chance.
Moxy is voiced by Clarkson, who says she grew up with “all the princess ones” but found that she related to this Uglydoll.
“My husband and I were laughing, like, huh, super determined, stubborn, can’t be swayed from what she knows her truth is,” Clarkson says. “I was, like, ‘Oh, so basically it’s just like a doll form of me, OK.’ ”
Monae similarly was intrigued by the ideas behind “Uglydolls.” Her character Mandy is one of the pretty ones, but she also has hidden depth and an imperfection she’s been taught to be embarrassed about — her glasses.
“I love my character Mandy,” Monae says. “I love the Uglydolls and what they represent. We’re the weirdos. We’re the outcasts. We’re the cool ones because of that, but we see it and we discover it because of each other.”
The two pop stars have a duet in the movie on the inspirational anthem “Unbreakable,” which Monae found particularly poignant.
“People are always going to say you’re not good enough, you don’t look good enough, you’ll never be good enough because of maybe who you love or where you come from, but you have to remember your power and your worth and understand that the feeling of being bullied won’t last forever,” she says. “You will have allies. You will have your community of folks. And things will get better.”
It’s a message the singers hope resonate with children and adults.
Clarkson says she got the best endorsement of all — from her youngest kids.
“The fact that a 3 and 4-year-old sat in a chair and watched the entire thing is an amazing feat in itself,” Clarkson says — and they want to see it again.