BY PETER LARSEN / STAFF WRITER
Back when Dinah Jane Hansen was 12 or 13 years old, the Santa Ana native remembers watching concerts at the OC Fair and thinking only truly special people were allowed to walk out onto the stage there and sing.
That was all of five years ago and well before the 17-year-old from Santa Ana tried out for Fox’s “The X Factor,” before judge Simon Cowell placed her in a girl group called Fifth Harmony, and before she and the other four teen singers finished third on the show in December 2012.
After that, Fifth Harmony signed to Cowell’s label, released an EP and a few singles, headlined their own club tours and opened an arena tour for Demi Lovato (like Cowell, a judge on “The X Factor”), won a few Radio Disney awards, and now come to the Pacific Amphitheatre with the duo Karmin on Friday to perform on a stage that the tween Dinah Jane never imagined she’d even walk on.
“I’m so excited for the Orange County Fair especially,” she says when we reached her on a break before the summer’s tour resumed recently. “I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I didn’t know people could perform on this stage!’ And now we’re on it.”
It’s been a roller coaster of a year-and-a-half since Dinah and her band mates – Ally Brooke Hernandez, Normani Hamilton, Camila Cabello, and Lauren Jauregui – left the TV talent show and embarked on a new life as Fifth Harmony.
“We’ve been on six or seven tours already, just performing our EPs,” Hansen says. “We just got out of the studio a month ago (working on a debut album), and we spent a month in there.
“We’ve been super, super busy and we just hope everyone enjoys what we’re doing.”
The group’s new single, “BO$$,” debuted this month and caught attention not only for its message of female empowerment and confidence but for the more grown-up – read: sexier – look adopted in its video for the five singers who are now all between the ages of 17 and 21.
“I don’t think
it’s too sexy,” says Hansen, the youngest in the group by
a few months. “But it’s a part of us growing up. And the
song is a positive message, too.”
Playing at Pacific Amphitheatre then will give her a chance to have a whole bunch of friends and family members in the crowd, which is exciting if also a little anxiety-inducing. (As the opening act, they’ll start close to the announced time of 7:45 p.m.)
Later this summer Fifth Harmony will open for Austin Mahone on tour, the album will continue its movement toward release, and Mattel will release Barbie versions of all five girls, something they all are amazed about, Hansen says.
“Oh my god, it’s
a little girl’s dream come true,” she says. “When
I was a little girl, I played with Barbies all the time. It’s
crazy that now we have a Barbie.”
“We were in Ohio two nights ago, our last show before a little break,” she says. “We had an hour of sleep, woke up at 4 a.m. East Coast time, went straight to the airport but our bus broke down and we had to walk to another bus to be picked up.
“We landed here at 8 a.m. and had fans that were surrounding us. It took us an hour to get out, it’s always like that at LAX. Then we were off to do (the MTV series) ‘Teen Wolf,’ then into rehearsal for the ‘Today’ show, then ...”
At that point we couldn’t keep up, just the note-taking was exhausting.
“It was funny but
it was such a great thing,” Hansen says of the hectic departure
from Ohio, in particular, though it goes for the entire two days in