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The X Factor

The X Factor’s Dinah Jane Hansen on Her Polynesian Heritage, LYLAS (Now 1432), and the Girl Group’s Future — Exclusive

If you watched any of The X Factor promos before the show started in September, you likely noticed a girl with red-streaked hair belting her heart out. That girl was Dinah Jane Hansen, who wowed the judges during auditions as a solo singer, but didn’t make it through on her own. Instead, the 15-year-old powerhouse was grouped with Ally Brooke, Lauren Jauregui, Camila Cabello, and Normani Hamilton to form the girl group LYLAS. They’ve only been together a couple weeks, and have already started to gain popularity — they even have their mentor Simon Cowell claiming they’re going to win it all.

Hi, how are you? We’ve had you on our radar since before day 1. It seems like we’re not the only ones. Where did your hundreds of thousands of fans come from?
Well, because I’m Polynesian, there’s not a lot of Polynesians in the mainstream music world. Basically they rallied around me and supported me, and I would do a lot of concerts and shows — a lot of charity things so I could get my name out there.

Yeah, you have tons of Tongan support and for the show too. We follow you on Facebook and Twitter and saw you on the X Factor promos. You seem to carry yourself really well on the show. Can you tell us how you felt when you were not chosen as a solo singer and were put in a group instead?
To be honest, at first I felt like ‘maybe I’m in the group because they don’t think I’m good enough to be a soloist. I had my doubts about myself. Not about the girls, but I thought maybe... and I decided to trust Simon and go with the flow. So far, the girls have been nothing but great. They’re really sweet and easy to work with, and they’re all so talented in their own ways. We seem to gel very well.

How much time did you guys have to practice before your first Judges’ House performance?
I think like three or four days. Our moms helped out a lot. They sat and listened to us. They were almost like our judges before judgment day. They critiqued us to the point where it was like ‘Oh my gosh, really?’

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Did you guys practice at the Judges’ Houses, or was it elsewhere too?
It was in studios, at the hotel... everywhere. At breakfast. Any time we had the chance, because we knew that a lot was on the line so we knew we wanted to try our best and give it our all.

How did you decide who would play what role within the group — in terms of both singing and leadership? Was it obvious because of your voices which parts you’d be singing?
We kind of just picked out which parts we wanted to sing and then made those parts our own. It didn’t take long because we all liked the song beforehand. It wasn’t hard to find the parts that defined us individually and as a group.

Everyone leads in their own way. We’ve already established that nobody is the lead singer. We all have our own styles of singing. I think I’m the one who cares for the group. I like to clean. When I clean, I clean around and pick up things without being asked to. And they’re like “Dinah, put that down.” I think it’s because I’m the oldest in my family, so I’m used to that.

And who picked the song, Impossible?
We all did.

Cool. What has your time been like with Simon?
Oh, he’s great. He’s really, really sweet. What I like about him is that he’s very honest (laughs). If he doesn’t like something, he’ll tell you. But so far it’s been great.

Has there been anyone else that you’ve gotten along with really well so far, in terms of groups or other people you met at boot camp or in auditions?
We’ve gotten along very well with pretty much everyone at the Judges’ House. Playback was so sweet and they’re so talented. It was nice making friends with everyone.

Who do you see as your main competition on the show?
The pool of talent is so amazing this year, that everyone is competitive. But really, in all honesty, we’re just competing against ourselves. We want to be better than yesterday, than an hour ago. Just trying to perfect the harmonies and bringing our own parts, and define ourselves.

So, you guys were called LYLAS at Judges’ Houses. Are you going to have to change your name because of the Bruno Mars issue?
Um... I’m not sure.

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Okay. Can we do a lightning round for the word you’d use to describe the girls in the group?
Lauren? Fierce.
Camila? Goofy... in a good way. She’d tell you herself. She’s a goofball... really funny.
Ally? A blessing.
Normani? Poised.
How about you, Dinah Jane? Happy.

Your chemistry was awesome at the Judges’ Houses, even though you hadn’t known each other for long. Had any of you ever met each other at competitions or anything?
You know what the crazy thing is that before we became a group, we were already hanging out as friends. You know, when we got to Boot Camp. We were already drawn to each other and then we became a group... it was really easy.

Do you guys have other music groups you hope to emulate?
Destiny’s Child, Spice Girls, Dreamgirls, The Supremes... There’s a long list.

How would you describe your sound?
Our sound? Honestly, I really can’t answer that right now. Something new.

Is anyone dating someone right now? Any celebrity crushes?
Nope. We’re dating our music right now. You know, we have our crushes here and there. Nothing serious. As for celebrity crushes? Yep, lots. Chris Brown, Justin Bieber... Camila has a huge crush on One Direction.

Were you jealous that Justin Bieber was with L.A. Reid and not with Simon?
Oh my gosh, when I saw that, I was like oh my gosh. I would have died.

Do you think that if it doesn’t work out with X Factor, you guys will stay together as a group? Have you talked about that?
Yeah, definitely. Definitely. We’ve already talked about that.

Do you feel like you have a disadvantage against the other group because you’ve been together the least amount of time?
Yeah, that would be a concern.

Check out Dinah Jane and the rest of LYLAS on the first live show, October 31 at 8PM ET/PT on FOX.

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