After almost a decade of being a K-Pop fan and missing out on KCON ever since the beginning, I finally had the chance to make it to the mecca of the All Things Hallyu event. After years of missing out on Los Angeles and the first New York stop in 2015, I was able to not just only be a reporter - but a panelist.
On Friday, Jun. 24, KCON USA kicked off their two-day New York stop at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ.
Fans scattered throughout the convention grounds holding signs, posters, and freebies while others dressed up in K-Pop-inspired outfits or even K-Pop superheroes (Deadpools wearing BTS jerseys).
While fans gather and flock from the convention stage to the workshops and panels, some of KCON's line-up made special appearances throughout the day at sponsored booths. With the use of the KCON apps, attendees were able to get push notifications on special guest and event alerts.
1million Dance Studio's Lia Kim made a special appearance in the afternoon at the Toyota Booth, while Crush walked past Panel #2, Hallyu Fan On A Budget, around noon to film a short bit for his KCON concert introduction.
However, what may consider being the biggest surprise of the convention was when MAMAMOO, who was scheduled to perform the second day of KCON NY, took the convention stage for a short appearance causing attendees to run from one end to another.
As thousands of fans gathered inside to what was my 2015 university commencement venue, it was astounding to see the plethora of concertgoers fill up Prudential Center in a matter of minutes before the show.
Just moments later, lights went off and BTS' Rap Monster and soloist Ailee took the stage as the KCON x M! Countdown concert hosts. Seventeen opened up the show performing their hits "Pretty U," "Adore U," and "Mansae."
Crush popped up from the stage and serenaded the crowd with his crooning voice singing tracks like "Sometimes" and even rapping to ZICO's verse in "OASIS."
Getting the crowd pumped for the rest of the night, Crush soaked the front-rows with water as he performed.
Soon after, New Jersey-native Ailee showed professionalism at its finest when the music to her first song performance "Mind Your Own Business" cut off mid-chorus. Continuously singing until the end of the first chorus, fans chanted and cheered the solo performer as her and back up dancers kept going.
Soon after, Ailee had to re-do the performance for the M! Countdown taping but the Prudential Center kept roaring with fans rooting for the singer's attiude after the incident.
"It has never happened to me before," Ailee said after her performance as she jokes that the sound incident can be considered her welcome back present.
BTOB then came out in a pink and white ensemble putting on a show with their hits "IT'S OK," "BEEP BEEP," and "Remember That."
For a special stage performance, Seventeen came back out in unison dressed in marching band outfits similar to fellow Pledis' artist girl group After School during their BANG!" era. Performing a K-Pop medley, the members did a cover of "BANG," Super Junior's "Sorry, Sorry" and "Balloons."
Ending the night on the good note, Choiza and Gaeko made an eye-popping introduction for their performance that smoothly weaved into performing "BAAM!" and "Shoot! (Goal In!)." Inviting fellow Amoeba Culture artist out, Crush joined Dynamic Duo in a performance of "Friday Night." Soon after, all of KCON's first day line-up joined in the party.
Though the event may have felt like it was cut short, the first day of KCON brought much anticipation in the crowd for the second day as artists like Eric Nam, DAY6, MAMAMOO and BTS are set to perform.
(Day 2 recap coming soon!)