It was a warm and bright sunny day on 29th July, 2017. For most, it was an ordinary weekend with daily humdrum of work and activity. But for Indian KPop fans, it was one of the most special days of their life. It was the KPop Contest – 2017 Grand Finale.
KPop – the pop music that dominates South Korea is rapidly growing in India as well. The affinities are natural, the music is deep with references to pop, hip-hop, R&B and many others. It’s both decadently visual and intensely energetic, in a way that needs no translation. KPop continues to embody all of these qualities, as was clear during Saturday’s K- pop Contest Grand Finale at Talkatora Indoor Stadium, Gate No. 8, New Delhi.
On Saturday, July 29, white cloth tents sheltering stalls sprung up around the stadium and were immediately filled with people collecting freebies like glow stick (that glows in the dark) and Korean travel guides. Visitors could buy K- pop merchandise from the shop and write a message about their favourite K-pop stars in sketch-your-love-wall. Glow stick and sketch-your-love-wall were a big hit amongst the visitors.
Though the ardent fans had arrived from all over the country, they comprised mostly of college going students. They stood around the venue, discussing about their favourite KPop bands and the recent music videos released.
KPop Competition is an annual grand event which is organised by the Korean Cultural Centre of India, Embassy of the Republic of Korea. Best vocal and dance performers are chosen from 11 different states in India to compete with each other at the grand finale for the grand prize of nomination for KPop World Festival and free trip to Korea.
Looking around at the crowd, one could notice that it was indeed predominantly of females. The majority of the audience were in the 14 to 25 age bracket.
At 4:40 PM, the contest was about to start. The stadium was packed to its capacity. The environment turned into a vibrant energetic affair as the crowd gathered together to witness the annual K-pop extravaganza.
The opening performance was given by Sam Ul Nori (4 Instruments Playing) Team. Their percussion music highlighted the farmers’ melodious prayer to the Almighty for a prosperous harvest.The audience’s excitement and pitch reached an unbelievable high by the time LUCENTE Group (guest judges) took to the stage.
The 24 finalists from 11 regional rounds (from Bengaluru to Chennai to Nagaland) then took to the stage. Their acts were either group dances or solo singing performances. Many groups used props in their performance to add a little surprise element — like glitters, basketball, teddy bear, masks etc.
The vocal group Staccato, comprising Jincy Jacob and Sajin J Mathew, which went on to win in the vocal category, sang Ailee – I’ll go to you like first snow. It was widely appreciated by the audience and the guest judges.
Mizoram based group Immortals Army, which emerged as winners in the dance category, danced to BTS tracks Blood, Sweat and Tears and Spring Day and captivated the audience by their enthralling performance. “It is a great opportunity for all of us and events like K- pop contest should happen more often!” remarked members of Immortals Army.
The thunderous spirit of previous year’s KPop was rekindled by a mind blowing & fabulous performance by Priyanka Mazumdar, winner of KPop Contest 2016 India. “KPop is starting to grow big in India. Within 2 years it will have a huge fan following.’’ stated young Priyanka Mazumdar.
The finale saw the young and lively crowd screaming, waving their glow sticks in frenzy as KPop band LUCENTE gave a rocking performance to end a wonderful day, a day which would be etched in the memories of every visitor who witnessed this fabulous show.
Under the everlasting support of the Korean Culture India Fan Club and under the guidance of the Korean Cultural Centre of India, Embassy of the Republic of Korea created history once again by organising a fantastic show which will have a lasting impact on every Indian KPop fan.
Written by: Saurabh Basu Chowdhury (Korean Culture India Fan Club)