Fifth Harmony star Normani Kordei struggled to control her emotions as she recalled painful memories of Hurricane Katrina hitting her hometown of New Orleans in 2005.
The 20-year-old singer is currently appearing on Dancing with the Stars, and as part of the U.S. TV talent show, she has looked back at some of the most difficult periods in her life, including being the victim of horrific cyberbullying.
On Monday night’s (15May17) episode of the programme, Normani revealed how she couldn’t have survived the natural disaster in 2005 emotionally or physically without the support of her family.
“The whole city was evacuated. Everybody was leaving,” she explained. “I mean, there were bodies floating around. It was like my childhood, everything that I knew, all my memories, gone.”
“I’ve definitely had to overcome a lot and my family’s literally been there for me through absolutely anything. If it wasn’t for my family, I would never in a million years have built the courage to audition for X Factor, and I don’t know if I’d be who I am today.”
Normani’s family home was damaged in the disaster and she subsequently moved to Houston, Texas with her parents and grandmother.
But before she found fame on the U.S. X Factor in 2012, Normani had to endure some traumatic situations in her personal life, including her mother being diagnosed with breast cancer when she was just five years old.
“It was really hard to see her go through that,” she explained in the video package prior to her performance. “And she stayed strong, I know, for me and for my family.
“I get all of my strength from my family, my friends. I want to dedicate this performance to all my loved ones. This is for you.”
Normani then performed a moving routine, which she also dedicated to the Louisiana city, alongside partner Val Chmerkovskiy to the Louis Armstrong classic What a Wonderful World.
The pair earned a perfect 40 from the judges for the performance, and will proceed to the finale of the competition next week. Despite also getting perfect scores, Olympic gymnast Simone Biles was sent home on Monday night’s semi-final.