The 2016 K-Pop World Festival regional competition went underway last Friday at the Melbourne Korean Week Festival 2016 held at Queens Bridge Square, with 14 dance crews and vocalists striving to place in the top three teams at the annual Melbourne dance competition. Despite raining heavily for most of the day, it seemed to clear up just in time for the competition to get started.
The show opened up with 225 Crew who covered BTS’ ‘Danger’ and even though it was their first time performing, conveyed the angry yet love stricken themes of the song perfectly. They were followed up by Paradise Crew who had flown all the way down from Brisbane to perform f(x)’s ‘4 Walls’. One of the girls had even flown in that morning and was leaving on the next flight, talk about dedication!
The first vocal performance of the night was from Diah who covered Ailee’s ‘You & I’ and stunned the audience with her big voice. I Am Crew braved the slippery cat walk when performing IKON’s ‘Rhythm Ta’ and Mint brought on a charming stage with GFriend’s ‘Me Gustas Tu’. AO Crew was back once again this year showing their growth and development through Got7’s newly released hit, Fly.
Performing Gfriend’s ‘Rough’ was Hustle whose fans even brought their own special fanboards to support them. The girls proved their talent even further by dancing to a sped up snippet of the song without even so much of a warning from the hosts. KM United had some new faces in their team who despite having been there for less than a year had adapted to the pace of the group perfectly. The group’s set included Akdong Musician‘s ‘Melted‘ with original choreography by three of the members, followed by a group performance of BEAST‘s ‘12:30‘. The crowd went wild when the music cut out during their performance yet, they continued dancing like true professionals without even missing a beat.
Other performances of the night included the very talented Joanne not only singing Narsha’s ‘I’m In Love’ but also playing it on the guitar; Hazel who had formed only a week before the auditions with Hyuna’s sexy ‘Roll Deep’ and RE% all the way from Sydney performing ‘I Need You’ by BTS.
The incredibly popular Lace captivated the audience with new girl group Twice’s ‘Like Ooh Ahh’ and member Carmen even gave a special free style dance to show the other styles the group is capable of doing. Baz and Raina gave a special collaboration performance after meeting at last year’s K-pop World Festival. Baz showed off his amazing rapping skills with Black Nut’s ‘Only I Can Do’ while Raina showed off her powerful vocals. Closing the show this year was Backyard Studios (BYS) doing a mashup of BTS’ ‘I Need You’, ‘No More Dream’, and EXID’s ‘Hot Pink’.
While the judges calculated their scores, members from the groups came together to give the audience a treat with a collaboration of Seventeen’s ‘Mansae’, but when it was over it was time to announce the winner of the Melbourne regional competition for 2016.
The popularity award was announced first with Baz and Raina winning $100 and when asked what they were planning to do with it, they joked about buying dinner. Next up was 3rd place with KM United and 2nd place going to Lace who cried tears of joy when their group name was announced.
‘This year the Korea Week Festival was yet again, a great success. The standard of all performers continue to rise each year and being a competitor allows me to see all of the hard work and effort everybody has put into creating their performance pieces. On top of rehearsing day after day, many competitors took it a step further by changing up their hairstyles and having costumes similar to the K-pop idols they were performing as. Overall, there was a great variety of styles in performance, and the audience was filled with cheers and signs in order to support and encourage their friends on stage.’—Karine, KM United.
‘As it was our first time competing in the Melbourne KPOP World Festival, LACE was both extremely excited and nervous. We decided to take a little risk by covering a 9-dancer item with a member strength of 4, hoping to channel the energy and vibrancy of the song with vivid expressions and sharp, powerful moves! Through the process of rehearsing for the song, we had grown strongly as a team and had so much fun. Our experience at the festival was made more enjoyable by the lovely in-charge team, and we would like to express our deepest thanks to Ellen, Shona, Heaji, and all staff members for accommodating and assisting all teams so well! We would also like to thank the Korean General Consulate for organising such a meaningful event, as well as all of our fellow competitors for making this experience all the more memorable to us. Thank you to the judges for giving us the 2nd place, which we honestly did not expect! We will humbly accept this award as a motivation to strive harder whilst respecting all of our seniors in the scene for without them, we would not have had the chance to compete in an event of such scale. Last but not least, we would like to send our love to our friends and loved ones, who had been supporting us from day 1! LACE plans to release new exciting covers as well as original choreography videos in the near future, so please kindly look out for us! Love And Courage Everlasting✨”– Natalie Nguyen (Hip Bunnie), LACE.
1st place this year went to Backyard Studios who were absolutely speechless and shocked at the fact they’d won.
‘The competition this year was way more competitive this year. There were 14 performances this year, which is way more than last year.I can feel that all the teams have put a lot of effort in not just the technical side of the dance performance but also other aspect such as their expression we didn’t expect to win a place in the competition this year, but it was really a massive surprise when they announced BYS. Really happy for KM united to be placed 3rd, their show was amazing and LACE as well they were very energetic.’– Will, Backyard Studio (BYS).
The members thanked the organisers and the audience for all the support they’d received since their formation and will continue to work hard in the future. The group will be taking home $1,000, a pair of sunglasses from sponsor Eye Trend, and a chance to perform in South Korea later in the year at the finals.
Congratulations and good luck to Backyard Studios!
Credits to Jody Tuvel and Benjamin Huang for the photos and coverage!
For more photos please visit the K-Australia Page
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