Fifth Harmony are the world’s leading girl group. I’ve written a couple columns praising them, but the short history is this: Like their male counterparts One Direction, Simon Cowell formed Fifth Harmony into a group after they auditioned for The X Factor as five solo artists. Like One Direction, they went on to make some fire pop singles together: “BO$$,” “Sledgehammer,” “Work From Home,” and “Write On Me” among them. And like 1D — like all successful teen-pop groups, really — the allure of solo stardom has cost them a standout member.
Several members of Fifth Harmony have been releasing solo material recently, de facto frontwoman Camila Cabello most prominently. Cabello’s Shawn Mendes duet “I Know What You Did Last Summer” did well at pop radio, and her Fastball-interpolating “Bad Things” with Machine Gun Kelly hit the US top 10 last week. So it is not surprising to see EW reporting that Fifth Harmony announced Cabello’s departure last night on Twitter. It sounds like she did not break the news to her bandmates personally, which is especially brutal considering they performed a gig together in Miami last night just hours before being informed of her exit.
The remaining members intend to carry on, just as One Direction did after Zayn Malik’s departure, though the name Fifth Harmony is kind of an odd fit now unless they find a replacement for Cabello. The group’s message reads as follows:
After 4 and a half years of being together, we have been informed via her representative, that Camila has decided to leave Fifth Harmony. We wish her well.
You Harmonizers have been there with us since the beginning, you’ve supported us, you’ve rejoiced and cried with us, you’ve grown with us, and with your love and support, we will continue on. That being said, we are excited to announce that we will be moving forward with the four of us – Ally Brooke, Normani Kordei, Dinah Jane and Lauren Jauregui for our fans. We are four strong, committed women who will continue with Fifth Harmony as well as our solo endeavors.
We are excited for our future, and we can’t wait for what the new year brings.
Harmonizers, we are in this together. We love you with all of our hearts.
Ally, Normani, Dinah and Lauren
There is a tendency among some listeners to scoff at this kind of music and the drama that ensues when such groups begin to dissolve, but remember that several of the greatest pop stars going emerged from the same kind of situation, including but not limited to Beyoncé and Justin Timberlake. Even Michael Jackson got his start in the Jackson 5. Only time will tell whether Cabello has a bright musical future ahead of her, but she might! And there’s probably some young person adjacent to your life who is feeling like a wreck today, so have some compassion for the kiddos.
Anyway, here are some jams.
UPDATE: Cabello has shared a statement explaining her departure from the group and responding to Fifth Harmony’s claims that they had “been informed via her representative that Camila has decided to leave Fifth Harmony.”
“I was shocked to read the statement the fifth harmony account posted without my knowing,” Cabello wrote. “the girls were aware of my feelings through the long, much needed conversations about the future that we had during tour. Saying they were just informed through my representatives that i was ‘leaving the group’ is simply not true.” She continues, saying that she “did not intend to end things with fifth harmony this way.” Read her full statement below.
— Camila Cabello (@camilacabello97) December 19, 2016