For music fans who were disappointed at the lack of K-pop at this year's Winter Olympics opening ceremony, perhaps the closing ceremony will be more your jam. As the Olympics come to an end, the closing ceremony keeps inching closer and closer. Scheduled for Sunday Feb. 25, the closing ceremony will feature K-pop performances from both EXO and CL. Fans of the musicians are undoubtedly psyched, but those newer to the genre of K-pop might be wondering: Who is EXO?
When it comes to K-pop, South Korean and Chinese boyband EXO is legendary. In 2016, Dazed Digital called the group "bigger than One Direction" and "the biggest boyband in the world." The group was formed in 2011, and originally consisted of two subgroups of six men each: EXO M (made up of Chinese members) and EXO K (made up of Korean members). The two groups performed the same exact songs — but in Mandarin and Korean, respectively. At first, the two groups only performed together occasionally, but they were later permanently combined into one 12-piece band. Three members have departed since the band debuted in 2012, but the remaining nine are still going strong.
Together as EXO, the members, who are all currently in their 20s, perform songs in Korean, Mandarin, Japanese, and sometimes partially English. Besides their smooth vocals, the band is synonymous with their sweet dance moves. Their live concerts and music videos are filled with the boyband choreography and adorable smolders of your dreams, making it clear why they are so dang popular. EXO somehow makes a group of 12 dudes dancing onstage look super cool, and nothing like the children's dance concert you were probably picturing.
The band members appeared in a press conference in PyeongChang on Wednesday to discuss their upcoming performance. “We prepared a lot for year-end shows, but we felt that we had to prepare more than those award shows," EXO member Baekhyun said at the press conference, as per Soompi. "It is a great honor, but we also practiced feeling a lot of burden. We are excited at the thought of showcasing great performances.”
"It is quite overwhelming and unbelievable," EXO singer Suho said, according to the official NBC Olympics website. "We have seen other countries holding closing and opening ceremonies for the Olympic games before. So the fact that we are performing at the closing ceremony itself is very honorable and it is really great. I'm feeling a variety of emotions and I might even cry after the show ... It is an honor for the entire family and the entire group."
CL, a South Korean singer, songwriter, and rapper, will also be taking the stage at Sunday's closing ceremony. CL is well-known as the lead rapper of Korean girl group 2NE1, which disbanded a little more than a year ago, according to Billboard. Since then, CL's solo career has thrived. In fact, her solo career actually began in 2014, several years before 2NE1 disbanded, according to Billboard. CL signed with Scooter Braun (the executive who helped Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, and PSY become famous) that year in hopes of taking her career to a more global scale. Additionally, she performs in both Korean and English, she's reportedly working on her first English-language album, and she has collaborated with Skrillex, Diplo, and Lil Yachty, as noted by Billboard.
“I am so honored to be invited and take the stage at a celebration that the entire world watches, and I think it is more meaningful because it is in Korea," she said at the press conference on Wednesday. "I hope everyone will anticipate it and enjoy the performance together.”
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