Last month on Aug 15-18, the LA Convention Center and Staples Center were packed to the brim with Kpop fans from all walks of life at the biggest Hallyu event in North America – KCON LA. To say the event was overwhelming is an understatement – but here are five things you missed to sum it all up.
1. A game of Flip Cup between AB6IX, LOONA, and ATEEZ
With the first iteration of KCON ROOKIES to hit the West Coast comes the question: what is KCON ROOKIES exactly? Fans eager to find outlined up well before the start of the convention, let alone the event that Friday night. ROOKIES started off with group intros to get to know the newbies and each member’s individual charms, soon progressed to variety and relay games with LOONA emerging as Flip Cup champions, and of course, special stages from each of the groups.
2. Live sandwich mukbang with AB6IX
Over at the expo the following day, AB6IX hit the stage in their usual attire but with added aprons in true foodie style. The members sandwich-making skills captured the hearts of ABNEWs just as quickly as the boys ate said sandwiches there shortafter. Con-goers may have also spotted fromis_9 doing a makeup tutorial at the KCON BEAUTY stage, SF9 showing their “10-second charms” via aegyo, sexy dance, and lots of “woah-ing” at their Star Live Talk, and a Boom Boom dance workshop with the queens themselves, MOMOLAND.
3. A stellar Queen medley by N.Flying
Arguably the most epic part of KCON is the special stages that often make their first and sometimes the only appearance, and this year’s show did not disappoint. LOONA dominated the stage with covers of BTS’s Fire and Not Today at ROOKIES and KCON D2 respectively, while ATEEZ gave a stellar performance at ROOKIES to top charting American songs, Travis Scott’s “Sicko Mode” and YG’s “One Time Coming.”The powerful stages showed no signs of slowing – Sunday’s concert had a strong start with a special stage from Stray Kids trio Changbin, Han, and Bang Chan, better known as 3RACHA; followed by a girl group medley from band N.Flying. The band later performed an astounding Queen medley that had everyone in the crowd on their feet. And of course, no set of special stages would be complete without MAMAMOO’s vocals to bring the house down. MAMAMOO member Solar showcased her range with a softer selection, performing a cover of Speechless from the recent live-action Disney movie, Aladdin.
4. A game of dance charades with Stray Kids
Over at check-in, it was hard to miss the mob of fans looking to exchange artist engagements immediately right outside the exit doors. Signs reading sought out engagements and shouting across the parking lot felt similar to a trading floor and for good reason – the artist engagements were definitely not one to be missed. IZ*ONE showed off their dance skills, with improv covers to songs “Han,” “Alligator,” and “Boy With Luv” during a music game while ITZY and VERIVERY proved themselves selfie queens and kings with cute selfie challenges.
5. The Kpop-equivalent of Rick Rolling: an “Aju Nice” encore that never ends
Some of the most highly anticipated acts of the night were the headlining acts, NU’EST and SEVENTEEN. NU’EST opened their set with Deja Vu, performing the song with all five members for the first time, and ended KCON D2 on a high with bops like “Love Paint,” “RLTL,” and “Bet Bet.” SEVENTEEN not only proved themselves as synchronization kings but also as meme lords, creating the new Rick Roll of Kpop with a whopping THREE-time encore of “Aju Nice.” Other encore-worthy songs performed by the powerhouse group include HIT, Good to Me, Adore U, and Clap.
Certainly, there’s more beyond what was mentioned – photo ops throughout the convention center, panels ranging from the LGBT fandom to poorly drawn fan art; and of course, loads of Korean dishes Food Street had to offer. KCON LA 2019 has set the bar high for next year, and we can’t wait to see what will come with KCON 2020 to top this.
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