Lastly, Los Angeles once more felt the complete energy of Okay-pop fandom because the scene’s premiere competition KCON made its grand return this weekend after two years away throughout the pandemic.
Throughout three days of a conference on the Los Angeles Conference Middle and two days of live shows within the Crypto.com Area, KCON 2022 Los Angeles reported greater than 90,000 followers in attendance in its first in-person occasion since 2019.
Plus, with a brand new, post-COVID emphasis on dwell streaming, the competition garnered a complete viewership of seven.17 million viewers in additional than 176 areas.
KCON’s dwell comeback is a slight dip from its final in-person occasion (103,000 followers have been reported attending in L.A. in 2019), however what 2022 can declare is a few of its most notable workshops and performances up to now — a serious hurdle to leap over as KCON celebrates 10 years within the SoCal space.
By way of KCON’s three conference days, former Okay-pop group members like Amber Liu, Kevin Woo and Alex Reid opened up about their business journeys and careers in the present day. Liu’s hour-long chat on Friday, Aug. 19, was significantly eye-opening as she talked about her battles together with her psychological and bodily well being all through her profession, shifting some attendees to tears in a uncommon and uncooked second for the realities of superstardom. An emotional discuss like this was an ideal setting in a protected house like KCON the place supporters and Okay-pop followers encompass audio system.
The marquee live performance kicked off on Saturday, with the viewers rapidly noticing it wanted to remain on its toes because the present interspersed particular performances and moments between artist units.
ATEEZ kicked off the live performance by performing a brand new, unreleased music, “POPPIA,” introduced as the primary “Signature Tune” of KCON. It wasn’t the one new music getting a dwell premiere both as Stray Youngsters members Bang Chan, Changbin and Han additionally carried out an unreleased monitor collectively as their trio often called 3RACHA.
The one efficiency of the night time that wasn’t closely choreographed, however was undoubtedly heartfelt, was when pop diva Bebe Rexha shocked the viewers. The unannounced particular visitor joined ITZY members Yeji and Ryujin to carry out the brand new remix of Rexha’s monitor “Break My Coronary heart Myself,” which now options the Okay-pop stars.
Ryujin closed the efficiency, shouting, “Love you, Bebe!” earlier than Rexha even louder, yelling, “I like you, ITZY!” All three walked offstage, hugging and smiling.
In a capturing of the occasions and to honor the primary decade of KCON, artists noticeably targeted solely on overlaying and celebrating their fellow Okay-pop acts — versus previous KCONs the place many artists delivered (often awkward) renditions of English pop songs.
Lady group Kep1er lined new Okay-pop basic “La Vie en Rose” by IZ*ONE, rising boy-band superstars ENHYPEN took on BTS‘ Scorching 100 No. 1 “Permission to Dance” whereas feminine octet LIGHTSUM carried out (G)I-DLE‘s 2022 hit single “Tomboy.”
In the meantime, Japanese boy band INI (created on an area model of Produce 101, a singing competitors present that started in Korea) additionally stepped as much as the event with a brand new Korean model of their J-pop hit “Password.”
KCON’s second night time of live shows delivered much more surprises. LOONA carried out their Pop Songs radio hit “Star,” WJSN delivered “Aura,” the music that gained them the Korean girl-group competitors present Queendom 2 earlier this 12 months, all earlier than The Boyz whipped out “Whisper,” their newest single that solely dropped earlier that week.
Later, the brand new lady group NMIXX lined SEVENTEEN‘s signature music “Very Good,” and boy band TO1 took on Scorching 100 hit “That That” by PSY and BTS’ Suga. The present’s final cowl was its greatest but as LOONA members Heejin and Hyunjin teamed up with NMIXX’s Sullyoon and Kyujin for his or her mixed tackle MAMAMOO‘s 2016 Okay-pop hit “Décalcomanie.”
For as a lot emphasis because the tenth anniversary had on honoring their fellow Okay-pop stars, the standout second of KCON needed to be the “Dream Stage” portion of the night time that not solely mixed the live performance and conference however native followers and Okay-pop superstars.
In the direction of the top of the efficiency of “WA DA DA” by Kep1er on the primary night time and LOONA’s “PTT (Paint the City)” on the second, a troupe of followers joined the teams onstage to hitch the lady teams. Earlier that day, followers attending the KCON conference discovered and auditioned for every music’s respective choreography in hopes of becoming a member of the artists on stage.
Whereas audiences love Okay-pop teams for his or her synchronicity and steadiness, the variety of gender, our bodies and pores and skin colours that joined the teams on stage made for a second that spoke to an more and more international and numerous future for music. And maybe that’s precisely what KCON has been working towards all these years.