Disharmony: A Brief History of Fifth Harmony's Recent Ups and Downs
Fifth Harmony gave us some glorious hits, but in recent months there were hints that all was not harmonious within the band
Camila Cabello’s departure from Fifth Harmony rocked the pop music world in the early hours of Monday morning. Since their formation during the second season of The X Factor USA in July 2012, the quintet has produced a pair of Top 10 albums, and a string of hits — notably, this year’s “Work From Home” featuring rapper Ty Dolla $ign.
Fifth Harmony’s downsize is the latest — and biggest — challenge to befall the girl-group in recent months. From social media bullying to canceled shows, and mid-concert breakdowns, it’s clear that all was not harmonious within the band. Read on for some of the trials and tribulations of Cabello, Ally Brooke, Lauren Jauregui, Dinah Jane-Hansen and Normani Kordei.
Normani Kordei and Camila Cabello’s Facebook Live Awkwardness
When asked to say something nice about each of her fellow 5H-ers during a Facebook Live interview with Galore on Aug. 1, Kordei seemed to stall before addressing Cabello. “She is … let’s see. Camila. Very quirky. Yeah,” she eventually said. “Very quirky. Cute.”
The incident touched off a flurry of tweets attacking Kordei for the apparent shade. The situation was so severe that she was forced to clarify the situation in a long note posted to Twitter.
Unfortunately Kordei’s message did little to quell the furious fans, and the hateful tweets only intensified. As a result, she quit the social media platform for over a month, announcing the decision in a lengthy note on Aug. 7.
“Over the past four years of being in the public eye I’ve learned to grow a thick skin to critics and those who may not like me,” she writes. “I’ve never been one to deny anyone of their opinions, but over the course of this last week and especially over the last 48 hours I’ve not just been cyber bullied, I’ve been racially cyberbullied with tweets and pictures so horrific and racially charged that I can’t subject myself any longer to the hate.”
She continued: “I’m not the first black female celebrity to deal with this and I’m sure I won’t be the last. I want to take this moment to say love goes much further than hate in this world. Hiding behind a computer and putting people down, especially for the color of their skin doesn’t make you cool, it makes you a coward!”
Kordei signed off with a note of compassion. “I have nothing but love for everyone, even my haters and I hope I can lead by example,” Kordei concluded. “I also want to thank Twitter for immediately jumping into action when they were alerted to the situation. I love you all!”
Cabello herself came to Kordei’s aid, tweeting support for her and criticism of the cyberbullies.
“I stand by the words “love only,”meaning I won’t tolerate on my timeline any kind of hate, racism, or discrimination towards ANYONE. period,” Cabello wrote. “You don’t have to hate on somebody else to support me – I don’t appreciate it and it’s not what I’m about. Be kind or move on.”
During the St. Louis stop of their 24/7 tour on Sep. 2, Cabello left the stage mid-set and did not return. One of the members of the group told the crowd that Cabello was experiencing a “wardrobe malfunction,” according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, but the singer clarified the early exit in a message posted to Snapchat.
“Hi Missouri, sorry I couldn’t finish the set last night,” she wrote. “Was having too much anxiety and couldn’t finish it … I love u. I’m truly sorry.”
Immediately prior to the concert, Cabello shared a tweet referencing her fatigue.
She later thanked fans for the support she received following the aborted St. Louis set.
On Sept. 8, mere days after Cabello’s onstage walk-off, Jauregui broke down in tears in the middle of singing their R&B slow-burner “No Way” in Phoenix. Kordei came to her side as she kneeled on the stage floor, shielding her face with her arms. The crowd also cheered in encouragement.
The following day, she explained that the lyrics “just made me extra emotional.”
Fifth Harmony Cancel a Slew of Tour Dates
In the aftermath of several emotional onstage incidents, the band canceled the final four dates of the U.S. leg of their 24/7 tour, axing a Sept. 13 show in Auburn, Washington, Sept. 14 show in Ridgefield, Washington, Sept. 16 show in San Diego, California and the Sept. 17 show in Las Vegas.
They also chopped five dates from their European leg, including dates in Marseille, Geneva, Zürich, Munich and Berlin. Many fans were left confused by the cancellations.
Simon Cowell Puts on a Brave Face While Discussing the Band’s Future
The abrupt tour cancellations led some to question the future of the Fifth Harmony. In mid-September, one reporter for New Music Buzz asked Simon Cowell — the X Factor host who helped shape the band — about tensions among the quintet.
“Same with any group,” Cowell answered. “We have conversations about what they want to do, we’ve got to listen to them. It’ll be fine… I hope!” His pained, fearful smile seems to speak volumes.
On Dec. 14, Jauregui was attempting to board a flight at Washington, D.C.’s Dulles International Airport when she was stopped at a TSA checkpoint and searched. A TSA officers told PEOPLE that they discovered a bag of marijuana in Jauregui’s carry-on luggage.
Despite reports that she was arrested, her attorney Dina LaPolt denies the claims.
“Lauren Jauregui was not arrested and detained as reported, but simply given a citation for possession of marijuana and released on her own recognizance. She will address the matter appropriately through the legal system. This will not interfere with any future scheduled performances or activities.”
The 20-year-old singer was released on a summons, the TSA spokeswoman said.