K-Pop sensations CL and EXO set to thrill fans at closing ceremony
Musical acts have millions of fans worldwide
By Nicole Winchester, CBC Sports
Fans of K-Pop have been hyped since before the Pyeongchang opening ceremony about the closing ceremony.
For more than two weeks, devotees of the boy band EXO and singer CL have been tweeting up a storm about some of the most anticipated performances of the Olympics, on or off the field of play.
And while they might have millions of fans around the world, Canadians unfamiliar with the genre of Korean pop might be scratching their heads over the hype. So here's a primer before you watch the closing ceremony (Sunday morning at 5:30 AM ET on CBC Olympics, and replayed 7 PM local time Sunday evening on CBC TV).
According to the official press release, the theme of the closing ceremony will tell the story of "The Next Wave" and will focus on "the human spirit of perseverance".
CL was chosen as an artist who represents this theme as she is one of the many K-Pop stars to take her career out of Korea and into the world. She is also one of the few to have success outside the country — her 2016 single Lifted made it to 94 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and she is a style icon, working closely with Moschino creative director Jeremy Scott.
CL knew the importance of her "secret mission" at the closing ceremony from the moment she was asked.
CL was asked when they and how they prepared for the closing ceremony. "I found out 3 months ago. There 2as also a previous meeting about it. It is very important to me." She was also asked to prepare well and not tell anyone. "It was a mission, and I kept it a secret." pic.twitter.com/pU5iNlSN7x
She will be performing I Am The Best, a 2011 hit for her former group 2NE1.
CL performing “I Am The Best” at the Closing Ceremony for the Olympics is ICONIC already, I don’t care if she just rolls on the floor that SONG pulls ppl in and she will have the whole world looking fa Ha!!! pic.twitter.com/gu4uIjQZbx
Performing it solo may put Blackjacks — the group's fans — in their feelings.
if CL performs i am the best by herself for real at the olympics closing ceremony i'm gonna be a little sad about it
where are my 2ne1 girlies at
While 2NE1 fans would love to see Bom, Dara, and Minzy at the closing ceremony, rehearsal video has shown her performing solo.
When EXO debuted, it was as a boy band who had "celestial powers from an alternate universe," which the Pyeongchang organizing committee felt represented "The Next Wave" theme.
Over their six years they have settled on nine members: Suho, Baekhyun, Chanyeol, D.O., Kai, Sehun, Xiumin, Lay and Chen. They have released albums in Korean, Mandarin, and Japanese, and are one of the biggest, best-selling boy bands in Asia, with a fan base around the world.
Where around the world? Their fans keep track.
Our hashtag has been trending for 4 hours as no 1 in Seoul!
Asia is sleeping, IEXOL, please do your best. ^^
12 Midnight to 4:16am kst
2.13million tweets. @weareoneEXO #EXO_Olympics pic.twitter.com/3MQCO3YRst
Fans also shared the official poster as soon as it was available.
EXO is figure skater Evgenia Medvedeva's favourite band, and she's even getting the chance to meet them before the closing ceremony.
As good as gold? Maybe.
And while many are inspired by and proud of their athletes at the Olympics, EXO fans feel the same about their idols.
I'm so proud of EXO for all they do and continue to do. Performing in the Olympic closing ceremony and being so polite and grateful for everything. They make great music that comforts me and have personalities and manners that make me strive to be a better person. #EXO_Olympics
There are also rumours of another surprise performer added to the closing ceremony.
A detail to look out for at the #PyeongChang2018 Olympic closer on Sunday: An official at the organizing committee said there will be another previously unannounced K-pop guest along with EXO and CL.
Some are guessing that the addition will be PSY, as his mega-hit Gangnam Style has become the unofficial song of the 2018 Olympics, played repeatedly at venues in and around Pyeongchang.
South Korean broadcaster SBS had some video of both CL and EXO at the closing ceremony rehearsal, showing EXO performing Growl, and CL performing I Am The Best by 2NE1.
Want to sing along? Here's '내가 제일 잘 나가 (I AM THE BEST)':
And '엑소 '으르렁 (Growl)':
What a way to wake up on a Sunday morning.