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2012 K-Pop Video Contest Draws Hundreds of Entries from Worldwide, Awards 15 Top Prizes

K-Pop lovers from across the globe vied for their chance at fame in the 2012 K-Pop Video Contest hosted by the Korean Cultural Center Washington DC, and the 15 winners have just been announced (full list below).

The winners—hailing from the United States, Canada, Mexico, Belgium, Spain, and Romania—were selected from among 270 submissions that included cover dances, singing, and instrumental performances, evaluated based on expression and content.

“The understanding of Korean culture and the enthusiasm for K-Pop became important factors for evaluation,” said Byung Goo Choi, director of the Korean Cultural Center Washington DC. “The quality videos made us realize the popularity of K-POP.”

Social networking played a major role in the contest, which was conducted via the KCC Facebook page, whose ‘likes’ rose by more than 3,000 in just the last month, while the number of ‘friends of fans’ rose from one to three million.

The K-Pop Video Contest was sponsored by SM Entertainment, YG Entertainment, JYP Entertainment, Korean Air, and LG Electronics, who provided support and prizes. Famed K-Pop artists Girls’ Generation, TVXQ, Big Bang, and Wonder Girls participated by providing promotional video messages for the contest. It was also promoted through popular K-Pop website

In a survey of local Korea followers conducted last month by the KCC about interest in K-Pop, 80% of respondents were under age 30 and 70% regularly kept up with K-Pop news online or with friends. Many respondents also said they would like to see K-Pop performance in the Washington DC area.

The contest demonstrated the current excitement surrounding K-Pop, an interest that transcends nationality and personal background.

Winners Announced

1st place: Janaye Rodgers & Symone Rodgers (USA)
2nd place: EpiphanyDanceCrew (Canada), 9Ten Crew (USA)
3rd place: I Love Dance (USA), The Regulators (USA)
4th place: Beautiful Target (Mexico), Sophia Ling (USA), Lucy Suzumiya (Spain), Nanyang Polytechnic Chinese Orchestra (China), Merfine Luketa (Belgium), Brian Yanfei Zhou (USA), Iarina Teodora Dafin (Rumania), Thorne-Maestro Aiona Kahele-Fontanilla (USA), Jennifer Kawaii (USA), and Michelle Nawrocki (USA)

Rodgers sisters Janaye and Symone of Florida won first place Janaye sang while Symone performed dances from “History” by EXO-K and “Lucifer” by SHINee. Both her voice work and Korean language skills were considered outstanding.

The two sisters said they dream of being on the stage in Korea someday thanks to K-Pop. Older sister Janaye even took on a Korean name, Song Jin-yeon, and runs a Youtube channel featuring K-Pop song and dance clips

Symone came to learn about K-Pop after listening to “Sorry Sorry” by Super Junior. She runs a K-Pop dance club called HALLYU MOVE at West Florida University in order to introduce K-Pop dance and songs to fellow students.

Janaye and Symone will receive round-trip air tickets to Korea provided by Korean Air, and autographed K-Pop CDs. They will also have the opportunity to enter the qualifiers of the 2012 K-POP World Festival in October.

Second place went to two teams, EpiphanyDanceCrew and 9TenCrew, whose prizes include home-sound systems provided by LG and autographed K-Pop CDs.

EpiphanyDanceCrew, from Canada, offered up arguably the best cover dance video, reproducing “Fantastic Baby” by Big Bang with an interesting story They started out with a group of people who love dancing in 2008 and grew to be a professional team, even running K-Pop dance tutorials. Their dance was considered outstanding, as well as their quality of video.

Fellow second place winners 9TenCrew is a six-member Boston University dance club comprised of Christine Cerrada, Chris Cheong, Valerie Hill, Adrian Ho, Emmily Hu, and Fanny Lin. Their video was a compilation of “Energetic” by BoA, “Sherlock” by SHINee, “Fantastic Baby” by Big Bang, “Eat You Up” by BoA, and “MAMA” by EXO-K. They are recognized as a professional team, and have won awards in various dance cover contests.

Third place went to I Love Dance and The Regulators, whose prizes include blu-ray players and autographed K-Pop CDs.

I Love Dance showed a fascinating cover dance set to the song “Be Mine” by Infinite The team was formed in 2006 and runs K-Pop dance classes in New York City.

Fellow third place winners The Regulators, are a K-Pop dance club from North Carolina State University, whose submission was their first to a video contest

Fourth place went to 10 diverse teams who were all passionate about K-Pop and will receive autographed CDs from Big Bang, Girls’ Generation, TVXQ, and WonderGirls.

Among the more unique teams, Nanyang Polytechnic Chinese Orchestra from China integrated modern pop into western classical music using traditional Chinese instruments. In October 2010, their performance clip of a specially arranged K-pop medley was a hit on YouTube, making it the fourth most favorite music clip on YouTube for that month.

Michelle Nawrocki of the United States first learned about K-Pop eight years ago, and became a huge fan. Her favorite K-POP star is Lee Hyori, and her Youtube boasts 100 K-Pop videos, including those showcasing her remarkable talent in dance.

By Minju Kim

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