The Hallyu Wave has ensnared the greatest sporting tournament of our time! Brace yourselves ARMYs and EXO-Ls, BTS Fake Love and EXO Power will play at the World Cup final at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on Sunday. SHAAZIA EBRAHIM and FATIMA MOOSA could not be more thrilled about what this means for the two Korean groups – but also what this means for K-pop as a genre.
On July 4, Fifa asked fans to become the #FIFAStadiumDJ and vote for the song which would be played at the final of the 2018 Russia World Cup. It held polls on popular social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and VK. ARMYs and EXO-Ls battled it out on Twitter as BTS Fake Love and EXO Power were named as nominations. Thanks to the powerful fan bases of the groups, both #FIFAxEXOPower and #BTSxFIFAWorldCup trended worldwide!
Fifa officially announced on Monday that BTS with Fake Love won the most votes on Instagram, while EXO won the Twitter polls with Power.
After 3,233,207 votes in 24 hours (bonkers) & repeat global #1 trending hashtags, the vote has concluded. Think we owe fans of both BTS & EXO a big thank you. ?#FIFAxEXOPower #BTSxFifaWorldCup pic.twitter.com/wHryZxgYsH
— Alex Stone (@AlexStone7) July 5, 2018
But K-pop tunes absolutely annihilated the other two nominees – J Balvin’s Mi Gente and Zedd’s The Middle feat. Marren Morris and Grey- by over 1.5 million votes each on Twitter. Fake Love beat out Avicii’s Hey Brother and K’Naan’s Waving Flag on Instagram.
The official playlist of the final will include both songs as well as Queen’s We Will Rock You and Imagine Dragons Thunder. All the songs have been added to FIFA’s official World Cup Spotify playlist.
Almost 5 million votes. 4 platforms.
YOU were The Vivo #FIFAStadiumDJ & chose:
We Will Rock You by @QueenWillRock
Fake Love by @BTS_bighit
Thunder by @ImagineDragons
Power by @WeAreOneEXO.
Hear the songs now in the ? & on the FIFA ? Playlist: https://t.co/coclwAwkiF pic.twitter.com/jUfLjpVM84
— FIFA World Cup ? (@FIFAWorldCup) July 9, 2018
BTS Fake Love
Fake Love is BTS’ newest single from their latest release, Love Yourself: Tear. It was a huge success from the moment of release, debuting at number 10 on the Billboard Hot 100. Fake Love was the highest-charting song by a K-pop group in the USA. The music video managed to garner a total of 35.9 million views within a day of its release, breaking the group’s own record of the most viewed K-pop video.
Tagseen Samsodien from BTS ARMY ZA told The Daily Vox that: “For me the Football World Cup is the biggest sporting event on the planet and I think at its core it’s an event about diversity and inclusion and that is one of the hallmarks of the BTS message.”
She added that: “So to have the group be chosen to be a part of this global platform and to have the ears of billions from around the world tuned into listen as music and sport come together to unify people for a common cause is I think an incredible achievement.”
Fellow admin from BTS ARMY ZA, Naazneen Samsodien said: “As ARMY I feel such immense pride that the lead single from one of the top selling albums for 2018 thus far was recognised as a worthy inclusion to the event. It’s addition to the event is a testament to the global appeal of BTS […] But even more than that playing Fake Love gains FIFA the eyes and ears of the most engaged global fandom and gives BTS a voice in the world’s largest sporting arena.”
Melissa Limenyande from EXO-L South Africa said Power being played at the World Cup finals shows just how far K-pop has come.
“We can now say that it is mainstream and people are starting to realise the power behind the fandoms but also getting exposed to the music on a larger scale,” Limenyande said in an interview with The Daily Vox.
She said in the past it was rare for groups to stay as popular as EXO have been for the past three or four years. “For EXO, I think it really cements their global status and reaffirms their standing in the K-pop scene,” said Limenyande. The fact that EXO are continuously reinventing themselves and continue breaking new ground and surpassing their previous achievements is incredible to see, she added.
The song Power, is from the groups’ repackaged edition of the their fourth studio album The War: The Power of Music. It has a Chinese and Korean version. It’s a boppy EDM song with lyrics that talk about how one can become stronger through the music which unites everyone into one. Considering the World Cup is the tournament that unites everyone through football, we have to say it’s a really good song choice.
“Power, just as its title suggests,” Limenyande explained, “is a song about unity, strength, encouragement and upliftment – values embodied by the spirit of sport.” EXO-L South Africa’s favourite lyric is “we got that power, power, through this music, when we sing with one voice…we become stronger”.
EXO performed the song during the closing ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics which took place in Pyeongchang earlier this year. And their performance was so lit. The song was also chosen as the first Korean song to be played at the Dubai Fountain repertoire.
As K-pop fans, it’s wonderful to see the genre represented at such a massive global stage. The only way Fifa could have made it better is if they flew both groups to Russia for a live performance. But there’s always next World Cup.
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