Danielle ("Dani") was a recurring character in Glee. Dani was portrayed by actress and singer Demi Lovato. Dani’s main storylines was centered around her brief relationship with Santana Lopez. Dani made her first appearance in the second episode of the fifth season, Tina in the Sky with Diamonds.
In August 19, 2013, it was announced that Lovato was joining the cast of Glee for a significant arc. It was also announced that Dani would be a struggling artist friend of Rachel and Santana. It was also said that she was contracted for six episodes.
Magazine Seventeen wrote “It looks like Demi will be Santana's new crush! At this year's VMAs, Naya Rivera spilled that Demi's character will catch Santana's eye this season and the pair will even have a duet.” When speaking to Cosmopolitan magazine Naya Rivera said that working with Lovato has been a “blast”. Naya also stated that before shooting kissing scenes, she and Lovato made out in the trailer.
Dani explained to Santana about her parents not being supportive of her sexuality so she lifted her guitar and left and hasn’t looked back since.
Dani is introduced as a waitress in the diner that Rachel Berry (Lea Michele) and Santana Lopez (Naya Rivera) works at. Santana instantly has a crush on Dani. Dani and Santana later sing Here Comes the Sun together where they kiss after the performance. Dani is later seen celebrating with Rachel and Santana and Kurt Hummel (Chris Colfer) over Rachel’s Funny Girl role of Fanny.
Dani is next seen helping Kurt and Santana do auditions for Kurt’s band. When Elliot “Starchild” Gilbert (Adam Lambert) auditions with Lady Gaga song Marry the Night, Dani can be seen playing the guitar during the performance. Dani later performs Roar with the band.
Dani is next seen when Kurt has news about a debut gig, she is sitting in Kurt, Rachel and Santana’s loft on the sofa with Santana while Kurt gives the news about their gig. Dani along with Elliot and Santana don’t think the venue is the best place for the gig. Kurt has a vision of the band playing in front of a massive crowd. In reality only one person came to the gig.
Dani becomes stuck in the middle of a feud between Rachel and Santana. Along with Elliot and Kurt, Dani decides that Rachel and Santana should be kicked out of the band. Kurt, Elliot and Dani form a trio band. While singing Hold On, it is the last time we see Dani.
Dani is later mentioned by Britney Pierce (Heather Morris) when she tells Santana that nobody could create what Britney and Santana had. Kurt later mentions that Dani’s Roller Derby team had become state champions.
Dani’s debut episode review stated “Demi Lovato as Dani, Santana's love interest, is a really great addition. The potential relationship gave us a chance to see the typically confident, slightly brash Santana be nervous and sort of schoolgirl-ish.” Dani was also described as “Dani seems more mature, which works well since the idea is that we see the characters in New York as older than they actually are.” In a poll, 87% voters stated that Dani needed more screentime. A Digital Spy review of Dani’s debut episode stated “It's a good debut for Demi - she's an accomplished performer with Glee-appropriate vocals and knows how to make the character edgy enough to be a suitable love interest for Santana, who's extremely cute as she's reduced to a giggling, loved-up schoolgirl.” AfterEllen made a list of the top 25 lesbian and bisexual characters on TV, Dani placed at number 25. A writer for AfterEllen stated about Dani and Santana's duet of Here Comes the Sun, that "they sound amazing together" In The Celebrity Cafe's list of Top 10 Glee guests, Lovato came in at 4 where it was said "Lovato showed up in season five as a love interest for Santana. Although it was short lived because Santana was always meant to be part of the couple “Brittana”, it was refreshing to see Santana with another love interest, and Lovato was a great choice."