We have been working with the Korean Embassy in Ireland for years on a variety of projects but one we always enjoys is the annual Irish preliminary round of the K-Pop World Championships. Groups and performers from all over the world perform in these regional preliminary competitions and the winners are sent forward for a chance to compete in the world championships held in Changwon, South Korea.
K-pop, short for Korean Popular Music, has exploded worldwide in recent years and is now an entertainment powerhouse and billion dollar industry. Acts such as BTS, PSY and BigBang have topped charts and sold out arena tours all over the world. Much the same as Ireland, South Korea harnesses the huge popularity of these cultural exports to encourage education and tourism.
Each year, the Korean Embassy in Ireland hosts the Irish preliminary, bringing together some of the finest singers and dancers in Ireland to showcase their K-pop inspired acts. From solo singing acts to large dance crews, the standard of the competitors is always incredible and the event is always a hit with the live audience. To give an idea of the measure of the skills; Irish dancer Sodem Solana went from winning the Irish heat in 2019 to winning the overall World Championships. Sodem competed against acts from all over the globe, winning over the judges with his meticulous preparation and sassy performance. Singing and dancing to Jennie’s smash hit ‘Solo’, Sodem’s choreography earned him the title of K-pop World Festival Champion, a huge achievement in the K-pop world.
This year saw 14 acts competing – 2 solo singers and 12 dance acts. At a sold out evening in the O’reilly Theatre in Belvedere College they all thrilled the audience and judges alike. The winners on the night that will be put forward were singer Isabel Ren, dance crew I-VI and the overall prize went to solo dancer Luma.