The final showdown of the "2012 New York K-Pop Festival" took place last night at the New York University's Skirball Center for the Performing Arts.
The K-Pop festival is organized by the Korean Cultural Service New York in order to celebrate the growing movement of K-Pop in the United States.
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Approximately 600 K-Pop fans appeared on site to watch the finalists of the competition that were chosen from nearly a hundred performance videos. The 9 finalists appeared on stage to compete at the final showdown.
The finalists had travelled from areas like New Jersey, Washington D.C. and Philadelphia to perform to one song by Big Bang, SHINee, or Wonder Girls. Contestants of all races competed at the final showdown and delivered powerful performance.
Throughout the competition, there were special events where the contestants sent out special messages to the people in the crowd. Other events included a club-like dance-time where everybody danced to Psy's "Gangnam Style."
Global K-Pop idol groups like Super Junior, Wonder Girls and more appeared on the screen to send the contestants words of encouragement as well as the previous year's winner Medison Gunst, who congratulated the finalists.
The judges of the competition included ESPN's Senior Editor Donnie Kwak, Billboard's Music Editor Benjamin Meadows-Ingram, Jung Bong Choi, a Cinema and Drama professor at NYU, and Heejun Han, a finalist on American Idol. Also, Kim Young Mok, the Consulate General of Korea in New York, was present for the award ceremony.
Heejun Han delivered a special performance after all the contestants finished their performances.
The first place of the competition was given to Nicole Mastrodomenico, who performed to SHINee's "Replay." Nicole stated, "I wasn't even expecting anything but I'm so happy that I won first place" and expressed her excitement.
Nicole continued, "I began practicing for the competition couple of hours a day since a month ago when I found out about the competition. The first thing I want to do when I go to Korea is meet SHINee. Although I can't understand the lyrics in K-Pop songs, they all have soul and have impressive choreography. I like American pop also but most of the lyrics are silly and strange. I'm constantly surrounded by American pop which is the reason why I like K-Pop" and expressed the fresh feeling of K-Pop.
The second place was awarded to a dance team called "I Love Dance" who performed to SHINee's "Sherlock" and the third place went to the dance team "HARU" who also performed to SHINee's "Sherlock."
Lee Woo Sung, a representative of the Korean Cultural Service New York stated, "I was surprised after seeing the talented Americans who had just as much passion as Korean trainees. As opposed to the events that invite famous stars to perform, festivals like this one provides opportunities for K-Pop lovers to perform and enjoy other people's performances as well. I want to contribute towards events that involve the younger generations all the way up to people in their 30s to enjoy K-Pop at similar events. I would like to hold the K-Pop Festival at Wall Street next year."
The K-Pop Festival in New York is in response to the growing recognition and demand of K-Pop that has been organized by the Korean Cultural Service New York. The 2012 K-Pop Festival, a tradition that began last year, successfully ended last night after an evening full of exciting performances by K-Pop lovers.