KCON LA 2023 was a whirlwind of K-pop excitement, where not even Hurricane Hilary or an earthquake could deter passionate fans.
With an estimated 140,000 attendees and 278 vibrant booths at the Los Angeles Convention Center complex over three unforgettable days, this year’s KCON LA was a true spectacle. From meet-and-greets and mesmerizing workshops to delectable food, a dazzling red carpet, captivating dance showcases and extraordinary live performances, the event had it all.
In its 11th year, KCON LA extended its festivities to three action-packed days instead of the usual two. While artists like Stray Kids, ATEEZ, Rain, NCT’s Taeyong, SHINee’s Taemin and SM’s newest sensation, RIIZE, set the Crypto.com Arena ablaze with their showmanship, it was the girl groups who added a charming magic to the mix.
Here are eight outstanding girl group moments from KCON LA 2023, because when these ladies took the stage, they devoured the spotlight and left no crumbs behind.
8. Lapillus x EVERGLOW KCON’s magnetic allure lies in its ability to seamlessly amalgamate an array of diverse talents onto one electrifying stage. As the curtains rose on the third night’s concert, the convergence of MLD Entertainment’s beguiling girl group, Lapillus, and Yuehua Entertainment’s darling EVERGLOW was a jolting surprise. The two groups joined together in dynamic choreography before Lapillus vaulted into their fervent girl crush anthem “Who’s Next?” With its echoing and boisterous harmonics, the song ignited a fire for the rest of the evening and posed a challenge to the acts to follow.
7. NMIXX giving “The Feels” with their tribute to TWICE A central theme of this year’s KCON LA was allowing fourth-gen groups to carry the torches of their predecessors. On the very first night, JYP Entertainment’s NMIXX paid homage to their senior group, TWICE, by covering the latter’s first English song “The Feels,” a track brimming with infectious fun and flirtatious charm. NMIXX then lived up to one of their hits and turned KCON into a perpetual “Party O’Clock.” They showed that whenever they perform, they become architects of a musical revelry; the legacy of JYP artists is as bright as ever.
6. IVE’s dream on a “big, big stage” On the first night of KCON, IVE’s charismatic Wonyoung served as an MC before joining her fellow members to perform their hit tracks “Kitsch” and “Love Dive.” KCON’s Dream Stage took fans one step closer to their K-pop idols as they secured an opportunity to dance alongside them, and IVE’s Dream Stage was a mesmerizing encapsulation of the dreams shared by K-pop artists and fans alike during their rendition of “I AM,” complete with soaring high notes and lyrics about making it to the “big, big stage.”
5. ITZY’s individuality Draped in pristine white threads, ITZY dominated the KCON stage with an air of effortless cool. They kicked off their set with their infectious summer bop “Cake,” a mix of pop melodies shaken up with the vivacious spirit of confetti mix and a dash of sassy hip-hop chants thrown in for good measure. Even the backlash surrounding their track “Sneakers” seemed like a joyful misunderstanding as the crowd gleefully belted out every word. Yet, it was during ITZY’s Dream Stage performance of “Wannabe” that the true essence of both the group and the KCON event crystallized. The quintet showcased the sheer art of embracing one’s true self without a care in the world.
4. (G)-IDLE’s queen status
Hot off their sizzling “I am FREE-TY” world tour, (G)I-DLE returned to Los Angeles, ready to unleash a thunderous reminder of their status as musically rebellious and fierce. With each verse, they command a sonic punch to the status quo — take, for instance, the plucky flexing of “My Bag,” where the girls assert they are bosses with the money bags to show for it. Without any covers or Dream Stages, (G)-IDLE solely relied on their own artistic strengths and showed why they have all the queen cards in their hands.
3. EVERGLOW’s return
After a year and eight months, EVERGLOW made their career comeback both in-studio and at KCON with their latest number, “Slay” — and as this title suggests, the girls did just that. KCONers witnessed the reunion of the six-member group, with Chinese member Yiren performing after her long absence. Closing out their time at KCON was fan-favorite “La Di Da,” which caused an eruption of elation from concertgoers and reaffirmed EVERGLOW’s namesake as idols whose lights will never dim. “EVERGLOW forever, let’s go!”
2. Kep1er’s first-ever meeting with LYRE Besides Kep1er’s throwback cover of Girls’ Generation’s 2014 song “Mr. Mr.,” one of the greatest girl group moments at KCON happened offstage: K-pop songwriting trio Elli Moore, Alina Smith and Giselle of LYRE music group, who wrote Kep1er’s recent hit, “Giddy,” got to meet the K-pop stars and take photos with them. The songwriters were also in for another surprise — to their delight, Kep1er ended up performing “Giddy” during the second day of KCON.
1. XG are truly the future
Let’s address the elephant in the KCON arena: giving a Japanese girl group the top spot on this KCON moments list might raise a few well-groomed eyebrows, but XG are the “Xtrordinary Girls,” after all. Having had performed at popular music events such as Head in the Clouds, XG were primed for a grand KCON debut. Versatility came in both their rainbow sartorial splendor and their diverse musicality onstage. The septet grooving to Mary J. Blige’s iconic “Family Affair” was so captivating that KCONers really did seem to leave everything, including the hurricane and earthquake, at the door. With a sensational discography of their own, XG then performed the addictive R&B jam “Left Right” and the riveting retro track “Shooting Star.”
During KCON’s second-night concert, XG unveiled some new works, including “TGIF” and “Girl GVNG,” from their upcoming September mini-album “New DNA.” Undoubtedly, what’s ingrained in their DNA is their immense star power. For anyone questioning their placement on this list or whether XG even fit into the realm of K-pop, their cover of 2NE1’s “I Am the Best” at the event spoke volumes. XG isn’t merely part of the narrative — they are the narrative, and with their recent KCON LA performance, they’ve undeniably penned a significant chapter in the history of the annual event.
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