August 26, 2023

Reverberating notes from 2023 K-Pop festival

It was the grand finale of the annual K-Pop (Korean Popular music) dancing and singing festival and the show, held July 29, was as therapeutic as expected. 

By Prisca Sam-Duru 

The Korean Cultural Centre Nigeria, KCCN, gave Nigerians exactly what they needed- spellbinding Korean vibes, at this crucial time of their lives.

It was the grand finale of the annual K-Pop (Korean Popular music) dancing and singing festival and the show, held July 29, was as therapeutic as expected. 

The festival, organised by the Korean Cultural Centre of the Embassy of the Republic of Korea, has been a part of several activities designed to promote Korean culture in Nigeria while strengthening the existing bicultural relations between Nigeria and Korea.

The Terra Kulture arena which served as venue of the festival was filled with lovers of K-Pop, Korean culture and just, everything Korean. From start to finish, the atmosphere was electrifying. The energy that the participant who were drawn from different parts of Nigeria exuded on stage, consistently sent the excited audience into ecstatic roars made with every available tool; plastic hand clappers, hands and voices. 

The fiesta which featured a pulsating dance and singing competition began with a preliminary round in June. Eight dance teams and 10 singing contestants were selected across the competitive number of entries received to participate in the finale.

With powerful boom sound that matched thunderous ovations from the audience, the stage was lit with performance by C’Fly and P’Brian (Guest Performance of Butter by BTS and Idol by BTS). C’Fly who was also one of the judges, and P’ Brain are past winners of K-Pop competition. The duo displayed exactly why they were adjudged best in their time; getting everyone in the mood.

The main competition followed with Macwhitney Myles-Iranyohe opening the singing category with (Still love you by Lee Hong Gi). Other participants in the singing category include: Olonade Victor Joseph (Eyes, nose, lips by Taeyang); Precious Oboye (Will be back by Sunhae M); Paul-Rotua Melissa (Winter child by Bae Suji); Theresa Funmilayo Otokola (Because it is you by SNSD Tiffany); Joy Elo Ossai (Child by Mark Lee-NCT); Iruoghene Emmanuella Atimati (Losing my mind by Hwasa); Joy Malik (A Poem Called You by Taeyeon); Olamikanra Oluwakemi Ayoola (Beautiful life by Crush) and Fagbenle Mofiyinfoluwa Deborah (You are my everything by Park Ji Yeon).

You’d be blown away by the capability of these contestants to sing Korean songs without stuttering.

Team Switch (Save me by BTS); Team Limitless Supreme 6 (Super by Seventeen); Team Ray Jay (Alexa by Wonderland); Team Savy Crew (Super by Seventeen); Team Royals (Dynamite by BTS); Team Tryuphant X (On by BTS); Michelle Okonkwo (Wannabe by ITZY) and Team XDC Dance Crew (Dope by BTS), featured in the dancing competition. 

All through the acts, the stage brimmed with energy, passion and of course, the desperation to win as they rendered chart-topping K-pop masterpieces with mesmerising dance steps. 

The astounding and exhilarating dance choreography by Jay Kim(Special Dance Performance of Nothing on Me by Kai), an international K-Pop dance choreographer from South Korea, ended the competition. Jay Kim who was both a judge and guest performer, is reputed for holding K-Pop workshops in 43 countries and 82 cities across the world including Nigeria, Japan, China, U.S.A. Sweden, Mexico, France, South Africa, Greece, Austria, Paraguay, Italy etc. His dance moves and flexibility were simply hypnotic and many swarmed around him after the show, to get his autograph on their T-shirts. 

At the end of the competition, the Royals (Lagos, Dynamite by BTS), carried the day, while 2nd Prize and 3rd prize went to Team Switch (Kaduna, Save me by BTS), and Tryumphant X (Port-Harcourt, ON by BTS) respectively, in the Dance competition. Coincidentally, all winners performed music by award-winning BTS, renowned for being the first Korean act to top the US Billboard 200 chart.

In the singing competition which saw contestants belting songs by Korean musicians, 1st Prize went to Joy Malik (Ogun; A poem called you by Taeyeon), 2nd Prize was taken by Joy Elo Ossai (Owerri; Child by Mark Lee (NCT)) while, Olonade Victor Joseph (Ogun; Eyes , nose , lips by Taeyang), took the 3rd position. 

The Popularity Prize winner was Limitless Supreme 6 (LS6) (Port -Harcourt, Super by Seventeen); they received 100,000 naira cash award.

First place winners in both dance and singing categories each received a cash prize of 500,000 naira, 2nd place winners got 300,000 naira while 3rd place received 200,000 naira.

The dance performance video of the 1st & 2nd winners will be sent to Korea for a chance to participate in the 2023 K-Pop World Dance Festival in Changwon.

Judges for the competition included: Jay Kim (K-Pop dance choreographer and 1million dance studio instructor); Praise Nelson (K-Pop dance champion South Korea 2015); Uzodinma Callistus Chibueze a.k.a C-Fly (K-Pop dance representative South Korea 2022); and Kim Chang-gi (Director, Korean Cultural Centre Nigeria).