Epic Records

Are Fifth Harmony Really 'Like Mariah'? We Did The Math

Let's explore how 22 divas influenced Reflection using graphs and stuff.

Throughout the course of Fifth Harmony's debut album, Reflection, the ladies drop more names than I did that one time I tried to casually stroll into the Chateau Marmont.

And while my efforts proved unsuccessful, the ladies of 5H manage to channel the strength and ferocity of whichever diva they wish simply by saying her name aloud -- kind of like some pop star-specific version of The Secret. "Bo$$" finds the girl group boasting about "getting Oprah dollars," "Brave, Honest, Beautiful" has them encouraging their Harmonizers to "dance like Beyoncé," and there's even a song called "Like Mariah." Elsewhere on the LP lie less explicit diva references like samples and quotes, plus there are the featured vocals and songwriting credits to consider.

By adding all of those together, I could sort of see which diva figured the most prominently into the album's creation, and -- thanks to flawless MTV designers Randy Morales and Ralph Bashir -- I was able to visualize those findings in the graph below. Yeah, it's not the most scientific of endeavors, but if that's what you're after there's a fascinating article about how "Triskaidekaphobia plays a role in Paraskevidekatriaphobia" over at Scientific American that zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Randy Morales/Ralph Bashir/MTV

In case you're curious about my methodology: I gave one point for every diva namecheck, one point for stuff like samples and quotes, one point every time I got diva déjà vu, one point for an actual feature, and three points for a songwriting credit.

And if you want a more detailed diva-by-diva breakdown of Fifth Harmony's Reflection, read on.

  1. Fifth Harmony drop Mariah's name a grand total of 16 times on "Like Mariah." Mimi's even got a songwriting credit on the track, since it samples those doo doo doop dums from "Always Be My Baby."

  2. Oprah Winfrey

    Dinah, Camila, Normani, Ally, and Lauren sing about how their "purse so heavy/ gettin' Oprah dollars" 12 times on "Bo$."

  3. Michelle Obama

    Likewise with their FLOTUS name-dropping.

  4. In case you didn't know, Meghan Trainor wrote or co-wrote three songs on the album: "Sledgehammer," "Suga Mama," and "Brave, Honest, Beautiful." Plus, she and her breakout single, "All About That Bass," both get referenced by name on "BHB," and she's got a featured vocal on the track.

  5. 5H reference Bey's iconic "I woke up like this" lyric from "***Flawless" on "Them Girls Be Like." They also encourage their listeners to "dance like Beyoncé" five times on "Brave, Honest, Beautiful," which opens with an intro not unlike the one found on "Bootylicious" by Destiny's Child.

  6. The Evil Queen

    As in "Snow White And The Seven Dwarves." A lyric about "mirror, mirror on the wall" is repeated four times in "Reflection."

  7. "Brave, Honest, Beautiful" also has a line about shaking it like Shakira...

  8. ...wining like Rihanna...

  9. ...and posing like Madonna. Each of these three divas gets mentioned four times.

  10. Gretchen Wieners

    "Them Girls Be Like" repeats "You can't sit with us!" twice, which means that fictional Toaster Strudel heiress Gretchen Wieners from "Mean Girls" has finally gotten her due.

  11. Snow White

    This Disney princess gets called out by name twice on "Reflection."

  12. Tyga mentions Aaliyah during his verse on "Like Mariah," so go Tyga.

  13. "We Know" samples "A Dream" by DeBarge, so I'm gonna give this point to that group's sole female member, Bunny.

  14. The "they ain't ready for this" opening of "Brave, Honest, Beautiful" reminds me so much of Destiny's Child's "can you handle this" intro in "Bootylicious."

  15. See above!

  16. Let's look at the title track's lyrics closely: "Don't need no filters on pictures before you post 'em on the 'gram/ You could shut down the Internet, they don't even understand." That's just a fancy way of saying #breaktheinternet, amirite?

  17. Am I the only one who gets "Acapella" flashbacks during "Body Rock"?

  18. Same with "Scream & Shout" and "This Is How We Roll."

  19. I totally blanked on the "Your Lovin' (You're Never Gonna Get It)"-like breakdown near the end of "Bo$" when I was tallying up my data, so En Vogue is unfortunately not featured in the graph above. But I won't let the iconic '90s girl group suffer for my mistakes!

Art by Randy Morales, Ralph Bashir