If you walk through Barrancas de Belgrano on any given Sunday, close to midday, you’ll find something you might not necessarily be expecting. That’s the exact moment and place chosen by hundreds of young, adoring K-pop fans to celebrate their love for their Korean music idols. One after the other, fan clubs of the cultural phenomenon that has been taking the world by storm for a while now assemble in one of the plazas, display their group’s best merch, and even celebrate the most recent birthday of any of the members of the bands. I personally stumbled upon this glorious event a couple of months, and can honestly say I was pretty baffled. Maybe it’s a generational thing (I’m only 34 but that is considered old nowadays), but I actually didn’t know that K-pop was such a big thing in Buenos Aires.
Speaking of not knowing anything about how huge this K-pop thing is..
Tomorrow – Saturday, June 1st – will mark the final of the tenth (yes, TENTH!) edition of the Latin America KPOP contest, the biggest event of its kind in the region, with a pool of over 350 preliminary contestants from seven countries (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexicom and Venezuela) being trimmed down to just 14 groups and solo acts that will be performing their asses off at the Centro Cultural Konex beginning at 3 PM.
The event, launched by the Korean Cultural Center in Argentina, was aimed at anyone older than 14 years of age with permanent citizenship in any Latin American country who fluently spoke the Spanish language (or Portuguese in the case of Brazil, of course) and had no Korean descent whatsoever. Participants could sign up as individuals or groups of up to six people and had to send a short video singing or dancing along to a K-pop song. Tomorrow, contestants will be judged separately on their dancing and singing skills. Singer and actress Angela Torres, a local teen pop idol, will be head judge, joined by actress Soledad Silveyra, an unexpected K-pop fan. The jury will be completed with the Korean-Argentine YouTuber Jini and the founder of La Portuaria, Christian Basso. Aside from snagging some pretty cool prizes, winners will be in the running for a chance to qualify for the K-Pop World Festival final held in South Korea.
Entrance to the event is free and tickets will be handed out starting at 1:30 PM. But be warned, this K-pop world is pretty bonkers, so I would plan to arrive much earlier than that to ensure you’re not left out of the fun. Apparently last year people waited for up to 12 hours in line to get tickets, which just seems unnecessary but hey, who am I to judge?
If you’re like me and you don’t like crowds, you’ll be happy to know the event is also going to be live-streamed through the official Youtube channel of the Korean Cultural Center in Argentina.
And just in case you’re still confused, I’ll leave you now with a little explainer of the K-pop phenomenon, targeted at old geezers like myself (again, only 34, but… well).