Sexy gig peppered with tender moments

Fifth Harmony’s (from far left) Dinah Jane, Lauren Jauregui, Normani Kordei and Ally Brooke at their Singapore concert.
Fifth Harmony’s (from far left) Dinah Jane, Lauren Jauregui, Normani Kordei and Ally Brooke at their Singapore concert.PHOTO: ALVIN HO



The Star Theatre/Last Saturday

There was plenty of strutting, shimmying and hair-tossing by American girl group Fifth Harmony at their first concert in Singapore.

Made up of Normani Kordei, Lauren Jauregui, Dinah Jane and Ally Brooke, the group took the stage at 8.15pm, opening with girl- power anthem That's My Girl.

Their skin-tight red outfits and confident power stances made for an impactful entrance. In their 90-minute concert, they went through a laundry list of their biggest songs from their two-album discography.

Although the 5,000-seat auditorium was less than full, the screams of the crowd of 4,000, mostly teenagers and their parents, more than made up for it.

But the energy of the first few songs, including the uplifting love song Sledgehammer and party tune This Is How We Roll, dipped considerably as they went into slower numbers from their latest album 7/27.

Backed by a three-piece band, songs such as Write On Me, I Lied and No Way were a great way to showcase their individual vocals, but not nearly as successful as the uptempo tunes such as BO$$ and All In My Head (Flex).

With Singapore as the last show of their seven-country Asian tour, their fatigue showed in the less- than-tight choreography.

The reliance on sexy dance moves, whether it was Kordei's booty popping or Jane's hair-whipping, also felt like overcompensation, considering that the members of Fifth Harmony can actually sing.

Not that it mattered to the crowd of "Harmonizers", as the group's fans are called, whose shrill screams persisted throughout the set anyway. They even came armed with light sticks and signs (one said "Your notes are higher than my grades") that the group, clearly amused, read out between songs.

While their choreography and vocal prowess were not as stellar as that of British girl group Little Mix, with whom they are frequently compared and who performed at the same venue last year, Fifth Harmony were charming.

On tropical house-tinged tune Squeeze, they gamely picked up caps and teddy bears from fans in the crowd. They also invited a pair of young twins from the audience to join them as they sat on the steps on stage to sing a stripped-back version of Brave, Honest, Beautiful.

Jane thanked their mothers who were on tour with them and told the audience to "listen to your parents, they know what's good for you". This prompted group member Brooke to burst into tears and mouth, "I miss my mum". It was a genuinely tender moment in a packaged pop concert.

The quartet, formed in the second season of The X Factor USA in 2012, performed without Camila Cabello, who left the group in December.

The absence of her distinct vocals was felt on radio smash hit and concert closer Work From Home, where Jauregui took over her portion of the song. But other than that, Fifth Harmony seem to have adjusted perfectly fine.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 10, 2017, with the headline 'Sexy gig peppered with tender moments'. Print Edition | Subscribe