By Thao (Michelle) Hoang, Courier Staff Writer
This year's Korean Music Festival at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles took place earlier this month. The theme this year was all about national pride, and everyone showed a lot of spirit. Throughout the concert, everyone showed enthusiasm and support for the team of South Korea, which will be representing at the famous World Cup.
This year’s two hosts were Nicole Jung from Kara, and MC HAHA, a famous South Korean entertainer.
Even though a good 80 percent of the audience was there specifically for Kara, B2ST, Wonder Girls and 2PM, the line up was really spread apart. B2ST surprised everyone performing first. Like myself, and a thousand of other fans, we all rushed out of our seats, and excitedly ran towards the stage. Within less than five seconds, all the fan signs shot up high in the air. All glitzed up in black and gold, B2ST introduced themselves in Korean and soon after, their performance began. B2ST started out with Easy, followed by Mystery and ended with their popular dance song “Shock.” B2ST impressed everyone with their amazing vocals, and impressing dance moves. No one would’ve ever thought that they’re just a rookie group. Unfortunately, once groups perform, they don’t come back out till the closing act, which bummed me out.
The next few to sing were Veteran singer Kim Yun Ja and Lee Eun Mi. Kim Yun Ja, a famous singer in Japan for her enka singing style. Lee Eun Mi performance was emotionally impacting and received a lot of love and applauses. It wasn’t such a good idea to put them after B2ST’s performance. The songs did not suit the style for the majority of the crowd, but the audience was still pumped after B2ST’s performance, and still showed support to the two Veterans.
Leessang, a very popular hip-hop duo, and Kim Jong Kook, also received a lot of love from the audience, and definitely gained more fans. They both captivated the audience with their strong interaction and making us feel so involved. I'm quite sure some new fans were made in the process, including myself.
One of the unique performances of the Korean Music Festival was when MC HAHA randomly selected one LUCKY girl out of 18,000 people in the audience to serenade to. Soon after, 2PM, Kara, Leessang, Kim Jong Kook, and HAHA crowded the stage for a spirited performance of “GO KOREA!” in support of Korea’s participation in the World Cup. When I finally got to see 2PM at this moment, I rushed to the stage, once again. Along with other girls (and boys), we all screamed, jumped, and squealed. The camera flashing began, and the audience got louder. After the performance, we were all escorted back to our seats by the Security guards, which tried to patrol us all night. But with so much people rushing to the stage, it was hard to manage and get everyone back to their seats.
With such a spirited performance, there was only 3 main performances left; Kara, Wonder Girls, and 2PM.
I believed that Kara was going to be performing next, and for sure 2PM to be performing last. As I’m sitting in my box, I ask my friend if she wants to run to the stage with me, when Kara performs, but she didn’t want to. When I saw Nicole do an okay sign, I just knew it was for 2PM. I immediately hopped over my box, and began running, the same time Nicole shouted “2-P-M.” As I began running towards the stage, I came to a sudden stop and jolted back. The security guards wanted to ruin my life. No one was allowed to go towards the stage area, and right then, my heart shattered. Once 2PM presented themselves on stage, the screams were non-stop and was at an all time high. And I mean REALLY HIGH. 2PM kicked off their performance with ‘Again and Again’ and that was enough for me to lose my voice. Followed by ‘Again and Again’ was ‘Heartbeat.’ And ended with their latest single, ‘Without U,’ which is by far my favorite song. I was screaming to the top of my lungs. Looking up to the widescreen and seeing each of the member’s face, I found myself beginning to hyperventilate. Each performance was more captivating than the previous, and the dance moves were on point. Unfortunately and very surprisingly, popular boy band 2PM only performed 3 songs. At least perform 5… sheesh. The atmosphere after their performance was just hyped and energetic. Looking around the big stadium, I don’t recall anyone sitting during their performance or after.
Following next was Kara. Kara's performance was very stunning and they really shined on stage. I don’t listen to their songs much, but I was very impressed. They presented themselves very well. Nicole, she was a co-MC with HAHA, but seeing her being a host on stage, and seeing her swivel her hips is a totally complete different story. Kara performed ‘Lupin’, followed by ‘Honey’, and ended with ‘Mister.’
With 2PM and Kara’s performance done with, that meant only one thing and only one group left. The… WONDER GIRLS.
To my surprise, I didn’t think they would perform last, but out of all groups, they do have the most exposure in the US, so maybe that was the reason. They first performed ‘So Hot’, which many agreed that it was so hot (pun intended). Their popular song ‘Tell Me’ followed it and just before they performed their biggest hit, ‘Nobody’ (in English), Yenny asked the audience “Do you know our dance? We’re gonna teach it to you.” In less than five minutes everyone was taught the basic steps to the Nobody dance. Even though I’m pretty sure the majority of the crowd already knew it. The Wonder Girls showcased their talents and had a strong stage presence, which was no surprise, since they’ve performed on big stages for the Jonas Brothers, and Justin Bieber as well.
After a long night, which really didn’t seem long at all, the display of lights and fireworks flared into the night sky, as all the performers joined together on stage to celebrate and sing the final song, "GO KOREA.” Everyone had their cameras out to record the finale and for many, their last chances of seeing their favorite stars, till next year.. of course.
Overall, the 8th Annual Korean Music Festival was a success, and a night I’ll always remember.