Fifth Harmony are a reality girl group from the US X Factor with their eyes firmly set on breaking the UK. You might remember them on our version in December, singing their last single Bo$$, a female empowerment anthem with backing vocals harking back to En Vogue’s My Love (You’re Never Gonna Get It), coupled with the very modern sounds and go-girl sentiments of Salute and Run the World (Girls). They’re the combination of our greatest X Factor exports, being a hybrid of Little Mix and One Direction – the former partly in sound and style, and the latter in online hysteria and fan devotion.
So obviously we just had to speak with them. Notably, the charming and excitable Dinah. She tells us about their travelling sisterhood – they used to be called LYLAS (Love You Like A Sister) – and the support they give each other on tour. “Being on the road especially is hard,” she says, “and we have each other to cry on, ‘cos you know we’re girls. There are moments when we need tears. We start dropping down tears and that’s where the sisterly thing comes in handy, especially when it comes to boys. We just try to lean on each other.”
As well as their sibling-like bonds, another description that follows Fifth Harmony around is ‘goofy’, a role in which Dinah delights. “Well, I’m the prankster of the group, so I like to pull pranks on the girls. We were on the Demi Lovato tour and I got a little too excited, I was like, ‘Oh I think it’d be so cool if I put some whipped cream in a bowl and slam it in her face.’ And that’s what I did on the last show. ‘Demi I love you!’ And then I splattered this pie in her face.” Way harsh Tai. She laughs, “Yeah! She wanted to kill me afterwards, but we both laughed it off…”
The one thing we didn’t tell you about Dinah Jane Hansen is her age. She’s 17, born two years after Clueless came out. But does being the youngest member mean you can get away with these things?
“Yeah, sometimes,” she laughs again, “I think ‘cos I’m the youngest, everyone is ‘Dinah is fine, Dinah can slide.’ So I’m like ‘OK!’”
Alongside their sassy Bo$$ single, they’ve got pencilled-in single Sledgehammer (an absolute electropop banger, if you’re asking) and have even recorded songs with Meghan Trainor for their debut album Reflections. What we want to know is, are there anymore electropop numbers to come?
“On this album, you can tell from the singles that’ve come out like Bo$$ and Sledgehammer, that the sound doesn’t really match, they don’t really sound related. We’re showing we’re being versatile on this album. Because we’re five girls and we like five different things, different sounds. Camila, she likes the Ed Sheeran feel, Normani and I like the RnB, Lauren likes the indie stuff and Ally the pop stuff. There’s a mix of so many things.”
For X Factor finalists coming third, they’ve already outrun their competitors. They even have their own range of Barbies, despite Dinah not being able to afford them as a kid. She’d instead play at her cousins, who had boxes of them. “It’s a blessing to have my own Barbie,” she says, “I’m looking at my own Barbie, I’m looking at my own reflection. I think what makes my Barbie unique is that she’s Polynesian. I’ve never seen a Barbie that’s Polynesian before and I think I’m the first Polynesian Barbie.” She’s not – there was one in 1994 that came with a grass skirt, lei and floral garland – but she’s certainly the first Polynesian Barbie from a charting girl band.
It’s all rather camp and may go some way to explaining their appeal to their US gay fans, which Dinah is audibly excited to get talking about. There are woo-hoos.
“We actually do have a lot of gay fans, we’ve met so many. I mean, I have a lot of gay cousins, so I’m just ‘Heyyyy.’” Needless to say, she ticks all the boxes, loves her gay fans and gets the most confidence from her gay fans in the crowd. But we were more intrigued by the mild homoeroticism we found among 5H fans when we dipped a toenail into the insane online hysteria that follows the girls wherever they tweet. We learnt a new word, we’ll let Dinah explain.
“Shipping? I didn’t know what shipping was either, until I started being in this group. Especially with Camila, she was like the biggest shipper kind of girl. So shipping is putting two people together, a couple together, or whoever. Let’s say Selena Gomez with Justin [Bieber], placing them together and then you mix the name together. I guess their name is Julena? That’s it. I didn’t know what it was before either, I was like, ‘What the heck is shipping?’”
It’s not just Julena, Fifth Harmony fans do it all the time. There are separate fan Wiki pages on each ship.
“But it’s so cute when they ship us girls with each other. We all ship around. Everyone has a favourite ship.”
Which begs the question, what’s yours?
“Erm, lemme see…” She pauses over the quandary of picking her favourite like-a-sister band mate. Finally she says, “I ship everyone!” And laughs, “I need to figure out names to ship all five of us.” We came up with Alaurmanilanah, but surely the point of the band is that they’re already one big ship? We’ll just stick to calling them Fifth Harmony.