Started in 2012, the year PSY's Gangnam Style took over the internet, KCON is an annual convention for fans of K-pop and Korean culture. At the festival, attendees can watch performances by famous Korean artists, participate in fan events, and even purchase albums and merchandise from their favorite K-pop stars.
KCON was held at Los Angeles' Crypto.com arena on August 19-21 this year. Boasting an enviable lineup of several fourth-generation K-pop artists, it was held offline for the first time since 2019. According to Billboard, over 90,000 fans attended KCON this year. Below are five highlights from the festival that you should be aware of.
5 highlights from KCON LA 2022 for K-pop fans to gush over
1) Stray Kids' magnetic performance made ITZY and ATEEZ groove along
Stray Kids (or SKZ as they are often called) is one of the most popular K-pop groups and their songs are well-known among listeners of the genre, whether or not they are fans of the Thunderous group.
As it turns out, fellow K-pop idols are not immune to Stray Kids' charms either.
ITZY's Chaeryong and Yeji were caught on camera dancing along to the group's God's Menu, while the other members were seen enjoying the performance. The two JYP Entertainment groups have always been supportive of each other, and the interaction was just the icing on the cake.
ATEEZ too enjoyed the God's Menu performance by SKZ, cheering on their fellow Kingdom co-stars. The two groups share good chemistry, and the members of the groups are often seen talking and encouraging each other.
2) ITZY and Bebe Rexha scorched the stage with a special performance of Break My Heart Myself
KCON LA had many memorable moments, but none more so than when Bebe Rexha joined ITZY's Ryujin and Yeji for a performance of Bebe's Break My Heart Myself.
The trio first collaborated when Bebe Rexha happened to see Yeji and Ryujin's dance cover of the song. They released a remix version of Break My Heart Myself in July, and eventually performed that version during ITZY's set on Day 2 (August 20) of the LA K-pop convention.
3) The Dream Stages where ardent fans got to dance along with K-pop idols ft. Kep1er and LOONA
Every K-pop group has a group of fans who are obsessed with mastering the choreography, perfecting the steps, and even performing dance covers. KCON 2022 held a special event dedicated to these K-pop dance enthusiasts.
Kep1er and LOONA chose a few fans from the audition videos and performed their most popular songs with them. Kep1er put on a spellbinding performance of their debut song WA DA DA with Kep1ians, while LOONA painted the stage bright with ORBITs, dancing along to PTT (Paint The Town).
4) NMIXX, LOONA, and ENHYPEN covering their seniors' songs
K-pop covers have been a recurring part of KCON and this year did not disappoint. LOONA and NMIXX teamed up to perform a captivating cover of MAMAMOO's Décalcomanie that transported the audience back to 2019 when the Hip group performed the song at the convention.
NMIXX also performed their rendition of SEVENTEEN's 2015 hit VERY NICE, complete with stunning high notes and an incredible energy that always accompanies the song.
ENHYPEN also produced a brilliant cover of BTS' Permission to Dance that had the audience up and dancing along. This year's festival may not have been graced by any of these third-generation groups, but these covers ensured that their presence was still felt by the audience.
5) WAKEONE X BOYS PLANET live auditions at the venue
K-pop fans who have been fans for a long time have probably fantasized about becoming idols themselves. Surprisingly, this year's KCON offered an opportunity for K-pop lovers to try out their hand at auditioning to become part of a K-pop group.
With groups like Kep1er gaining popularity after being formed on the reality show Girls Planet 999, Boys Planet holding auditions in LA truly demonstrates the global nature of Korean music.
Allen of CRAVITY attended KCON as an audience member in 2018 before returning as an artist this year, which could be a real-life fairytale that only one hears about. However, the festival makes dreams come true.