More than 20,000 glowstick-waving fans packed the arena on Aug. 25 for a special taping of the K-Pop chart show M Countdown. The concert special, M COUNTDOWN What's Up LA, will be broadcast online and in 14 countries, including the U.S. on the cable channel Mnet America.
The girl group's Western exposure includes a performance at SXSW this year and a Funny or Die video with Anna Kendrick. Performing their three biggest singles, "Electric Shock," "Rum Pum Pum Pum" and "Hot Summer," the quintet dutifully replicated the vocals and choreography from their music videos but their live performance lacked the spontaneous energy of the rest of the acts.
Rappers Choiza and Gaeko delivered on their name, spitting forceful rhymes to go with breezy hooks.
Demonstrating the diversity of today's K-Pop landscape, Dynamic Duo was followed by 2AM, a quartet whose oeuvre consists entirely of ballads. Whether crooning Bruno Mars' "Just the Way You Are" or one of their Korean-language classics, they had no trouble keeping their audience enraptured by their tender tones and glory notes.
"I was going to study classical music," the Toronto-born violinist, singer, rapper, dancer and actor tells THR. "But I wanted to be a singer too, so I chose this pop career so that I can include all sorts of elements of music." Normally a member of the boy band Super Junior-M, Henry had no trouble commanding the stage solo, thanks to his playful, confident personality and formidable musical and dancing chops.
The rookie group's "Bar Bar Bar" is K-Pop's latest viral hit, thanks to its unusual crossing-guard styling and easy-to-mimic jumping-bean choreography.
HeeJun Han and Yu Seung Woo
The two reality stars (Han finished ninth on season 11 of American Idol, Yu was a Top 6 finalist on South Korea's Super Star K4) joined forces on a K-Pop medley that included an acoustic take on Psy's "Gentleman."
The sextet's high-energy footwork lived up to its bright hair and costumes as the group treated the KCON audience to the world premiere of its zippy club banger "Rocking."
Two decades of fine-tuning the K-Pop formula has resulted in the intricate choreography and catchy hooks of this boy band, which records Korean and Mandarin Chinese versions of every song, album and music video. With 12 members to choose from, anyone is bound to find a favorite (or "bias," in K-Pop parlance).
The Grammy winner's appearances have been relatively rare since 2005's The Cookbook, making this spirited performance of beloved hits "Get Ur Freak On" and "Lose Control" even more of a treat for the KCON audience.
The rapper/producer turned 25 last week but is already a Korean entertainment industry veteran as frontman of Big Bang, arguably Korea's most successful boy band. Cutting a slim and stylish figure on stage, G-Dragon performed his solo hits "One of a Kind," "MichiGO and "Crayon" with swagger and polish.
G-Dragon and Missy Elliott
"Missy is the queen of hip hop, and G-Dragon is the king over there," gushed a fan named Victoria after the hip-hop icons unveiled their much-anticipated collaboration, "NiLiria." (See the official concert recording here.)
More than a few fans, some of whom burst into tears upon finally seeing their K-Pop idols on stage, showed up repping the names of their favorite boy band members.