Red Carpet was, hands down, the most excruciating event of the day. As if the previous two waiting sessions hadn’t been enough, Red Carpet was a prolonged two hours. Mid-shift, I had sensed the attendee behind me try to cut the line. I managed to block his attack, but ultimately suffered major carpet burn from the exposed section on my jeans.
There was no warning as to when we would be permitted inside, so we – my new acquaintances and I –took turns keeping our place in the line while we swapped for restroom runs.
Kim Tae Woo’s collaboration stage with ASTRO was a wonderful way to ease the seasoned vocalist into the array of youngsters. The combined styles of the two was successful in creating a sound that was pleasant to all age groups. It also paved the way for two of Kim Tae Woo’s well-loved classics. I hadn’t heard of the man before KCON, but was thoroughly impressed by the way he easily communicated with the audience in attendance.
When the eleven members disappeared down the stage after performing their two title candidates, I couldn’t help but wonder why they had been limited to just two songs. These thoughts were soon dismissed though, since a beat that was all too familiar to me filled the stadium.
A touched gasp escaped my lips.
The song I had hoped to hear ever so dearly was playing before me.
It was Tomorrow, Today.
The scene was indescribable. Since JJ Project’s long-awaited comeback, I had been chanting the entire EP for the entire four weeks leading up to KCON LA. The fanchant was engrained in my head, and I wanted nothing more than to hear the song and witness the mirror choreography with my very own eyes. Their performance was extra significant to me in that it was JJP’s very first time performing the song outside of domestic promotions.
I screamed my lungs out – obviously – and bolted for the cutout in our seat section as JB and Jinyoung swiftly departed the stage. JB passed by our waving hands without so much as a glance and quick nod. Meanwhile, I carried out screaming for Jinyoung while clutching my LED headband in a death grip.
It was at that moment that the unthinkable happened.
HE RAISED HIS ARM UP. HE FOUND MY HAND. HE SQUEEZED MY HAND.
IT WAS INTENTIONAL.
Through yelps of excitement, I wondered if he had recalled my presence from the Hi-Touch session, and wanted to reassure me that he would stay healthy. Unlikely that this was the case, but hey, a girl can dream right? AHHHHHHHHHHHH
At this point I was told off by a girl sitting in the aisle spot and refrained from running over when ASTRO made their exit in fear of causing unnecessary conflict.
ASTRO, now no longer a newcomer to the KCON stage, was a group with stable vocals and perfect synchronization. Each song displayed their growth and increased professionalism. Rookies no more, they astounded me with their flawless stages, despite the chipmunk-tuned mics.
The happy vibes continued with NCT 127’s appearance. First was Fire Truck, a track I knew and loved all too well, followed by two songs that were less known to me. Their choreography was surprisingly elaborate for hypnotic, typically SM-style creations. I couldn’t find myself approving of their outfit selection, but I did catch myself following one member throughout the dance arrangements: Johnny. Almost unrecognizable with jet black hair, the Lipstick Prince Season 2 cast member had me tracing his every move and facial expression on stage. Doyoung was the member I had been accustomed to seeing on screen (being an Inkigayo MC with Jinyoung and Gong Myung’s brother on We Got Married), yet his cute appearance wasn’t adequate in drawing my attention from Johnny. I’ve since learned to appreciate another group and their distinctive style.
To say that I love them would be an understatement, as there are always new reasons to fall head over heels for them.
Wanna One’s Bae Jinyoung succeeded in touching most of the fans in the aisle, while Daehwi was only able to sweep my fingertips due to lack of height. Guanlin paid absolutely no attention to any of the attendees. Ong and Minhyun also did their best to satisfy the bottom rows of the section, though failed to meet outstretched limbs at my height. KARD’s J.seph ensured that not a single hand was left un-swatted by jumping up and acknowledging each and every one of us. B.M had fewer issues as his loftiness enabled him to include us in his direct line of sight.