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K-pop World Festival knows no barriers

  • Published : Oct 29, 2012 - 19:44
  • Updated : Oct 29, 2012 - 19:44

CHANGWON, South Gyeongsang Province ― Forty-three international participants on 15 teams from 15 countries sang and danced to their favorite K-pop songs to compete in the 2012 K-pop World Festival held in Changwon, South Gyeongsang Province, on Sunday.

Each group or soloist battled it out onstage to vie for the title of best K-pop act of the night. The contestants were split into two categories: vocal and performance. The contest’s panel of judges evaluating each act included K-pop celebrity G.O. from MBLAQ. 

Contestants of the K-pop World Festival 2012 in Changwon perform Psy’s horse-riding dance to open the show on Sunday. Yonhap News

Indonesian duo Nadya & Marwah took the grand prize in the vocal category for their acoustic remake of Sistar19’s “Ma Boy.” In the performance category, eight-member girl group O.M.G. from the Czech Republic earned the top spot with their sexy dancing to a medley of Girls’ Generation hits. Each group received a trophy and approximately $10,000 in prize money.

The festival was held to celebrate the spread and popularity of K-pop reaching the far corners of the world.

“It’s starting to emerge like how Western music did,” said Nadya Sabran, one of the grand prize winners from Indonesia. Despite the language barrier, Sabran claims that even people who cannot speak the language can still enjoy Korean music. “It’s almost universal right now and that’s the reason I like it (K-pop)...it’s easy to listen to.”

Female solo vocalist Zhang Bi Chen from China won the first-place trophy and approximately $5,000 in prize money for her rendition of the MBC drama “The Sun and the Moon” theme song, “Back in Time.” Performance group Alem Star from Kazakhstan won first place for its cover dance of G-Dragon and Top’s “High High” and Big Bang’s “Fantastic Baby.”

The second-place winners, receiving $2,000 each, were the contestants from Chile, the United States and the United Kingdom. Receiving the third-place prize and $1,000 were the teams from Uzbekistan, Russia and Turkey. Teams from Mexico, Spain, France, Peru and Japan received the popularity award with $500 in prize money.

Along with the acts by the international competitors, the festival also featured special guest performances by K-pop idol stars TXVQ, FT Island, Secret, APink, MBLAQ, B.A.P and rookie group OFFROAD.

By Julie Jackson (juliejackson@heraldcorp.com)