Oh, the dreaded hiatus.
Popular girl group Fifth Harmony announced via Twitter that its members would be taking an indefinite break to pursue solo careers. Ally Brooke, Normani Kordei, Dinah Jane, Lauren Jauregui and Camila Cabello auditioned as soloists for the reality series “The X Factor” in 2012 but were instead put together to compete as a group. They went on to finish third in the competition and – aside from Cabello, who left the band in December 2016 – have been together since.
“We are all very excited and grateful to be able to take this time to learn and grow creatively and really find our footing as individuals,” the group shared on Twitter. “In doing this we are allowing ourselves to gain new experiences, strengths and perspectives that we can bring back to our Fifth Harmony family.”
Though Fifth Harmony did not win “The X Factor,” it attracted a fervent following on social media. Judge Simon Cowell, who served as a mentor, signed the group to his record label a month after the season ended. Fifth Harmony continued its rise to fame by posting covers of popular artists like Ed Sheeran and Frank Ocean on YouTube, and eventually released its first EP, “Better Together,” in late 2013. They recorded two albums, “Reflection” and “7/27,” before Cabello’s departure, and the self-titled “Fifth Harmony” afterwards.
The group members have previously done solo work. Kordei dropped the single “Love Lies” with Khalid last month, and Brooke collaborated with the German DJ Topic on “Perfect” in January. Jauregui has been featured on tracks by Halsey and Steve Aoki, while Jane appeared on the single “Boom Boom” with producer RedOne and rappers Daddy Yankee and French Montana.
Fifth Harmony achieved mainstream success after hits “Worth It,” which peaked at No. 12 on the Billboard 100 chart, and the Ty Dolla $ign-featuring “Work from Home,” which reached No. 4. But the group arguably attracted the most attention when things began to fall apart. Cabello, who had already done solo work by this point, walked offstage during a concert in September 2016 after experiencing “too much anxiety.” That December, her bandmates announced on Twitter that she had officially left.
“After 4 and a half years of being together, we have been informed via her representatives that Camila has decided to leave Fifth Harmony,” they wrote. “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.”
Cabello responded with her own statement, denying her representatives had been the ones to break the news to the group.
She shared on Twitter: “just like the other girls said in their statement about their plans, i had also planned to continue with my own solo endeavours in the new year but i did not intend to end things with fifth harmony this way. as sad as it is to see this chapter ending this way, i will continue to root them all on as individuals and as a group, i wish nothing but the best for them, all the success in the world and true happiness.”
At the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards, Fifth Harmony began its performance of the single “Angel” with a fifth person visible. Once the beat kicked in, according to Variety, the silhouette was thrown backwards off the stage in apparent reference to Cabello’s exit from the group.
Cabello’s debut studio album, which featured the lead single “Havana,” debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 in January.
The events are similar to those that led up to One Direction announcing an indefinite hiatus back in 2015, though Zayn Malik – who, like Cabello, left his group beforehand – appeared to depart on better terms. Both groups started on “The X Factor” – One Direction on the British version – and cited a desire to pursue solo careers as the reason for taking a break.
Members of each group have faced a fair share of online harassment as well – Kordei took a break from Twitter in 2016 after being “racially cyberbullied with tweets and pictures so horrific and racially charged that I can’t subject myself any longer to the hate.” Some of the hatred came from fans who felt Kordei diminished Cabello’s talent by describing her as “cute” and “quirky” in a Facebook Live interview, according to the New York Times, which reported that Malik had also taken a break from Twitter in 2012 because of Islamophobia.
Fifth Harmony stated its hiatus would not affect concerts scheduled through the end of the year.