Pop! Goes The World! Kicked off their annual Toronto K-Pop con on May 18th, at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Fans par-taking in this event, started their long weekend off the right way, with headliners like Amber from SM Town‘s girl group F(x), and A.C.E rookie group sensations.
Friday May 18th, day 1 of the convention was all about Amber and her fans. The intimate setting that is at the John Bassett Theatre, gave fans the opportunity to enjoy the event, no matter what seat they had.
Amber took the stage with her dancers and got the fan-meeting started, by having fans dancing in their seat to “Need to Feel Needed“. Amber asked her fans to join in and do the same dance moves with her, at a certain point in the song, and of course her fans followed without a second thought.
The fan-meeting was in full swing with a Q&A session, where Amber answered all sorts of questions from fans, she even asked her fans some questions as well. There were questions about the food, how the city of Toronto is beautiful and of course where her fans traveled from. So much fun for this event with Pick up lines, fans suggested to Amber, to fans showing up in shirts with her Rogue Rouge mixtape cover on it, and so much more. It was a night you had to experience for yourself.
Amber was asked if she had tried any Canadian foods, and she mentioned Ketchup chips, which you can only get in Canada! YUM! She explained at first it had a bit of a bitter taste, but before she knew it, the bag of Ketchup chips was empty. She then asked fans what kind of food she should try next, that she could only get in Canada, or started in Canada. A fan near the front expressed she should try beaver tail. That got a funny facial reaction from Amber, which created laughter in the theater. Fans went on to explain that it is fried dough in the shape of a beaver tail. Another fan mentioned “Tim’s” short form for Tim Horton’s, and Amber jokingly replied she didn’t want to disrespect “Tim’s” Timberland’s the shoe, which got more laughter from the crowd. She then followed up after hearing what Tim Horton’s is, saying fans are trying to clog her arteries with all these fried goodies. LOL
In the Q&A, a fan asked Amber if she could explain her relationship with Henry, and she replied by saying he is like a big brother to her. When she first met Henry, he was wearing a Root’s Canada salt-n-pepper sweat suit, and he had told her if she ever goes to Canada to get it. Amber explained to fans that she did pick up a pair of the exact ones Henry told her to get, many years ago.
Fans then asked Amber to dance to Gashina. She called her dancers out on stage to help her with the routine, which caused fans to scream and start singing as they danced to Sunmi’s song.
The fan-meeting was filled with laughter and so many smiles, it seemed just like old friends catching up with each other.
Amber performed “Borders” which was released on March 24th, 2016. Watching her perform this song you could just feel the emotions behind the lyrics, and how she is helping to shape young people who might be struggling to identify with themselves. She also gave a sneak peek of her long awaited MV of “White Noise”. The lyrics that are within these songs, are just inspiring, and as I looked around the crowd, there were some fans, who really identified with those lyrics. Even Amber showed a bit of emotion, saying it isn’t something she usually does, but letting her fans know, it’s okay to be different, it’s okay to lose your way and that you can just keep trying, until you get to where you want to get to.
When asked about an F(x) comeback, she explained to fans that they will be taking their time. She told fans while they wait for the groups comeback, they can support Luna on her latest solo comeback. (so sweet of her)
Amber jokingly started singing the Canadian National Anthem, as she teased one of the producers, Ryan, who worked on her Rogue Rouge mixtape. Before she knew it, the whole theatre was singing the Canadian National Anthem, and Amber was the conductor, it was a beautiful thing to witness. That wasn’t the only song she had fans singing, she also had them singing Barney’s “I Love You” and the Pokémon theme song. If you follow Amber on her YouTube channel, Amber Liu, you would know she loves to sing the Shark song, thanks to her friend’s adorable baby. Fans cheered her on enough, which got her to perform the song for them and it was adorable.
As Amber was sharing photo, she started dancing, and said she is bringing sexy back. LOL Because of this, it was only natural for fans to start singing ‘Sexy Back’, as she did what she does best, have fun, and brings sexy back.
It was a beautiful night of laughter, deep conversations about finding yourself, and growing so much closer with her fans. Fans who were able to attend the hi-touch event after the show, were saying that the Idol turned hi-touches into hi-hugs, OHHH how lucky to be them. The K-Pop idol expressed to fans, it’s okay to go up to her and ask her for pictures, which was really a sweet gesture from the artist. This was a wonderful experience for MeU’s who got to attend the event, for her first ever Fan-meeting, thanks to Toronto K-pop Convention, hosted by Pop! Goes The World!
May 19th, day 2, was in full swing at the convention. There were various panels fans could go to such as: TheFaceShop, YouTube meet & greets with NamiiCHo and StillNotDavid, KPOP MV viewing room, an EXO game and trivia session with EXO Canada, just to list a few fun things that fans could have sat in on. There were various Exhibitors at TKC18 where fans were able to buy merchandise of their favorite K-Pop group, as well as make-up worn by popular Korean actress on behalf of Laineige. If you were looking to buy all sorts of merchandise, from clothes to albums, to photocards, you had a wide variety to choose from. Some vendors ran out of stickers of idol groups, that fans grabbed as soon as they saw the cute chibi style drawings of their favorite idol.
Around 4pm on a damp Saturday evening in downtown Toronto, fans of A.C.E, also known as Choice were screaming, almost at a deafening level for the boys to hit the stage. The 5-member boy group debuted on May 23rd, 2017, they were going to meet their Canadian fans for the first time.
As Choice’s lined up and waited to enter the venue, some lucky fans were being interviewed by A.C.E’s team, who was relaying the video image backstage to the boys. OMG! Imagine how amazing that is, that you are being asked questions, and the boys are hearing your reply, lucky fans.
When the boys came on to the stage dancing to “Cactus” they just about brought the house down and it was just the beginning. Fan-chants are huge while K-pop idols perform back home in South Korea, and usually it isn’t as loud and coordinated in western countries, but not that night! The fans chanted like crazy, every opportunity they had, giving the boys Hugh energy as they performed.
Since they are a rookie group, they don’t have many songs under their belt yet, but that didn’t mean they weren’t going to put on stellar performances. The group explained that at every fan-meeting stop, they have put together something a little different. They gave a variety of performances under various genres; hip-hop, pop, R&B and of course K-Pop.
Some highlights from the Q&A session which brought a lot of laughter in the theatre, were when they asked who they thought the true leader of the group was, and who they would betray in the group. They responded by saying they felt Chan is the true leader of the group, which was interesting since he is the Maknae. Jason answered that he would betray Wow if he was to betray any member in the group, and then he quickly apologized and tried to hug him, which created a lot of screams from Choice’s. The members explained that Donghun is very sensitive. The group was asked to show their aegyo and once again their fans lost it with all the screaming.
Some of the covers that really stood out to me from A.C.E were the Gashina dance cover by Jun and Chan. Usually when boy groups cover a girl song, it’s more on the comedic side or fan service. When they performed their dance cover, it was all business, as if it was their own song and they were performing it for the first time. The members then split up into groups and performed different cover songs such as; See You Again, Sorry, Thinking out Loud and Flashlight to name a few. You can tell from those well-known titles, that they sent Choice’s on an emotional roller coaster, with their amazing vocals.
A.C.E really prepared a lot their fans, and it was very well receivedby their fans. It didn’t feel like a fan-meeting, it felt like a concert with the amount of VCR clips they shared, of their journey so far. The amount of songs they prepared for their fans, whether is was a dance performance or showing off their large range of vocal ability was amazing. They even prepared an encore stage, which ended the night just right. They performed their own songs Calling, Zombie and 5tar as well, which gave different vibes with each song, showcasing just how diverse they are with their music.
As the night was coming to an end, Choice’s screamed for A.C.E to come back out on stage and perform an encore stage. The boys paid homage to fellow K-pop artists that had debuted before them. They performed Growl and Monster by EXO. Then they followed up with BTS songs like; Dope, I Need U and Not Today. They joked to fans that they don’t just cover EXO and BTS songs, and before we knew it, they were shutting down the place, by performing Big Bang’s “Bang Bang Bang“ and then ended off with GD & Taeyang’s “Good Boy“. If you didn’t know who EXO, BTS or Big Bang was, you would have thought they were on stage, with the amount of love the fans showered them with.
Before the boys left the stage, they explained that they will be making a comeback shortly, but rather than as 5 members, it will be 4. The fans sang happy birthday to Wow, which had just happened on May 15th, and had a cake to help celebrate 1-year anniversary since A.C.E debut. You can see the group was touched by what the fans did for them, with banners, cake and singing happy birthday. Jun, the leader of the group, explained this was one of the best days, since their debut.
This wasn’t it for the convention though! There was a day 3 with the Canada Dream Stage. This was where fans of K-pop performed hit songs and dance covers of a variety of K-Pop group. All in all, it was a wonderful way to spend the long weekend. Thank you to Pop! Goes The World! and their sponsors who helped make this weekend possible, such as: Air Canada, Laneige, TheFaceShop Canada and Red Bull Canada.